Marriages are not easy. I don’t know why we assume that they should be. Life has a way of throwing difficult things our way and we’re not always at our best when we face hard times.
Having been married for 12 years now, I’ve come to look at my marriage as an ongoing opportunity, or an ongoing demand, for personal growth. My husband and I have faced financial troubles, deaths in the family, having a child, and starting our own business. Along the way, we realized that if we were to mend old hurts and forge a great partnership, we needed help.
We searched for masters on marriage and we found resources that were invaluable.
Here are three major things that we learned which aided us in mending our marriage:
1.) Your personal happiness is your own responsibility. It is too easy to blame our dissatisfaction in life upon our spouse or our marriage. Life can be very difficult, especially when we’re experiencing growing pains. During those times, it is simply not fair for us to blame our marriage for our sadness, frustration, or depression. These are all common things to feel as we grow.
When we learned this bit of wisdom, all arguments about how our marriage should give us this or that were stopped. Instead, we decided that it was our personal responsibility to make the marriage happy, instead of waiting for the marriage to make us happy. We began to put more energy into making our marriage great. We planned simple fun things to do together and we began to take care of each other.
2.) No niggling (arguing over petty things, or complaining). For us, niggling also meant making little cutting remarks about one another, whether in person or to someone else. In other words, it was no longer all right for us to say things like, “Well, you never listen anyway” or “That was nice, much nicer that you usually are.”
When we stopped making little nasty remarks to one another, our relationship was more pleasant. We didn’t allow ourselves to be sarcastic with one another, either. Sarcasm can become a destructive habit that turns nasty in a hurry. Sarcasm is also passive-aggressive, which is dangerous to the task of building a powerful partnership.
3.) Know that your spouse is a good person. This is not always the case. Some people are just not good people. I hope that you’re not married to someone like that. For most of us, however, our spouse is generally a good person who, on occasion, whether because of stress or frustration or fatigue, can be nasty. But if we can remember that our spouse is a good person, that goes a long way toward treating them well and helping them to deal with whatever is bothering them.