Not that our marriage is perfect. But you knew that already, right? Because nobody’s marriage is perfect.
No matter who you’ve married, there will be times he makes you crazy. And no matter how hard you try, you won’t be perfect either. So you can spend your days complaining about each other and wishing things were different, or you can spend your days focusing on the good in each other, asking for what you need, thanking each other for the good you do, working through the times that you don’t quite see eye-to-eye.
Marriage is work, no doubt about it. (Life is work, come to that, but back to marriage for today…)
The good news is that there are skill sets we can develop to get better at this. It’s a bit like learning to drive a car…
Does this sound unromantic? I don’t mean to. I’m quite a romantic, actually. I just know that long-term relationships also require communication, patience and teamwork. And I know those are skills we can develop. And I also know that it’s easier for the romance to bubble to the surface when it doesn’t have to fight it’s way through miscommunication and resentment.
If you’ve followed me for a while, you know I was divorced. When I remarried, I decided that I wasn’t going to let this one fall apart. I was going to WORK at this one. I learned the hard way that the fairy tale doesn’t just happen. It doesn’t.
Marriage retreats, counseling, books, we’ve done it all, and we are better spouses for it. Better parents too.
There were a handful of books that were massively important in making me a better wife. “The Love Dare” was huge for me. I can’t tell you all about it, I didn’t get past Day 5, but Day 1 changed my life. “Say nothing negative to your spouse.” Not till I read the first page of that book did I realize how many times I said negative stuff to my spouse in a day. Changed my life, I tell you. And his.
“For Women Only” and it’s partner book, “For Men Only”, by Shaunti Feldhahn were total eye-openers for both my husband and I. Those two books helped us understand some of the ways we are different, and gave us scripts to use when talking to each other.
Finally, “Why Gender Matters” by Leonard Sax was another revelation about how men operate. The whole competition thing… the whole must-fix-it thing… I didn’t grow up with brothers, this stuff was new to me.
Don’t be afraid to work at it.
Again, if you’ve married an alcoholic, drug addict, or someone who is just plain mean, all bets are off. But if you’ve married a good guy, you can build something beautiful.
What has helped you strengthen your marriage?
Happy Friday, Mamma. Happy Date night.