Today’s topic, marriage. What qualifies me to write about marriage? Well, nothing. I am married. But then so are millions of others in this world. I am happily married. I wish I could say the same for all the millions of married people in the world, but unfortunately, I can’t. Why do some people have joyful marriages that leave them happier than they could ever imagine, while other people’s marriages leave them wondering what they were thinking and wondering what happened to the person they married?
The answer – I just don’t know. There it is. All I know on the topic of marriage.
Now, as with most things, I have theories, ideas and thoughts, and dare I say, opinions. Let me begin with my story. I have been married for 13 years. For about half of that I have been married to the most amazing man in the world. He is sweet, funny, smart, and the most fabulous dad in the world. (I could go on but why bore you, just trust me, he’s great!) So what happened halfway through our marriage to change my husband into this amazing guy? Nothing. Honestly. Nothing changed him. I changed. I changed how I saw this man and began to remember why I married him. I remembered all the things about him that I thought were so great when we were starry eyed kids in love. He’s still the same man. He still has faults (I suppose), but now I don’t really look at those things. I look at the amazing things about him and I love him more each day. It is an old saying, but it is true. It is possible to love someone more each day. If you don’t, you love is likely to begin to fade rather than grow.
Now, I know. You are thinking that I am in denial. I am blinding myself to the bad things and living in some fantasy world. You think eventually it will all come out, my fantasy world will blow up. It’s simply not true. When irritating things happen or my husband does something I didn’t like, I get upset. I lose my temper, blow my stack. Sometimes I just tell him I didn’t like whatever it was. But, I don’t allow those things to make up in my mind about who he is.
Last night I read and interest series of quotations. This pretty well summarizes my theory about marriage.
Arthur Gordon, author of A Touch of Wonder, writes “I have noticed when the going gets rough the partners tend to demonize each other, see nothing good, only the bad. Result is mutual appreciation dies and there’s nothing to cushion the shock in quarrels or recriminations. If combattants (sic) would make an effort to recall one or two things they used to admire in their partner and force themselves to say so, however grudgingly,it might save the marriage.”
He also writes, “To be manifestly loved, to be openly admired are human needs as basic as breathing. Why, then, wanting them so much ourselves, do we deny them so often to others? Why indeed?”
Becky Freeman, author of Marriage 911, adds “There is no reason, with any solid legs to stand on, for human beings to withhold their admiration from each other. After all, it isn’t as if by hoarding our words of praise we are keeping anything of value for ourselves.”
I said earlier that my husband hadn’t changed. That isn’t entirely true. As I changed my view of him, my willingness to see the good more than the bad, he did change. He began to see more good in me. As we began speaking nice things into each others’ lives, we began each to see the fruits of those things. Now, because my husband knows how I really feel about him, how great I think he is, he is willing to listen when I have honest complains or concerns. Likewise, now that I don’t feel that I couldn’t please him no matter what, and I know that he loves me for who I am, craziness and all, I am not so hurt when he needs to tell me things that help me grow.
I challenge you today, think of two reasons you began your relationship with your spouse. Think of two good things about him. Pray about these things, ponder them, and when next you see your spouse, compliment him or her. Say something kind, in a way that he will believe you. And everyday find a way to say something to your spouse that shows him that you do admire (at least something about) him. If you think this is too hard, or won’t work ask yourself two questions “Is it harder than living in unhappiness and discontent? and What bad can come of reminding my spouse, and myself, what it is I love(d) about him?”