Just recently I had a chance to talk to three other married people. And yes, we discussed about our married life and what we and our spouses have been doing in our quest for marital bliss.
While we pointed out that our respective partners are far from being perfect we also admitted our own flaws and the possibility that they (our partners) are probably more matured and better persons than us.
When we think that we are a better person than the one we married we could either be right or wrong. But marriage is not about who is the better person – the husband or the wife? It’s about how the couple compliment their strengths and make up for whatever weaknesses the other one has – how they help each other overcome their imperfections. Marriage is about our willingness to accept our spouses for who they are.
In that conversation we all agreed that the worst presumption married people could make is – their spouses are perfect. Assuming that the person we married is a paragon of virtue is a major source of disappointment. Any person is a package of good and bad characteristics and attitudes. That’s the reality. One of the ways to attain marital bliss is to embrace both the positive and negative attributes of the person we exchanged “I do’s” with. The reason there is an engagement period is for both parties to know each other fully and eventually agreeing to tie the knots means accepting unconditionally everything that both parties discovered about each other in the process.
We also talked about expecting (or forcing) our spouses to think and behave the way we want – to change certain attitude or tendencies they have that we perceive to be negative. We discovered that trying to do so only frustrated us. Thus, we all stopped doing that at a certain juncture in our married life and things got better. Our partners are unique individuals who became who they are as a result of their upbringing. We were educated differently and we also grew up in different environments. It is very unlikely that we will have the same set of values and the same mindsets and perspectives. It is a matter of respecting our differences and figuring out what compromises could be made to preserve the marriage.
Greater is the challenge of two of us in the conversation who are married to foreigners whose cultures are entirely different from ours.
Asking spouses to give up a particular vice is sometimes a marital issue also. Luckily, the spouse’s vice mentioned in the conversation was only smoking and it didn’t become a big deal between the concerned couples.
We admitted as well that while marriage is a bed of roses, hidden by the leaves in the stems of those roses are the thorns. We all have our share of ups and downs in our married life. So difficult were some of the challenges we faced that we almost ended up “untying the knots.” But at the end we all found out that we had more and better reasons to stay with our spouses than reasons not to. We all thought the love between us and our partners are just too strong enabling us to weather all the storms that stood between us and marital bliss. The bible says, “Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” (Mark 10:9)
We also shared personal strategies to keep the flame burning between us and our spouses. Three common strategies came out – finding the simple things that make our spouses happy, giving them space, and avoiding doing things that irk them.
Determining what could put a smile on the face of our spouses is not a rocket science. That is one of the first things we ought to know about our partners if we intend to be with them for keeps. Take note that it’s not always a material thing.
Giving them space is a must as well. Our partners never want to feel as if we’re putting chains on their hands and feet.
Avoiding doing things that might anger our spouses is perhaps the most difficult thing to do. Disagreements between couples are simply unavoidable. But eventually, any issue between spouses has to be resolved and it has to be done so the way matured adults should do it. They cannot afford to allow quarrels, specially if they are petty ones, to go on for days. There is only one logical conclusion to a disagreement between a couple who love each other (and have no intentions of divorcing) and that is for them to kiss and make up. So, they’ve got to do it in the soonest possible time.
Two of us in the conversation are men. I expressed the belief that it will not be too much for a man to always initiate the kiss and make up process. It doesn’t matter whose at fault – him or his lady. That’s what real gentlemen do.
In that conversation I also shared a personal strategy for a happy married life. I set a personal goal and is exerting my best efforts to achieve it – “Make the lady of my house feel loved, needed and respected.” The preceding words enclosed in parentheses are included among those that I recite when doing my daily positive affirmations. By the grace of God, it works.
We all agreed at the end that what could help attain marital bliss is for both husband and wife to make each other feel special – that the man should not think that the courtship ends when the wedding bells stop ringing and the woman should try her best to look beautiful in the eyes of her husband everyday in more ways than one.
One of the ladies in the conversation said, “More than love the husband and the wife need mutual respect.”