“Marriage is hard! Why did I ever get married in the first place? I’ll never have a happy marriage!” You may be thinking this or may have said it out loud. Whatever the case may be, chances are that you are feeling miserable at this point. Do you know that you can change things?
Fairy tale wedding, fairy tale life
The bride was lovely and the groom looked very handsome in his Italian suite! The cake didn’t fall over, the dress didn’t get stained and your sister’s children? Oh my, they behaved very well. Everything went effortlessly well, until the honeymoon. He got grumpy, because she took too long to get ready for dinner far too many times. She started to cry, because he was a bit too harsh with his words. This burst their bubble for a moment, but they manage to make the best of their honeymoon. Back home, they start building their life. First there were small disagreements, but the problems kept piling up. After a couple of years more cracks started to appear in their marriage. Resentment took a hold on both of them. This doesn’t sound like your marriage? Let’s try again…
There was so much to talk about, so much to learn about each other. They achieved their dream when they finally bought their dream house. But somewhere along the way, this couple grew apart. Arguments, silent treatments and sleeping on the couch became part of their daily routine. Before long, they’ve grown so far apart and no longer enjoy the presence of each other. Where did it all go wrong?
If you take a minute to look at where it all started, chances are that you expected your spouse to behave in a certain way. And they did… but this was before you got married. Ever since you tied the knot, it feels as if your fairy tale began to fall apart. You start to notice that he picks his nose when watching a movie. She doesn’t smell great when she wakes up. He doesn’t listen when you try to explain how you feel. She constantly tells you what you have to do with your life. Before you know it, you barely talk to each other and both of you are looking around for fulfillment in something or someone else. It may seem to go faster here than in real life, because it may take years before you get to this stage. There are couples however, who get to this stage within months of their relationship.
The situation will change, when my partner or spouse changes
That’s not true! Change begins in you, the one who’s reading this post. You know the saying: ‘You need to be the change you want to see.’ None of us can change people. We can try to manipulate them into changing, but it always turns out wrong. You want to know why? It’s because we’re not supposed to rule over one another. Every human being has been given their own will and we should respect that. Yes, even your spouse. He or she is responsible for their own actions. Real change will begin when you start working on yourself. And maybe you think at this point that being single is the best way to go. Both married people and singles will go through tests in life that will reflect their ego. Both groups have a chance to work on themselves.
Marriage is a mirror
It’s a mirror of who you both are, right now. It’s a mirror that reflects our ego. The meaning of marriage is to learn how to get over ourselves and start loving unconditionally. Only then will we be able to really love others just the way they are. The difficulty lies in the fact that we’ll only experience this when we stop ‘fixing’ our spouse. Marriage is a reflection of the love of Jesus for His Bride, the Church. He gave Himself unconditionally for her. In return the Bride humbly and unconditionally devotes herself to become more like Him. He teaches us to walk in the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23a). “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” These are traits that will keep every marriage afloat. Jesus is humble and obedient towards the Father (Philippians 2:5-11) and loving towards His Bride.
Dying to self
You might say at this point that nobody knows what you’re going through. You’re right! We are different in the way we approach situations and in how we feel. Yet, for all of us, change within ourselves is the only way to deal with our situations. Dying to self helps us to soar above our circumstances. You’ll behave more like God does. When your spouse is confronted with God in you, he or she will either change or leave. When they leave it’s because they just don’t want to change.
- What triggers your anger or frustration in your marriage?
- Is it really about how your spouse behaves or is it your need for control?
- Do you expect your partner to fulfill all your needs?
- Are you aware that it’s impossible for your spouse to even try to fulfill all your needs?
- Is it fair to expect them to be everything you need and want them to be?
- Where would you like to start to change?
Based on the answers to these questions, you can start to write down a step by step guide for yourself on how and where you can start to change. It’s about changing your behavior and ultimately your entire situation. For instance, “My partner should provide in all my needs” becomes “I don’t expect my partner to fulfill all my needs”. Yet, you can still be happy, even though your situation hasn’t changed. You make yourself responsible for your own expectations. This helps you to start doing something about your problem without waiting for your spouse to change. Sounds great right?
Wanna read more? Check out our latest book on this subject: