What’s at the Root of Troubles in Marriage?

“Can I have your order, please?”
“Yes, I’d like a physically fit and stocky guy about five-eleven, or make that six foot even, dark hair, green eyes, good complexion, hard worker, and could you add a sense of humor, please, and also go easy on the testosterone. I’d like him happily ever after, please.”
Can you imagine the response you’d get if you ever tried that, and yet, isn’t that what we expect, the perfect spouse, and when imperfection rears its head like an overgrown pimple, we ourselves want to pop on out of the relationship. We tend to forget the qualities that enhanced the butterflies in our stomach that soon turned into the feeling of love which led us to the marriage commitment. When imperfection strikes, we get on the emotional merry-go-round and we tend to go round and round until one of us opts to get out.
That’s one of the saddest things today; commitment has become like a piece of gum, i.e. when it loses its flavor, we throw it in the trash. Ironically, the definition for the word commitment seems so square in an ever changing round world. The first definition is: The trait of sincere and steadfast fixity of purpose; and the second definition is the act of binding yourself intellectually and/or emotionally to a course of action. I believe couples start off sincere and determined, but because of the “bigger issues,” their commitment gets lost along the way. In addition to the threat of the big issues along the way is the fact that many marriages don’t begin for the right reasons – usually because of unresolved hurts of the past – so there are old wounds being added to the new wounds from the big issues of the present, and eventually it just becomes too much to carry.
To my single friends out there, let me encourage you to make good use of this S.O.S. time, this season of singleness, and do a baggage check, in other words, take a personal inventory of your past to see if there is any unresolved hurts and/or habits that keep following you into your present choices. It’s much easier to do this now, while you are single, then it would be in the middle of a storm in marriage. And remember, there’s no such thing as a perfect person, but there is a person perfect for you!
Those of you already in that covenant of marriage, it’s not too late; you’ll just have to dig a little deeper to do that baggage check and work on those unresolved issues of the past so they can quit interfering with your present; otherwise, you will never make it over the bumps that marriage will bring you to. Just remember to limit your personal inventory to your own baggage and not that of your spouse. You’ll be wasting energy if you concentrate on what’s wrong with him or her because you can only fix yourself.
If you are one of those rare ones who had a decent and normal – no abuse, both parents – childhood, something you could check before dealing with the big issues you are certain to face in your covenant of marriage is your expectations. Much of the time, the issues are made larger because of our unfair expectations that we tend to place on our spouse, and that too can be related to a deeper issue, so just make sure that you are not expecting your helpmate to fulfill all of your needs, or you are certain to get lost in the journey and take a major detour. Realize that you can have that “happily ever after,” but not without a lot of effort on your part.
In the journey of marriage, one of the biggest signs of danger is selfishness. Just as money is at the root of all evil, selfishness is at the root of most divorces. Selfishness is a love and respect killer, and without love and respect, we wind up in this viscous cycle of self-destruction. When our man is showing us love, it motivates us to respect him; when we’re respecting him, it motivates him to love us, and then instead of a viscous cycle of pain and destruction, it becomes a circle of love.
The key is doing this even when you don’t feel like it and/or your mate doesn’t deserve it, because one of us has to get stuck off of stupid and get it back on track. This takes selflessness, aka unconditional love, which is what marriage is truly all about.
A fun and powerfully enlightening thing to do is for each partner to make a list of ten things that make him feel respected and her feel loved, and that way there won’t be any guessing games. I remember reading an excellent book – several times – called The Five Love Languages, and on our first anniversary, I suggested to my husband that we take the assessment in the back of the book to determine our love languages. I was so confident that I knew his love language and that he didn’t know mine. Well, as it turned out, I had been speaking the wrong language all year long – I wasn’t too far off; I had been speaking his secondary language, but not his first – and he actually knew my first love language. The point is, never take anything for granted and think you already know. When you get that list that tells you how your spouse feels loved or respected, you just may be surprised.
There are many other arrows that threaten to destroy our love, but if you were to trace them back to the root, you would come back to selfishness, pride, and no love or respect. One of the most important things to remember is that love isn’t just a feeling; no it’s much, much more. Love is a choice, and love is a verb; it requires action. I wish you love and respect…
To find out more on this subject, please contact me at evinda@chicklitpower.com

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2 Responses to “What’s at the Root of Troubles in Marriage?”

  1. Gail says:

    Wow, great Blog. As always, thanks for the reminder in words. I think I will hunt down my Five Love Languages book and take the assessment which I never have and I’ve been married 28 years.
    Blessings my friend!

  2. admin says:

    Gail,
    The Five Love Language should be by all our bedsides as a reminder to tune-up our relationships… You go, girl.