No one ever gets married thinking they will get divorced someday. They both stand at the altar, on the beach, or in the courthouse and agree to make each other happy for the rest of their lives. Hand in hand, they both believe they aren’t like any other couple. They’re different. Their love will grant them a lifetime of laughter, sex, fulfillment, bliss, passion, success, and peace. (Or, in other situations, they marry for money, companionship, an arrangement, etc. But for the most part, we’re all that first couple.) “We’ll do things ourway. It’ll be fantastic. And after everyone stops doubting us, they’ll start asking us for our secret. ‘Just how do you keep the love alive after all these years?!,’ they’ll say.
Raise your hand if you have had a similar thought in your head. *raises hand*
I found this on the blog Isla Cunningham Books which I found via Pinterest. I’ve seen lots of marriage/relationship advice pop up on Pinterest, one of my favorites being the 16 Ways I Blew My Marriage (which you haven’t read, single, married or whatever, I highly recommend it). Mostly I skip over them but this one caught my eye and I followed the link. Reading it, I quickly realized the marriage therapy plan of sorts is based out of their local church but since the author wasn’t tell me to find Jesus at the end of every paragraph I settled in to hear her story.
To put what she (and now, I) learned in a nutshell: I am my biggest marital problem.
Okay, granted I’m not married but the fact still remains; to love someone fully is to be selfless.
February has been a rough month for me - correction – for us. I’ve had the thought lurking in my mind that lately I’ve been a big problem in my relationship but rather than recognize it I’ve wallowed in the stress we’ve both felt and just felt bad for myself. I saw my boyfriend feeling stressed and angry. But I was the one crying the tears and being sullen and saying woe is me! I didn’t stop to recognize his own pain with our situation until he had nearly reached the breaking point. And then I sat silently and listened to him get it all out but I couldn’t find it in me to drop my own half of the stress to comfort him as I should have.
Being the beyond lucky gal that I am, I know my boyfriend has and will continue to look at me and tell me “All I need is you. You are the best and you always make me happy.” No, it’s not enough. I’ve never had someone love me as wholly and unconditionally as he has so in retrospect, as a girl, it’s very easy to lie back and say to him “I feel awful, kiss me and make it all better” because I know he will. It’s so easy for me to complain of the little annoyances he does but not to reflect upon my own short falls. As women, we love to analyze and pick apart things, especially our men. (And we’re especially good at keeping this all under wraps until something really ticks us off and we blow, wouldn’t you agree? Something we learned along the way of being a woman…) We even pick apart ourselves; our daddy issues, the reason we’re insecure, why we think we need a glass of wine to make things all better. But rarely ever do we pick apart ourselves as to what we have done wrong.
Try this from the blog: we all know the infamous Corinthians quote on love.
Is patient and kind.
Doesn’t envy or boast.
Isn’t rude or insisting on its own way.
Is not irritable or resentful.
Bears and endures all things.
Believes and hopes all things.
Yeah, yeah. We’ve heard that before. But, stop. Stop right there. Clear your mind. Now go back through the list above and read each line out loud. At the end of each phrase, ask yourself if you’re honestly succeeding at each point.
Which one spoke loudest to you? The first one stopped me cold; I am not a patient person and if something is bothering me, I’m even less so. Ouch, thanks love.
I think of the best points she made her story was this - you don’t need to be on the edge of divorce to seek marriage counseling or therapy. And it’s pretty much taboo to admit you’ve done so. I’m not even married and yet I find myself seeking the advice of those who are or have been in order to understand what makes a relationship work and what makes them fail. I’ve learned over and over again that no relationship is perfect; they all take work. But so along as you are willing to work through the problems then that it was matters most.
Note: Although this was written by a woman, the rule of being the marital problem applies to both halves of the relationship. So listen up men, you are the ‘problem’ too! If you read Isla’s blog you will understand where this post of mine is coming from. This is meant to be a reflection and summary of what I learned from reading it.