Having problems in your marriage?
Not having problems in your marriage?
We see so many posts about 3 Steps to a Healthy Marriage…
Or we get unsolicited marital advice from everyone around us who are clearly experts in marriage, life and more importantly… our lives.
Do I sound a like I may be on an irritated rant today? I do apologize, but I’m not angry… just slightly annoyed. I recently read another blogger’s Steps to a Healthier Marriage and it just rubbed me the wrong way and brought up previous irritating moments of the unsolicited advice given to me from others around me.
So, here’s my opinion on marriage and my unsolicited advice!
I’ve been married for 8 years, we’ve been together a decade… Seems crazy to say that! Now, of course we’ve had our ups and downs, moments where we doubted the relationship itself, when we had the “What are we even doing anymore?” talks… but we get through it. We got married fairly young, especially for today’s standards, so we were completely different people then, because we all grow and change from our early twenties to mid, late, and hate to admit.. our thirties.
We’ve all heard the advice:
You need to be teammates
Practice loving one another
Remember why you got married in the first place
Yeah, we get it… we need to love each other, work together, talk talk talk…
Some of those are obvious things in any kind of relationship and just common sense. So what’s my advice?
My advice is that YOU are an expert in your marriage. Every marriage is different and has different needs. There’s no one size fits all fix or advice that will work. What works for someone else may not work for you and may actually do more harm in your relationship than good.
I was once given the unsolicited advice that as a woman, I needed to let my husband decompress so to speak when he got home for at least thirty minutes. I shouldn’t try to talk to him, tell him if anything went wrong and needed to be fixed, etc. I just looked at the person, confused where this advice came from. Later, when my husband came home I told him the advice I was given and his response was, “If you didn’t talk to me for thirty minutes after I got home I’d feel like you were mad at me. I would hate that!” He also added, “And if you waited until I got out of the shower and started relaxing to tell me that the toilet broke or something I’d be pissed.” So, maybe that works for that couple, but not something that would help at all in my own relationship.
Here’s just a few things I’ve learned in my own relationship over the years. We realize that marriage isn’t like the movies, fairy-tales and facebook stories people tell. Love changes, life changes. We know that we both need our space sometimes. We are individuals who share a life together. There is absolutely no reason why we have to be the same person. A healthy amount of communication is important, but too much can just be harmful. We’ve learned to try to let things go. Life is hard, things get stressful, we lash out, but we try to move on. That also means moving on from the past moments that were hurtful. We’ve allowed ourselves to grow and change, to become who we want to become as individuals. Recognizing that being a healthy individual is important to have a healthy relationship (of any kind). Not holding the other person to the person we/they were when we first met. Seeing the qualities they have now, who they are today and appreciating that in them. Recognizing when it’s the situation we’re in and not the other person we’re unhappy with. The last thing that comes to mind is that we don’t depend on the other as the source of our happiness, that only comes from ourselves. Seeing value in ourselves and the value in the other person.
I’m sure there’s more things I could ramble on about. I am in no way an expert in marriage. My own marriage isn’t perfect, I can admit that. I don’t see an issue with saying that it’s not perfect because seeing it realistically helps me appreciate the good and be able to see what needs work instead of being crushed when realizing it’s not perfect. I was watching a video on Ayn Rand talking about objectivism and her views on marriage came up and it really did speak to me. She talked about marriage as somewhat of a business transaction. Now I know that doesn’t sound romantic, but stick with me here. I wrote a very short article about The Currency of Love and Ayn Rand’s quote on love.
Loves currency is Virtue. You love them not for what you do for them or what they do for you, you love them for their values, their virtues which they have achieved in their own character. – Ayn Rand
So, back to the marriage as a business transaction. If we pick a business partner, we want someone who will compliment us and our strengths, make the business stronger and better. Why not think that way when choosing the person we marry? We should pick the person who will compliment us, make our marriage strong and successful. Someone with virtue and value that matches our own.
Marriage is a very intimate relationship. I guess my advice is that we need to be more focused on looking inward instead of looking at the quick fixes, advice, unsolicited advice or comparing our relationships against others.