Having a Great Marriage, Not Just Surviving One

Whether it is a subconscious need to keep things unpredictable, or the basic reality of human communication, intimate relationships have us by the gut and heart. There is a constant fluctuation between feeling connected to your spouse and feeling like you perhaps don’t know them at all. Some will say that communication is key, others will encourage us to accept our differences and imperfections; but what is it that really makes the essence of a marriage survive, rather than become a meager maintenance of bleakness? Perceiving and treating one another as friends and keeping a check on the other perceptions of each other that crop up on the sidelines are the keys to maintaining a happy marriage, not just surviving one. Putting passion in its proper place is also going to be a big help. Friends do not find unnecessary ways to perceive one another. Keeping a friendship attitude toward one another wards away some of the disrespecting perceptions that often emerge in a troubled marriage. Keep in mind that how we see ourselves can negatively affect a partnership as well.

You have placed all of your hope for romance, goals for a life spent with someone you love, and personal goals as well, entirely under a label which says that this one person is going to help or make it all happen. Of course, there are plenty of us who say that they are quite independent from their spouse in that they do not have unreasonable expectations, just that they want to be loved and supported. Love and support are rather heavy bags to place on your spouse’s shoulder as well. If your husband or wife is unable to maintain the levels of support and love which you believe you should expect, then you will be disappointed. Even the most independent spouses are going to set each other up for failure if they refuse to change the way that they perceive a marriage and partnership should be.

The first question we have to ask ourselves when we are not getting along with our spouse is, what is my perception of what is happening as opposed to theirs? If you have concluded that your spouse has simply become a non-communicating monster or a total control freak, you have already banished the caring attitude you once held toward them which dictated that you make understanding them a priority. If you do not try to see what their perspective is then you have already given up on trying to understand them. There is always a root to a problem. We have to constantly search ourselves and our spouse to find out where things have changed and how those changes may have seeped into an unhealthy attitude toward one another. Arguing and presenting your point of view are not the key elements to a successful marriage. Rather, deciding from the beginning that you are going to actively try to understand what things look like to your spouse is what maintains the peace.

Self-perception has to also be carefully looked at if you want your marriage to succeed. A change in the way you feel about yourself, due to any event or state of being, especially for the worst, will be reflected back to you by the way your spouse, and others treat you. Your state of mind can change from day to day and so can your spouse’s. These moods will not always match up in a blissful union of love and harmony. It is unfortunate that so many marriages break up because everything gets taken so personally. That may sound crass, or even unrealistic, because you think, “of course, you’ll take it personally.” Well, how many times has your spouse admitted to you that they “just had a bad day” and “it’s nothing that you did”? When your partner is able to come out and let you know that they are grumpy because of exterior events that’s more like the exception, than the rule.

A marriage which is embedded with problems will probably include one of the spouses treating their friends with respect, but not doing so for their spouse. Couples which refuse to perceive one another as friends, perhaps in fear of losing the passion for each other, will have a hard time sticking together. Most people do not flood their friends with ridiculous expectations of how they should be treated. This doesn’t mean that we aren’t disappointed by our friends once in awhile. It’s more a matter of loving our friends for who they are and not what you think they should be. There is nothing which dictates that we should not consider our spouse as our best friend. Passion becomes much more of a treat, rather than the norm, after a few years of marriage anyway, and it is actually one of the things which makes a healthy perspective most difficult. Perceiving your spouse as your friend may actually promote passion, because it allows you to see them in a fresher light day after day, which highlights their various, attractive attributes, rather than their shortcomings.

When you marry someone, you marry the entire person, not just the love and admiration they feel for you. The reality is that you are two very unique people that are trying to share a lot of different aspects of your life. What you should accept is that perceptions are always evolving and shaping into something else. If you can keep the friendship alive, then you can work around the various opinions that may generate from living around someone so intimately. The best way to keep your friend as your spouse, and spouse as your friend, is to keep perceptions in check, address problematic ones when needed, and most of all, enjoy the passion when it’s there.



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