Who Should I Live My Life For So that I Can Achieve Marital Happiness?

BY: - 26 Sep '17 | Marriage

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Dear Dr. Buckingham,

I am writing because I am confused about how I should live my life. I am a 25 year old African American male and I am finding it more and more difficult to live a life of unhappiness. I do not have any really good role models.

Recently, I got married and continue to struggle. I cannot figure out how I should be living my life. My wife is demanding and wants me to live for her. She always wants me to put her first. I strive to do this, but often neglect myself. I want to live for myself as well. We are both Christians, but are having significant bonding problems because I cannot figure out how to live my life. I worship God and try to live for Him as well. Who Should I Live My Life For So that I Can Achieve Marital Happiness?

Living Life…Thanks, Doc

Ask Dr. Buckingham

Dear Living Life,

I thank you for seeking guidance because everyone deserves to be happy in love and life. Your question is very profound because the manner in which you live your life will determine your happiness. You presented three ways that someone can live their life. First, you mentioned that you live for your wife. Second, you mentioned that you have a desire to live for yourself. Finally, you mentioned that you try to live for God.

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Based on my professional experience as a psychotherapist and personal experience as a husband and Christian, I believe that the best way to live life is for God. I say this because living for God helps put and keep things in perspective about life and love. I have provided therapy to thousands of individuals because they enter into marriage and believe that their personal needs are more important than their significant other’s needs. This causes individuals to lose focus of what marriage is all about – becoming and working as one flesh.

Becoming one flesh, which is at the heart of what marriage is, is a union that God himself performs. If you believe that God created man and woman to live as one flesh in marriage then you must believe that God must be at the center of your marriage. Given this, I believe that living for God will help you achieve marital happiness.

Living for God does not mean that you should neglect your husbandly duties or your own desires. In fact, living for God provides clarity and guidance about how to do the latter two things in a healthy and God driven manner. Colossians 1:27 reminds us that we are no longer alone because Christ lives in us. He is our power for living and our hope for the future. Furthermore, Matthew 6:33 states, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

It is not my intent to come across as being preachy. I just believe that a man’s role in marriage is to lead his wife and live in peace. I also believe that living for God is the only way that one can achieve these goals. During times of confusion, strive to fill your thoughts with God’s desires. Adopt his character for your pattern and obey him. If you do these things and teach your wife to do the same, you will come closer to achieving your goal of marital happiness.

Remember that God created your wife so that you can honor her and enjoy companionship, not to worship her. Live for God and continue to take advantage of the many resources that he has put before you. If you need help living for God, please seek spiritual and psychological counseling so that you can develop the appropriate skills.

Best regards,

Dr. Buckingham

If you have questions for Dr. Dwayne Buckingham regarding relationships (married, single, etc), parenting, or personal growth and development, please send an email to askdrbuckingham@gmail.com

Disclaimer: The ideas, opinions and recommendations contained in this post are not intended as a substitute for seeking professional counseling or guidance. Any concerns or questions that you have about relationships or any other source of potential distress should be discussed with a professional, in person. The author is not liable or responsible for any personal or relational distress, loss or damage allegedly arising from any information or recommendations in this post.

About the author

Dwayne Buckingham wrote 187 articles on this blog.

Dr. Dwayne L. Buckingham, author of Qualified, yet Single: Why Good Men Remain Single and Unconditional Love: What Every Woman and Man Desires in a Relationship, is a highly acclaimed international clinical psychotherapist, life coach, relationship and resiliency expert, motivational speaker and corporate consultant. He is also the President and Chief Executive Officer of R.E.A.L. Horizons Consulting Service, located in Silver Spring, Maryland. To learn more about Dr. Dwayne L. Buckingham visit his website at www.DrBuckingham.com.

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11 Small Things That Can Break Trust in Your Marriage

BY: - 28 Sep '17 | Marriage

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Trust is the core of a marriage. A thriving marriage is built upon godly commitment. While every husband and every wife will surely make mistakes year after year, when those mistakes cause distrust to build, the marriage slowly erodes.

Sadly, there are some who think they can keep from doing the “big” stuff that would break marital trust (i.e. having an affair) but they fail to see the “small” things that are slowly eroding the trust in their marriage.

What is trust exactly?

Trust is the belief that your spouse is concerned about your overall well-being and makes decisions while acting with your best interest at heart. It’s the belief that your spouse keeps his or her promises while attempting to live up to one another’s expectations as best as humanly possible.  Trust serves as the foundation for a healthy marriage and allows spouses to be vulnerable with one another, feeling safe and secure within their marriage.

So how is trust broken?

Trust is broken when a spouse puts his or her own needs and desires ahead of what’s best for their spouse and marriage. Also, trust is damaged when spouses break their promises and spousal expectations.

We are all familiar with the well-known ways to break trust by lying and cheating, again those “big” things.  However, what about the “small” day-to-day things we do that destroy trust? The ones that can be very easy to miss, or that we don’t even associate with trust.

Trust is essential to understand, because no truly healthy marriage can thrive in its absence.

What are some of these “small” things? Here are 11 things that some may think are small, but that can be eroding the very core of your marital trust.

1. You’re Always Late

Being a person your spouse can count on is an essential part of building trust. If you never show up when you say you will, or text when you say you will, you’re sabotaging that trust. Being on time is a challenge for some, but it’s absolutely something you can work on. It’s a small way to let your spouse know that you’re reliable.

2. You’re Judgmental

If you’re a judgmental spouse, you could be sabotaging the trust in your marriage.  Judgmental spouses are not easy to confide in, especially when it comes to deep, personal sharing.  There could be things your spouse has never told you, simply because they fear you will judge them.

3. You Lack Self-Awareness

Do you know people who seem to lack a complete sense of who they are? They say things like, “I’m the nicest person you’ll ever meet,” and they mean it. But in your head you’re thinking, “Um, stop lying to yourself.” Or, they say, “I’m a really motivated, active person,” and you’re think, “Girl, you’ve been on the couch for 15 years.” These people are hard to trust because they seem like liars, even if they mean or believe what they say. If you’re talking the talk, make sure you’re walking the walk.

4. You Don’t Express Your Feelings

If you don’t express your feelings, and go deep, emotionally, you’re creating an imbalance of trust. If your spouse trusts you with some really strong feelings, and the most intimate details of their lives, they trust you. When you don’t do the same, it becomes clear that you don’t feel the same. Trust involves a give and take. It may take you time to learn to open up and share your feelings, but its required work for both spouses.

5. You Don’t Listen

Your spouse is not going to trust you with their feelings if you don’t listen.  To be a trustworthy spouse is to be a person your spouse can confide in. That means you have to learn to listen without interrupting, changing the subject, not hearing, or not giving your spouse’s words consideration.

6. You Hate On Their Friends and Family

You can’t control who your spouse chooses to have in their life, and constant negativity will just cause stressful situations.  Make your feelings clear, but don’t entertain hating on folks. Now if their friends and/or family are truly toxic or dangerous to your spouse or yourself then it is time to take action to remove these individuals from your inner circle.

7. You’re Shady

Being shady is such an annoying trait, but your spouse needs to be able to trust, with a reasonable amount of certainty, that you’ll be where you say you will be and do what you say you will do, even if those things are seemingly unimportant to you.

8. You Don’t Do Your Share

Doing your share of the housework may not seem like it impacts trust, but it is absolutely part of being reliable. If you’re not holding up your end of your responsibilities, your spouse could easily feel like they can’t count on you (trust you) to do other things like “How can I trust you to take care of a baby/home/pet/etc when I can’t even trust you to do your share of the dishes?”

9. You Have a Temper

If your spouse has a temper, they’re breaking trust in the marriage. People don’t like to tell things to those with tempers. They keep secrets and avoid doing things that might set off tempers.  This is a level of emotional and literal dishonesty that others have had to maintain to keep themselves safe from spousal anger.

10. You’re Super Emotional

Being super emotional isn’t necessarily a bad thing. And it’s also not always something you can control. But unfortunately, the people who love super emotional spouses sometimes find it easier to keep things from them rather than make them upset. This can have a negative impact on the trust in a marriage, from both spouses’ perspectives.

11. You’re Sneaky

You leave without saying where you’re going. You sneak in really late at night. You whisper when you talk on the phone. You don’t like to talk about your day, what you did, or where you were. You don’t necessarily have to stop doing these things, and they don’t necessarily mean you’re not trustworthy BUT now consider when you add them all together; they sure do make you look sneaky and suspect.  Opening up a little about the life you lead when you two are together will help tremendously by providing insight to your spouse.

Hopefully you notice some room for improvement in your marriage and make some positive changes, because nothing feels better than having a spouse who is your rock and I know this to be true from experience!

BMWK, how can you eliminate trust issues in your marriage?

About the author

Da-Nay Macklin wrote 45 articles on this blog.

Coach Da-Nay Macklin is a Certified Christian Life & Relationship Coach, founder of the Courageous Conquerors Mastermind and Author of Love After Adultery: The Breakthrough Journey of the Brokenhearted Available on Amazon She is one of the nation’s leading experts on infidelity and a thought leader on maximizing potential as she assists couples and individuals to live life by design and not default. Da-Nay has been has been featured on the Oprah Winfrey Network’s show Unfaithful: Stories of Betrayal after successfully navigating adultery in her marriage, and named one of the 15 most powerful women on the south side of Chicago. She now resides in Charlotte, NC with her loving husband and daughter.

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