Much like life itself, marriage is an emotional roller coaster. Happily Ever After is not an everyday concept. Happily Ever After comes after both the commitment and the work put in. The rough days are guaranteed on this road.
I remember overhearing a friend of mine in an argument with his fiancé at the time. Her sobs poured through the phone through her jumbled words, but I could understand her clearly.
“It’s not supposed to be this hard. If you’re with the person God wanted you to be with, then we wouldn’t have so many disagreements. Why aren’t you just doing what it takes to stop crying instead of saying things that make me feel even worse? Why won’t you just come over already? I don’t how this is supposed to work – it’s just supposed to work.”
She was angry with him this time because she had a particularly bad day, and wanted him to drop his plans with me so he could go comfort her. He wanted to finish his task and drive to her after he was done, which would have been in about an hour. Regardless, she was wrong – relationships just don’t work. Successful marriages are intentional. They have goals resting on a foundation of work.
They never made it to the alter. Unrealistic expectations put ahead of necessary work kills many dreams before they’re ever birthed.
The next time the heat boils over at home, remember these 4 necessities to getting to the other side on conflict safely.
Time is the great multiplier. Get a successful result once, that’s a great night. Get a successful result consistently over time, that’s a great marriage. All things need their due time. Even arguments. Emotions are built to guide our judgments and actions. It’s why when emotions are the highest, permanent choices are made in split seconds. Rage, lust, deep fear all have the power to make the strongest of people make decisions they wouldn’t have made otherwise. Marriage arguments take on a life of their own at times. They can make the couple say and commit to split second decisions cast in the moment of high emotions. Give your relationship the respect of requiring the proper time to address all grievances and expectations.
Without hope for a better tomorrow or a better situation, there is no motivation for action. Without action, the status quo is bound to win. And as time multiplies all consistent things, the same goes for the hopeless. Each partner needs to be clear about what they expect in their relationship in order to properly communicate that hope to their partner. If you have said or thought these words recently, hope may be the thing to work on, “What’s the point in talking about it? You’re just going to say the same thing you said last time, so I would rather not bring it up in the first place.” What positive intentional action is possible after a statement like this?
Presence is not effort. Presence is not engagement. Just to be present is not enough. And many people think so highly of themselves, they truly believe that simply by physically remaining around they’re doing their partner some service. In fact, it’s a sign of emotional immaturity. Relationships are a shared vacuum of life between certain people who have to make an effort to fill that vacuum with their shared experiences. Otherwise, the unrealistic expectations suck away at both life forces. When is the last time you tried hard at something? Why or why not? Why was that thing worth the effort? Is your relationship worth your honest time, attention, and effort? If it’s not, you’re simply wasting precious time.
No one can make another person do something. Free will kind of works this way. The magic happens when another individual is willing to incorporate your perspective and feelings into their own life’s choices because they genuinely value the way you feel about the world. Women don’t change men. Men eventually become willing to become a better version of themselves because of what they feel their woman deserves. Men don’t change women. Women will act in a way they believe will appease the man they desire to keep him closer to her. Until you’re willing to represent the truest reflection of you, AND that reflection can also elevate their spouses true reflection, everything else is a game of charades with people wondering who’s going to be called out first.
BMWK, Can you commit to doing these things to make your marriage work?