If our children’s behavior is typically a direct reflection of our parenting skills, what is our marriage saying about our skills as a spouse?
As parents we get blamed when our children throw tantrums, are disrespectful and act out in public. If you’ve ever seen that nasty side-eye some folks give to parents who have no control over their children, you know what I mean. In the same way parents are also praised for the proper upbringing of smart and well-behaved children.
Society has such high expectations of parents for a couple of reasons. One, we chose to be parents and two, we have the control over how we parent. If we’re too relaxed and not strict enough it will eventually show up negatively in the futures of our babies. The energy and effort we put in will make a difference.
The same can be said of marriage. There should also be high expectations for our relationships, but they should come from the two people involved in that partnership. What we sometimes fail to realize is that marriage was also a choice and we too have control over how we love.
Our union, whether happy and healthy or draining and volatile is also a reflection of us. If we relax in our marriage, meaning we stop doing all the little things that made us fall in love in the first place, it will show. Believe it or not, our most intimate relationships say a lot about who we are as individuals.
The happy and healthy relationship is love at its best. It involves two people who’ve made the choice to show up, really show up in their marriage. This union says the two individuals involved are in it to win it. They are usually willing to make sacrifices, without hesitation, for the good of their partnership. They love unselfishly, understanding fully the concept of marriage, which is a challenge for most individuals. It says they take commitment seriously and they also realize how blessed they are to share a life with someone they love.
The draining and volatile partnership is love at its worst. It says at least one of the people involved has checked out of the relationship. They usually don’t know how to handle the pressure of relationship ups and downs, and they basically are ready to throw in the towel when they get uncomfortable. They got lazy with love. They aren’t as serious about their vows and commitment and can’t stray away from their own selfish desires. It also says their thoughts, opinions and feelings are the only ones that matter. Now, none of the above may be the case, but it’s a fair assumption based on what’s happening in this type of marriage.
Everything we do, from how we parent to how hard we work in our career, says something powerful about who we are as individuals. We have to be mindful of the message we send to those who matter most, our spouses. A lack of effort in our relationship speaks to our character, commitment and the level of love we have for our mates. If we don’t care for the particular message we’re currently sending, we have the power to change it at any time.
One message I love from the book, The Mastery of Love, is that we are only responsible for our half of the relationship. Please be good to your half. Giving your union your everything says your role as a spouse means something special to you.
BMWK, what does your marriage say about you?