At work, among friends, at church and in almost every relationship we contribute to there is a certain reputation we carry based on our behaviors. We may be considered the hard worker, the funny one, or the giver depending on who we ask. Because we have so many titles and play so many roles we can actually show up differently to those in our life circles.
Jobs, friends, and our faith connections are all important and the opinions of the individuals in these groups matters to us. For that reason, we put forth a great deal of effort to please them. We work harder, sacrifice in certain areas, and go above and beyond when necessary with the goal being not to disappoint those who are counting on us.
While it is awesome to be so considerate to the various people in our lives, we sometimes fail to extend the same courtesy to the most important person in our life, our spouse. We work so hard at building positive reputations with everyone else and the one we have with our mates is sometimes left a little shaky.
If I were to ask what your reputation is in your marriage, how would you answer? More importantly, how would your spouse answer? If they were given the task of describing you as a spouse what words and adjectives would be used?
If you’re not too confident about the answer to the questions above, don’t worry. There is always an opportunity to rebuild any reputation we aren’t very proud of. Here’s how:
Step 1: Think about the other relationships in your life and ask what makes you value those reputations so much. At work, we care because we hope to be noticed and have advancement opportunities presented to us. In our marriage we should also consider the affects our current actions have on the future of the relationship. With every action, there is a result. We must take more time and count the cost of our behavior. Being able to take a step back and use a different approach, one that helps the marriage, is always effective.
Step 2: Think about who you want to be in your marriage. Do we desire to be more loving, giving, and supportive? If yes, everything we do should complement that thinking. With our friendships, we often prove we can be trusted and there in times of need. The relationship with our spouse shouldn’t be any different. The person you want to be should be revealed and it shouldn’t depend on what your spouse does or doesn’t do. As the writer Don Miguel Ruiz points out in The Mastery of Love, “you are only responsible for your half of the relationship”.
Step 3: Just do it! How we show up in our marriage is always up to us. Decide the type of spouse you really want to be and bring him/her to life more frequently. In our spiritual connections we make sacrifices and we quickly put the needs of others above our own. Our spouses deserve the same treatment. Sacrifice is the ultimate ingredient for a healthy marriage.
A reputation is the one thing we can control and is also what most people use as they develop expectations of us. The goal is building a reputation we can be proud of, especially in our marriage.
BMWK — What is your reputation in your marriage?