Obstacles to a Perfect Marriage
The Blame Game
Some people fall into the habit of expecting their spouse to make them happy. Imagine that you are feeling stressed at work and come home every evening in a bad mood. You argue with everything your spouse says without even thinking about it. You are basically not good company. Your spouse retreats to the back room and doesn't want much to do with you. You don't feel like eating alone but end up eating a cold can of soup for dinner. You feel even worse and start to feel really sorry for yourself. You toss and turn at night and wake up feeling groggy and miserable. The cycle continues. You barely talk with your spouse in the evenings, and this carries over into the weekends. You feel like your marriage is falling apart.
When you are feeling overwhelmed with responsibilities, don't assume that your marriage is the source of all your problems. In fact, it usually can be part of the solution.
Many people start blaming their spouse at this point. “If only he or she cooked me dinner every night,” “If only he or she really cared about my feelings,” “If only he or she kept the house clean for me when I came home after a long day at work.” This can easily turn into “None of this is my fault; it is all my spouse's fault.” Now you have made your spouse your enemy.
Don't fall into this trap! Figure out ways that both you and your spouse can help the situation. Blaming each other will get you nowhere. Rather than blaming each other for why things aren't working, try to figure out ways to make things better. If you find yourself angry and blaming your spouse for something, stop, sit down, and think about what you can do to better understand how your spouse is feeling.
Getting Over Grudges
Don't spend all your time looking for perfection in your mate. Instead, spend time becoming a better mate yourself.
Unresolved grudges against your spouse are another obstacle to a perfect marriage. They are a barrier between the two of you. If you are able to forgive your spouse for a past mistake, you will improve your marriage.
Mindy was frustrated with her husband, Jack, because he forgot their anniversary. He had done everything he could to make it up to her. He brought her flowers, took her on a surprise weekend away, and even did her chores for a week; but nothing satisfied her. Mindy still felt angry and sad. Now Jack was getting frustrated. He knew he had made a big mistake by forgetting their anniversary, but he had tried to make up for it. Over time, he became angry with Mindy for not forgiving him.
Even though Jack made the original mistake by forgetting their anniversary, Mindy compounded the error. She is carrying around a grudge that has interfered with her marriage. All Mindy had to do was forgive Jack for forgetting their anniversary. Then they would have been able to move on.
The Spice Rack
If you have a hard time saying you're sorry, why not leave a note saying “I'm sorry” on the bathroom mirror at night? Your spouse will find it right before he or she goes to bed, and it will probably get the two of you talking.
Are you talking around with grudges against your spouse? This is probably creating a barrier between the two of you. If you are able to, forgive your spouse for something he or she did in the past. Forgiveness is an important part of a good relationship and will improve your marriage.
The following are five steps to forgiveness:
- Set aside time to discuss the issue.
- Explain to your spouse why you are upset.
- Tell your spouse directly that you forgive him or her.
- Do your best to not bring up the issue again.
- Remind yourself that you have already forgiven your spouse if you find yourself thinking about the issue.
More on: Marriage and Divorce
Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Perfect Marriage © 2001 by Hilary Rich and Helaina Laks Kravitz, M.D. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
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