then he told you his side of the story
now, what we learned:
Love is a choice we make over and over again. Feelings might “just happen” but relationships don’t. When you decide to get married you are going to have to decide to love each other many times when the feelings aren’t so loving. Now I heard that at church so many times but I didn’t get it.
Nothing coasts uphill – you have to exert some effort to reach higher ground. Work at it.
People won’t know you love them if you don’t love them the way they need to be loved. We tend to do for others what we’d like done for us but that might not be what they need. When I ask Patrick what he needs he always says “you’re doing a great job” and while I appreciate the thought, I want to get even better. So I asked him, when you were unhappy in a relationship, what were you upset about not receiving? This made it much easier – we all know what upsets us.
People won’t know how you need to be loved if you don’t let them know. You can’t tell them if you don’t know yourself. I’ve always been pretty self-analytical (one ex told me “you think too much”) so this one is easy for me but if it’s not for you, then ask yourself what I ask him.
No matter how “silly” you think something is, if it’s important to them, it needs to be important to you. For instance, I can be insecure (hello?!? two failed marriages here!!) but instead of telling me that’s stupid or silly, show me you love me and are there for me.
(OK, I know some of y’all are thinking “but what if he wants me to …” about something sexual – well, sex is NOT what I’m talking about here but I will mention it briefly later.)
This goes along with the first two: Put your mate first! I think most divorces are the result of putting your needs and wants first. Selflessness permeates the successful marriages I know and is a very predominant theme. Selfishness creates an environment of a test of wills. There is great satisfaction in knowing what your spouse wants and providing it to the best of your abilities.
EVEN IF SHE/HE DOESN’T:
Okay, I know that both partners should work on the marriage. But I also know sometimes that doesn’t happen. Even in good relationships, there will be days when somebody just isn’t trying very much. In bad relationships, there may not be many days when anybody is trying.
But you try because you decided to, not because s/he is trying. You do it because you committed to it. Sometimes you’ll wear them down with your love like Patrick did and they’ll start trying too. Sometimes you’ll try and nothing will happen. Then after you’ve tried you might try something else like professional help.
(OK, let me be clear here – I am not saying to keep on loving a jerk who hits you – again I have some pretty strong opinions about this and they are mainly YOU DO NOT DESERVE THIS and YOU SHOULD NOT ALLOW THIS to happen to you. Even more so if there are children around to see it. And in cases of infidelity, if you want to work things out then definitely both people need to be working and it would probably be a very good idea to have outside help. I’m talking about the normal ins & outs, ups & downs of relationships.)
GUYS, LET YOUR WIFE KNOW YOU WANT HER:
Remember how much you desired her before you were married, and during the honeymoon. Let her know her know how desirable you think she still is, believe me there are a lot of benefits in it for you too.
LADIES, LET YOUR HUSBAND KNOW YOU WANT HIM:
You must have wanted him before you married him ~ why marry someone if you don't want them? Be sure you let him know you still do. And if you don’t still want him, then do something about it!
THE OTHER STUFF IN LIFE:
Life’s other problems are easier with a good relationship; the good things in life aren’t very enjoyable with a bad relationship. Put your marriage first and everything else kind of falls into place. Not saying there won’t be incredibly difficult times in your life; just saying your perspective will change.
Please let us know what you think or if you want to discuss something more.
Next week I'll be running some repeats from my other blog about change and fear.