Photo courtesy joningic
Many times marriage, or any relationship for that matter, can be extremely complicated. Just when everything seems to be going so well, everything seems to go so wrong. Is it me? Is it them? Does marriage really have to be so difficult?
My wife and I have been married for almost 15 years now, and while not every year has been great, or even good at times, for the past several years things have been better than ever. Now I don’t tell you this to brag about how good my marriage is. I am telling you this as an encouragement to everyone desiring to have a marriage fully alive. It is possible.
Here’s how my wife and I have discovered more in our marriage.
1. Grow deeper spiritually. Knowing that we are not the end-all be-all in this universe is liberating. We don’t have to worry about keeping the world functioning. Being more in tune with a higher power, which in my case would be Christ, also puts things in better perspective. When the teachings of Christ are incorporated into your life, those around you benefit, but not near as much as you. (Leo over at Zen Habits has an outstanding post on this idea.)
2. No complaints, offer solutions. Many times when things don’t go our way, we let it be known in the form of a complaint. Complaints don’t really help the situation; instead they often make things worse. If something in the relationship is bothering you, bring it up to the person it involves in the form of possible solutions. Seek to solve the issues by following number 3.
3. Make suggestions rather than ask questions. When you are out with friends in a restaurant where the air-conditioner works too well, do you mention the fact that you are cold in this sort of manner; “Is it cold in here to you?” So as to avoid coming right out and saying “Hey, I’m cold!” Like saying this would immediately ostracize you from the group.
Or how about this, you get asked by your spouse, “Where do you want to eat tonight?” Normal response? “I don’t care.” Yet, when you go to the place you really don’t like, you sulk or get angry.
Speak up! Make suggestions about your preferences or thoughts. Put it out there. It makes things easier in relationships.
4. Live simply. I’ve fallen victim to many technological traps. Blackberry, I-phone, Wii, you name it; I’ve at one time probably wanted it.
Do I need any of these? Actually, no.
Focus on the necessities. As for the wants, (1) only buy them when you can buy them with cash. And (2), buy them eight days after the desire initially surfaces.
That way you will avoid impulse buying all together and have plenty of time to ensure it’s not a totally frivolous purchase. Like the acoustic guitar I bought several years ago. After going to four lessons and learning most of Stairway to Heaven, the guitar spent the rest of its time in the closet.
5. Live in community with others. We are relational beings. Most experiences are heightened when we share them with friends and loved ones. There is also a synergy created when we surround ourselves with like-minded people. All those involved can more easily live according to their hopes and dreams.
Marriage doesn’t have to be so complicated. In fact, marriage can be quite simple. It’s all in how you look at it and what you want from it. I believe marriage is not about the two people being happy. Instead it is more about the two people growing up and becoming better humans. When this is done, passion, adventure, and marital bliss will naturally come along.
So when all else fails and marriage appears complicated, remember to K.I.S.S. (keep it simple stupid).