I’m no marriage expert. In fact, I’ve been known to throw an adult temper tantrum in my few years of marriage. Believe me. It’s not a good look. At some point, I realized that no amount of nagging, temper tantrums, or begging (yes, I resorted to begging) was ever going to ‘make’ my husband do the things I wanted. You’re probably thinking, that’s a no-brainer. You can’t make anyone do anything. Well, call me a slow learner, but I finally figured it out. I realized that I have to be the one to make the change.
It’s like I talk about in Owning Your Marriage. It takes two to fight, but it only takes one to wage peace (or at least the cease-fire). Now, I’m sure you have some objections to this concept of being the one to make the change and waging peace in your marriage.
So, let’s talk about some of these objections.
Objection #1: I don’t want to be a doormat.
If this was just any guy, then yes – you’d be a doormat. If this was just a friend, you’d definitely be a doormat. This is your spouse, your life’s partner, your love. Granted, he may not feel like that right now, but that’s what you committed to when you married. If you can’t voluntarily be kind, generous, and loving to your spouse, will you do these things for anyone else?
Except in cases of abuse [Pause: If you’re in an abusive relationship, stop reading, get away, and get help].
Objection #2: Why do I have to change?
In healthy marriages with healthy issues, take the high road with your spouse. You may feel like you’re doing an abnormal amount of work, and you probably are. But it’s ok. You’re not just doing extra chores for the sake of it. Your intention for
making being this change in yourself is to cultivate a more compassionate loving marriage. You’re not a doormat. You’re a loving partner attempting to build a bridge of understand and mutual respect with your spouse. Sometimes meeting half way doesn’t work, and you have to walk the whole way.
Objection #3: I’ve tried changing; It didn’t work.
This is not a one-time change. This is a forever change. You stop the nagging. If you’re passive-aggressive, you stop the passive aggressive digs at your spouse. Instead of blaming and accusing, you just notice and handle whatever needs handling. You find things that your spouse has done right and you genuinely say, thank you. You’re not just being a doormat as some women like to describe it.
You are rebuilding what has been broken through negative communications over the course of your relationship. A lot of the time, I’ve notice in my own marriage that I have nagged, accused, and blamed when it would have been just as easy to fix whatever was broken and continue through the day.
It takes years to break a marriage. It may take years to rebuild it. Take each moment at a time, and remember to be the change you wish to create in your marriage.
Objection #4: Why am I doing all the work?
You’re the one reading the article. You’re the one who cares enough to research things on the internet. I’m sure your spouse cares too, but women tend to be more interested in figuring out how to care for their marriage. Believe me when I tell you that when your spouse starts to notice the changes you’re making (and he will notice), you’ll start to see a change in him too. Marriage takes two.
At some point, either you or your spouse may check out maybe because of work, children, continued frustration or any other reason. That doesn’t give you carte blanche to simply ignore your spouse. In fact, it gives you all the more reason to pull him back into the marriage. Who knows? Maybe one day it’ll be your spouse pulling you back in.
I know for us, I totally checked out after the birth of our first little one. My husband tried to pull me back in, but everything he did in my eyes was wrong. The poor man couldn’t win. Then he checked out. Let me tell you. Being married and having both partners checked out, is no fun. So, I decided to be the one to make the change.
I started noticing all of the little things he does and saying, thank you. I realized that I’d rarely acknowledged his contributions. I started biting my tongue when I wanted to lash our or nag, because I realized low and behold, I’m not perfect. So, why should I demand a perfect husband? With time, my husband and I found our equilibrium again, and we started talking. Really talking.
One of the things we noticed was that marriage ebbs and flows, but it’s up to the marriage partners to keep it always coming back to the center–to its equilibrium. With each return to the center, we grow as individuals and our marriage grows stronger.
Do you agree? Do you wholeheartedly disagree? Talk to me in the comments below.