I read this article recently: “What’s the Point of a Relationship?” from Simple Marriage which lists common responses to why we stay/want to be in a marriage relationship… while noting that the answers are typically focused on things outside of our control, ie: “what my partner can do for me” instead of what we can do to better ourselves.
The article goes on to say:
“What if the purpose of your relationship was something unconditional and something that you could take responsibility for?
What if the purpose of your relationship or marriage was something more like:
- Personal development
- Enjoying the adventure of life together
- Spiritual growth
- Practicing unwavering commitment to another person
Notice how each one of these reasons for a relationship or marriage is something that you can take ownership and responsibility for in both good times and bad times.”
We are only 3 months into our marriage, and are we ever learning. Every day we are learning, and allowing for growth in each other and in our relationship. But every day it’s a choice. A choice to hold your partner to your own expectations, or to love him/her just as they are in that moment. A choice to be selfish or or to be selfless.
While I hate to admit it, a lot of the time, I think about my needs first instead of his. A lot of the time I want him to take care of me instead of stepping out to take care of him first. It’s a rude awakening to realize that you really do reap what you sow, and that whenever you’re dealing with a problem or an issue, the first place to look for the cause is within yourself. And, even more unfortunate, the only person we’re capable of changing is ourselves. Ouch. Hard to accept.. But the rewards are so great. And at the end of the day, we get what we give.
And! By making a shift in our expectations, some pretty amazing things start to happen…
“He never does this for me!” becomes “What can I do for him?”
“Why can’t he stop doing that?” becomes “How can I grow through this?”
“He’s driving me crazy.” becomes “I am committed to this person come hell or high water. So bring on the crazy.”
We begin to focus on personal growth, instead of the things that bother us about our partner. We become better by simply choosing to be better. We stop complaining and nagging and focus our attentions in more productive places. Places that nurture the relationship, and show love to our spouses. It’s not easy. I’ll be the first to admit that it’s really really hard. But I’m trying. And we are growing. And, as the old adage goes: practice makes perfect