So, my husband just turned 40. Crazy. I remember when 40 seemed really old. Now, I am not too far from it myself, and it doesn’t seem very old anymore. Isn’t perspective a crazy thing?
Speaking of perspective, I remember a time, not too long ago when my marriage was on the rocks. The pain and misery seemed to never end. It seems every other week or so I was planning in my mind how to get out of it with the least possible amount of suffering for me, my husband and children. I am so grateful we chose to work it out. I am not a marriage counselor, but I have learned some pretty great lessons as I have turned to my creator for help with my marriage. Here are a few ways that my perspectives have shifted:
Be the change! Do you remember getting into fights or arguments with your siblings, only to have your parents jump in and tell you both to stop? I do. It always sounded something like this: I would say, “But he started it!” and then my brother would follow with, “No, she started it!” It would go back and forth like that until my mother would shout in desperation, “I don’t care who started it. Just stop. Both of you!”
Sadly, we never really grow out of the blame game. It is human nature to want to blame another person for our actions or inactions. In order to have a great marriage, someone has to stop the blame cycle and change. Not just once, but again and again. I remember when this realization happened for me. I was totally angry with my husband. His concrete business had failed. We were living in my sister’s basement, about to file for bankruptcy, and my husband was watching TV. I was seething in the bedroom because I thought he should be out looking for a job, and ironically my blaming was keeping me from doing anything productive.
It finally got painful and uncomfortable enough that I decided to pray. After much prayer and pleading, I opened up my scriptures and read a verse that I have never been able to find since. It communicated the message to me, “Stop worrying about your husband, and do your duty.” That verse in that moment changed my life. I stopped worrying about what he was or wasn’t doing and started focusing on what I could be doing.
And guess what? Within a very short while he found a job, we moved into our own place and most importantly, our marriage was still intact.
Let go of the past! Personal healing is so important for a thriving marriage. Each partner in the marriage must invest time, energy and sometimes even money to heal the issues we are subconsciously holding onto from the past. Not only do we hold onto past hurts with our spouse, but we usually marry someone who brings up at least some of our pre-marriage issues for us. They usually play right into our old stories and beliefs about ourselves. I have found this to be true at so many levels. I am so grateful that my husband and I have been catalysts for each other to heal.
Love yourself! This kind of goes along with the last one, but we must love ourselves in order to have a happy marriage. Whenever we look outward for our love bucket to be filled, we are giving our power to someone else. If we are waiting for our spouse to fill it for us, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment and feelings of worthlessness. When we love ourselves, no matter what anyone says or does, we can quickly and easily let it go because we know our own value. No one has the power to make you feel unloved, not even your spouse.
Forgive, forgive, forgive As we become the change, heal from the past, and love ourselves, the next step is much easier. When your spouse offends, intentionally or not, we can easily forgive and recognize that their offense is their own garbage and has nothing to do with us, or we can use it as a reminder to heal more of our own garbage. Forgiveness is freedom. It keeps us in a positive place always moving forward. It is such a deep love and respect for ourselves, that we are unwilling to allow any negativity from any source to hold us back. It also makes it easier for us to be forgiven for our own offenses.
Love your spouse As we build a strong foundation of self love, we can’t help but emanate that love to others. We begin to give love freely because of the joy it brings. We want our spouse and everyone else to feel that joy.
What are the biggest perspective shifts you have had about your marriage?