Sherrie’s comment on Wanting a Better Marriage is NOT Enough got me to thinking about her situation. Some of the mistakes I made in my marriage were: thinking that I was the only one in my marriage that wanted a better marriage and thinking that I was the only one with suggestions for a better marriage. I’m not suggesting that my case and Sherrie’s are the same but her question reminded me of some of the mistakes that I had made. It was very easy for me to see our marriage as I wanted it without giving consideration to what suggestions my wife might have. I spent time withholding from her what she wanted/needed/desired in hopes that she would begin giving me what I wanted/needed/desired. Guess what? Didn’t work so neither of us were having our wants/needs/desires met.
At some point in our marriage we quit having heated discussions and began to listen to each other. Some of the things she would say would open the door for me to say things I needed to say. Some of the things I said opened the door for her to say things. Instead of arguing we were began to discuss, to talk and to communicate with one another. We began to understand that we were in this marriage together. Each of our marriages is what we make of it or allow it to become.
If you’re married to a good-willed spouse and not a Stubborn, Immature, Selfish Jerk you have the most important element for making a better marriage. Having an exchange of ideas about what you need from your spouse to make a better marriage is an important first step. This shouldn’t be a bargaining session where you each offer to give what your spouse wants/needs/desires if they meet your list of wants/needs/desires. NO! Instead it is learning about your spouse and what motivates them. What you will likely find is that when each spouse is working to meet the wants/needs/desires of the other that meeting each others’ wants/needs/desires becomes easier. In other words, instead of withholding what your spouse needs/wants/desires you meet their needs/wants/desires which in turn makes it easier for your spouse to meet your wants/needs/desires.
Now there are no guarantees that your spouse will reciprocate but you will be removing some of the barriers and, most importantly, doing the right thing for yourself, your spouse and your marriage. What your spouse does in return says more about them than it does about you.
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