I was watching Dr. Phil this afternoon and it was all about couples who are driving each other crazy. They argue about every little thing, back and forth and never seem to have a meeting of the minds. I thought that it was going to be an hour full of counceling and deep motivational advice. Instead, it just came down to one simple idea. “Stop trying to change the other person” and “stop taking the fact that they don’t do what you want them to so personal.” He said that in a relationship, you KNOW the person you married and you just have to STOP expecting them to be someone else. Stop blaming dissappointments, regrets, unfinished business or projects or even relationship failures on the other person. Because guess what? It’s not their fault entirely. Everyone has a role in their relationships and for some people that role is to enable their spouse so that they can martyr themselves. It’s a cycle that is set up by both parties and each takes a role in making it function or disfunction.
Now, a look inside my own marriage. I have been married for 22 years this coming January and we are the most peacable couple I know. And I do NOT count couples who say they never argue. That’s either bologna or they SERIOUSLY have no idea how to conduct a relationship. People NEED the space to vent and get upset and to know that there is someone who can hold down the fort while they go mental for a few minutes. If you’ve never argued, then you’ve never let the other person have all of you. I digress …….
Matthew and I have a wonderful marriage because I believe in a few very simple ideas. 1. NEVER hang on to old baggage. It does nothing but take up free rent in your heart and mind. And if you keep it around to use as ammo in an arguement, then you’ve truely never been able to lay it to rest. 2. Accept your spouse for who they are. This is not easy to do sometimes. But you have to TRUELY love them as they are. Bad habits and all. If you like a clean house and they could care less, then guess what …. you married a slob. And guess what else? They married a neat freak. One is not better than the other. They just are. If you can come to an agreement about it then great. If not, then just get past it. You didn’t marry the carpet, or the dishes or the uncut grass. You married a PERSON. I also think that the success of the relationship has a lot to do with whether or not you married the RIGHT person for you. Sometimes people get it wrong and no amount of trying will ever make it better. In this case, just have the guts to get out and try again. 3. ALWAYS find new ways to fall in love. And lastly, realize that we all change from year to year ….. get to know this new person. Their interests, dislikes and favorites. Cultivate your relationship with this new information.
Take responsibility for what’s happening around you within your relationship. If you are unhappy, you are not being victimized by the other person. You are activily CHOOSING this life on a daily basis, so own it or move on.
I am immensely happy in my life and my marriage. It has taken a lot of work from both of us to get to this point and it has been worth every effort. If you are as happy as I am, then I raise my glass to you and say “welcome to the club.” If you are not, then I hold out my hand and say “there’s room for more. Get after it.”