For many years, I have pondered on this question and heard it asked repeatedly by countless others. How well do we really know the people we are married or committed to?
When we get married we have big dreams of how well we will be, how long we will be together and all the mountains we will move and the good we will do for the world. It is great for the first year or two, maybe less for some of us. We are so sure of these achievements in the near future then we face reality and we are shocked. We begin to fret about this and that. It could be the toilet seat left up, the way we squeeze the toothpaste, our levels of neatness or the lack thereof, or a plethora of other things.
These days we choose our mates and there are many things we may not look at that our ancestors considered when they were selecting mates for their children. It makes me wonder if there are things that we miss in this state.
My suggestion is to solve these issues before they come. there are things I have found that would add to make life better and I have listed some.
Spend time together. Time together in this instance is defined as undivided attention to each other. Put off the TV, get away from all distractions and just talk to each other. If this is not easy, start in small doses. Say 30 minutes a week. Talk about work, life, goals, ambitions, and anything else of interest. Keep a journal of your decisions that you can come back to them and hold each other accountable. It doesn’t have to be long prose but can just be bullet items on a page of an A5 notebook or whatever size you are comfortable with.
Do something your partner loves. Find middle ground and try to understand the things they love. watch a game of football, watch a chic flick, go to the garage, help with dishes… being selfless will earn you respect and trust. When was the last time you did something that is your partner wanted to do with a clean open heart? Not grudgingly but joyfully. It doesn’t come in a day but acts like this will serve to bring you closer. Try it
Be accountable. Join a community that you can trust, tell them about your agreements and goals and be held to task. There will be cloud of witnesses and this will make the difference. It will also allow for a safe place to talk about testy and touching issues. We achieve more when we are held to account and our progress is checked. This is not a school teacher approach rather it is a friendly honest watch like a cheering squad. They will celebrate with you when you win and comfort you when things don’t work out.
Spend time with either family. How much time did you spend with your partner and their family before you committed to this relationship? Now most of us who are choosing our mates do not think this is important but I have learned that it is of the essence. Spend time with the family with and without your spouse. When you do this you will see how they as a family. How he treats and responds to his mother will reflect how he will treat his wife. How she treats and responds to her father will tell you how she will treat her husband. We do not have to be clones of where we are brought up but it has an effect on us. We are so much more like our families than we may admit and often these similarities are hidden by the changes brought about by education and urbanisation. We adopt behaviour and character traits from our families and may need to adjust and adopt new ones to make our family work.
The gravity of marriage changes our reactions to things. If your wife was superwoman before and seems to crumble under the pressure of being a mother stop and ask her what has happened. If your husband has become distant after the birth of your child stop and ask him why.
Guys, giving birth and being the source of nourishment for a child and on call 24 hours a day can make the most patient and strong woman unpredictable. Add the fact that her body is bent out of shape and her self-esteem is bruised by that. Then add the tonnes of visitors, the help, the first time experiences….it is a daunting task.
Ladies, remember this guy had your undivided attention and he knew he was the center of your universe before baby comes Well, how do you think he feels when there is a little one who only has to whimper and anything you were doing stops and you go to the child. Couple all this with the pressures of life and if you had never truly bonded and discovered them earlier this will be crisis time.
Whether you are in or out there is room for thought and the recognition that we are learning and growing daily and we will need to understand and be patient with each other to make our relationships work.
Where are you today and how can you make your relationship better???