Marriage is hard. It takes commitment and sacrifice, among many other things. It is not for the weary or weak. Marriage is sacred and requires everything you have. In my husband and I’s first year of marriage, I fell into the trap of the 50 – 50 mindset. I’ll meet him halfway so long as he meets me halfway. Sounds like a reasonable way to approach marriage right? WRONG! I was constantly disappointed which developed into ill feelings towards my husband and I quickly realized this marriage won’t last if I keep this up. So today I am going to share with you why you cannot just do your part and why your spouse cannot just do their part. And how this approach does set you up for failure. Marriage really is “what you give is what you get”.
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The math is correct. 50+50 does equal 100 BUT I am not talking about numbers. If you try to put your marriage against numbers you will be disappointed. It’s comparing apples and oranges. You cannot expect to have a successful marriage if you expect your spouse to make up for your intentional slack. Listen, in marriage, each person brings strengths and weaknesses to the table. Most of the time you compliment each other and other times you have to work a little harder to make up for the weaknesses. For example, if both are bad at communicating then both would have to work a little harder in that department. However, if that same couple only gave 50% of themselves towards improving their communication that couple would still stink at communicating. Half the things wouldn’t be addressed. Half the “I love you”s wouldn’t be verbalized. And half the problems wouldn’t be solved and when a married couple is not communicating, negative and unhealthy things can develop in its place. That is another topic for another day.
If your expectation in marriage is to give 50% of yourself and expect your spouse to do the same you are setting yourself up for failure. Disappointment and frustration will be a constant theme. You have to strive to give 100% of yourself 100% of the time. The first three words of this article are “Marriage is hard”. Of course, you will have an off day where you do not give 100% and that’s ok. The difference is whether or not you are trying. You must try to give 100%. It makes all the difference in the world.
Let me say it a different way, you give 50% of yourself to your job, do you deserve a promotion? No, you don’t. Do you deserve praise and accolades? No, you don’t. If you give 50% percent of yourself you are not going to get better at your job and you most certainly won’t enjoy yourself. I imagine you may look and feel like Milton from Office Space. Not fun.
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HOW DO I GIVE 100%?
First things first, you have to want it. You have to want to give 100% of yourself 100% of the time. If you do not have conviction about it the change will not last. You will revert back to old habits. Be honest with yourself, if you realize that you don’t want to make that commitment find out why. Did something happen? Did you drift apart? Does your marriage have a solid foundation? Do some digging. Find the answers.
Once you have found those answers, sit down with your spouse and talk. Talk about your thoughts, feelings, and desire for the marriage. If healing needs to take place find out what needs to take place in order for that to happen. Talk about each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Talk about what each of you needs more of. Lay everything out of the table so there is clarity.
Now that you have clarity, you need a game plan. Discuss how you are going to implement the changes. You and your spouse are a team and you have to have a playbook in your back pocket if you are going to navigate life. How you handle adversity together, that needs a plan. If you both try to do your own thing you are not working together. Be a team. Create your playbook.
I learned very quickly that it is not enough for me to bring a solid foundation to my marriage and for my husband to do the same. We have to have a solid foundation together. “My way” no longer exists. Once I got married it became “our way”. To have a solid foundation as a married couple, we had to align the things that were most important to us. Children, religion, money, and how we love each other. Being on the same page is vital. I firmly believe the longer you wait to do this the more issues you will have.
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Let me put it this way, mediocre effort equals a mediocre marriage. If you want an outstanding marriage you have to give outstanding effort. It is best said by Kirstie Alley’s character in It Takes Two
“You know, the can’t-eat, can’t-sleep, reach-for-the-stars, over-the-fence, World Series kid of stuff”
You now have a plan, what’s next? Put it into place. Keep each other accountable. Strive to make each day better than the last. You have the power to have an out-of-this-world kind of marriage…so what are you waiting for?
SAVE FOR LATER!