One of the hardest things about being married is not knowing how to change your husband into that perfect guy that you want him to be.
If you’re like me, this may have been a real challenge or maybe still is. When we were dating, we were over-the-moon for each other. We loved everything about each other and would never want to change anything. Then the wedding bells came and it was time to clean house, at least that was my thinking.
I wanted him to do everything my way, because to me, that was the best way, and really, the only way. Those first couple of years, actually about five years of marriage, were really hard. Finally, after being married for over twenty years, I have learned that you can’t change another person. Besides that, it’s not my job to change anyone but me.
There were so many times that I was ready to throw in the towel. Those first years of marriage can be almost unbearable at times.
So many of us have this fairy-tale image of what marriage should look like and when it’s not turning out that way, we start to look like the wicked-god-mother.
This is why new couples must understand the importance of learning how to relate to each other, accept each other’s differences and balance each other out. You fit together so well because where you are weak, he is strong. Where he is weak, you fill that gap.
You are the perfect match for each other. So how can you cultivate a healthy marriage?
1. What are Your Love Languages?
We live in a world where most people only understand their own needs and only operate within those needs. When we get married and live with someone that we’ve only known for a short time, we learn that their ways and needs are different than ours. All of a sudden, we don’t agree with them or know how to treat them.
Each person is different, thankfully. We each have different needs and different ways to express and receive love. When our needs are not met, problems arise, especially in marriage. Most people have one or two primary Love Languages and when that Love Language is overlooked, problems occur, fights can happen and the unhappiness in marriage begins.
If you’re not familiar with The 5 Love Languages, here is a brief overview.
- Words of Affirmation: A person with this primary Love Language strives on words and being affirmed with compliments. You love letters and notes. You are the one that picks out the best Hallmark cards because you have searched hard for the perfect words that you want to say. You not only give out words of affirmation, but you really need to receive them to feel loved.
- Quality Time: You love just hanging out with someone else. It doesn’t matter if you are doing anything special or attending a big event. Sitting on the couch, talking with your spouse, interruption-free, can be some of the best way to spend Quality Time together.
- Receiving Gifts: Not only do you love to receive gifts, but you give them out freely for any reason, all the time. Birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays are very important to you, because that’s a time of gift-giving and gift-receiving. You can become really sad and upset if someone has forgotten your birthday.
- Acts of Service: You love doing things for others. You will bend over backwards and always say, “yes”, to help someone out. Often you forget that you have other priorities that need done, because your Love Language, is to serve others. At the same time, if someone doesn’t help you out, do the laundry or run your kids to soccer, you can get really offended and hurt.
- Physical Touch: Are you a huggy-touchy-feely-kinda-person? If yes, then this is your Love Language. Do you scoot in to talk to someone, you know, get in their personal space? You need the physical bond of others to feel loved. Hugs are required, holding hands is necessary, cuddling in bed is a must.
2. What Are Your Personalities?
Everyone has different personalities and temperaments. That’s what makes us unique. To ignore these differences in each other is a mistake that can be avoided. Wired That Way is a great book that goes in depth about personalities and relationships.
Learn to accept each other and work within your strengths and improve on any weaknesses that may be affecting your marriage. Here is a brief overview of each personality, your basic desire and emotional needs. Do you notice your spouses personality? Are you filling their needs?
3. Respect Each Other
When we acknowledge each other’s differences, then it’s up to us to respect those differences. There is nothing we can do to make the other person to be the way we think they should be. We can only respect them by accepting their differences. The sooner we do this the smoother our relationship and marriage will be. Read more on 10 Ways to Respect Your Husband.
Commitment is one of the secret keys to a long healthy marriage. Commitment can be hard, but once you do commit, then you hold fast to that and never let it out of your sight.
There are two types of commitment. The first is a constraint-commitment, where you rough-it-out-till-the-end. Living with each other, but not loving each other. Just there as companions. You are just making a go at this thing called marriage.
The second is a dedication-commitment. Here, you are really giving to each other and doing what it takes to make it through the hard times together. This implies mutual devotion to one another. Working to make the right choices and new choices. Making each other high priority and a sense of being a team. You nurture the long-term views of marriage.
5. Leave the Changes to God
Only God can change someone and our effort to try to do His work is futile and very frustrating. I should know, I’ve tried many times to no avail. When I learned to trust God that my husband was and is in His Hands, I felt a sense of relief. A big burden and responsibility was lifted off of me. It wasn’t a burden or responsibility that I was supposed to being carrying, that’s why it made life so difficult.
I learned to work on me instead, focus on what I needed to improve on. And there was a lot. It’s funny, when I started to notice the changes I needed to make, and I did make those changes, life and our relationship got much better.
As a married couple that wants marriage to succeed, we have to stay out in front of what the enemy wants to destroy. We have to make an effort and commitment to make marriage work.
I realize that I have only scratched the surface. There are many resources on this topic (see the list below for my favorites). My hope is simply to put your marriage on your radar, so that you will be able to nurture it and find it to be worthy of fighting for.
Question: What areas of your marriage have you found to be the most difficult?
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