The reason Lamar and I started our website is because we wanted to provide a positive image of marriage. We were tired of the negative portrayal of marriage that was (and still is) so pervasive in the media. You see, we are experiencing the goodness of marriage first-hand, and we have found thousands of other couples that are as well.
We promote the positive because we want to change the mindset about marriage. If you go into marriage expecting a negative outcome, then you’ll think “this is how it’s supposed to be” when you are having problems. I want you to know that, while you will have your ups and downs in marriage, it is not supposed to be a negative experience. I want you to know that there are more than two options for your marriage: get divorced or be miserable. You also have the option of being happy. In the book, Desperate Marriages: Moving Toward Hope and Healing in Your Relationship, Dr. Gary Chapman says that couples with troubled marriages often believe the following myth:
In a desperate marriage, I have only two options — resigning myself to a life of misery or getting out. Those who believe this myth limit their horizons to two equally devastating alternatives, and then become a prisoner to that choice.” Dr. Gary Chapman, Desperate Marriages page 19.
Don’t just settle for misery or divorce, you do have the option of having a healthy happy marriage.
But, my mama didn’t raise no fool.’ And just because I am not buying the negative talk about marriage, doesn’t mean I am ignoring the lessons of those that have come before me.
Some people dismiss these lessons (or should I say warnings) as clichés that people quickly repeat when they are asked to give advice about marriage. But they’re more than that … they provide valuable lessons that have been passed down from people that have sustained long lasting marriages or from people that have had failed marriages.
Check out these 3 commonly used lessons about marriage, that you would be wise to pay attention to:
The Grass is Not Greener on the Other Side
This statement provides a valuable lesson in being appreciative for the marriage and spouse that you have. There is nothing wrong with aspiring to have a great marriage, a great career, and great kids. But don’t forget to be grateful for the spouse that you have right now and don’t forget to see the blessings in the marriage and family that you have right now. In the article 5 Ways to Appreciate the Relationship You Have, Before You Lose It, author Martine Foreman says:
Striving for a great marriage, wonderful children, and an overall happy life is not just normal, but I recommend it. The problem arises when you develop this constant feeling of never having enough. Wishing your spouse would be someone other than who they really are. Wishing your kids would behave like someone else’s. Feeling like more money, a bigger house, or a new job will finally make you happy. In constantly feeling like you don’t have enough, you are missing all of the blessings that are present in the life that you actually do have.
Marriage Takes Work
Lately, I’ve been hearing this statement the most when people give advice about marriage. It provides a valuable lesson on the amount of effort that it takes sustain a healthy marriage. Some people think that the word work is negative. So let’s replace it with other words like effort, energy, attention, investment. Either way, you have to put something in, in order to get something out of it. This concept applies to every area in your life from school to your careers … and your marriage is no exception. In the article 5 Things You Need to Know if You Want a Healthy Marriage, Amy Morin, a licensed clinical social worker says:
All couples hit bumps in the road. How you respond to those bumps? A good marriage takes hard work. Couples don’t just “get lucky” or “have it easy.” Instead, they devote time, energy, and work on building and improving their relationship. Do you view those bumps in the road as an opportunity to build and grow your marriage? Or do you allow problems to cause you to grow apart? Sometimes people just resign themselves to a mediocre marriage. However, if you don’t work on the relationship and your marriage is only mediocre to begin with, you’ll be entering into dangerous territory when you hit some bumps in the road.
Never Go to Bed Angry
A lot of people think this means that you have to resolve every issue before you go to bed … but it doesn’t. I’ve found this statement to be a lesson in conflict resolution. You’re not always going to come to an agreement. You’ll have to learn how to agree to disagree, or let some things go. It’s also important not to hold on to grudges and bad feelings for extended periods of time as that will build resentment in your relationship. In the BMWK Guide to Achieving Marital Peace, Certified Life & Relationship Coach Tiya Cunningham-Sumter says:
Remember conflicts arise when two individuals are unable to see eye-to-eye on a certain situation. They aren’t the end of the world, and are actually quite normal. You will experience them in your marriage; you’re human. The one takeaway is to allow the love you and your spouse share to trump the anger and the egos, which have no place in your relationship. In everything you do and say, love should always be present. It should be obvious in your tone of speech, the words you say, and your ability to forgive when you feel you’ve been wronged. Your marriage, just like any other, is worthy of all the peace and joy it can hold.
There are many other lessons about marriage that are always being shared. Some of them I ignore … but I think these three are important. Please share with us the best advice you have received about marriage in the comments section below.