Marriage takes work, as we all know (perhaps too well), but what kind of work are we putting in, and what kind of results are we expecting?
While every relationship has a different dynamic, and no two people are exactly alike, there are a few basic principles we can hold to – one is that making a relationship successful takes time and effort, another is that we have to be realistic in our expectations of our partner (and ourselves).
These two principles, in fact, go hand in hand perfectly. On one hand, we can’t expect our spouse to be perfect – they are real people after all, not a character from a fairy tale. On the other hand though, we CAN work together to be “perfect” for each other.
- We CAN work together to be “perfect” for each other.
Putting in work for your marriage is multifaceted. In part, it means doing things around the house, helping out with financial obligations, getting the kids to school, and all the “maintenance” that comes with a busy, adult life. It also means, though, reminding your partner that you love them, and why. It means making an effort to spend quality time together, going out of your way to do something nice for your spouse, volunteering to take care of something so they don’t have to. When you’re willing to do little things on a regular basis to make your spouse’s life easier, while offering support, love, and communication, you’re on the road to being the “perfect” spouse. Ideally, you will both be doing this, making each other’s lives easier by default.
Now, when it comes to expectations, you can’t take this kind of stuff for granted. In fact, you should be equally appreciative each time your husband or wife goes out of their way to be kind to you. It comes with the territory: you receive their kindness with gratitude, and vice versa. This kind of behavior, though it should be the norm, should never be demanded, and should ALWAYS be practiced by both members of a relationship.
It boils down to little things, small ways that you show your partner you care, and similarly, finding ways to honestly appreciate the small things that they do for you.
Marriage advice: Do you feel like you’re putting in all the effort? That your spouse doesn’t notice you or appreciate what you do? For expert advice on getting your partner checked back in to the relationship, check out the StrongMarriageNow System today!
Dr. Dana Fillmore and Amy Barnhart, co-Founders, StrongMarriageNow.com