As we’ve been going through this series, we’re covering five different signs that your marriage is on the right track. These are useful in two important ways. First, if you’re overlooking the value of these marital qualities, you might be taking some of the elements of your relationship for granted… And this is your chance to reflect on how good you’ve really got it!
Second, these qualities can serve as warning signs that your marriage may be missing some of the most important pieces it needs to thrive. If any of these “signs” are missing, you’ve got a problem that needs addressing if you want your marriage to stand the test of time.
Let’s get right into today’s topic.
Part 4 – There’s Give and Take
When two people share a relationship, there will always be some level of difference in the way they approach maintaining it. This can shift over the years, month to month, or even on any given day, depending on all the other things each individual is dealing with. In healthy relationships, though, both members of the couple do their part to contribute to the success of the whole, and even when one person might not be in their best form, the other person holds up their end of the bargain.
This is precisely what we mean by give and take… In an ideal world, you’re both excited and committed to the relationship every single day – but we know that’s not actually the case! Everyone has bad days, and being there to support your spouse (and put a little extra energy into the marriage that day) can make a world of difference in keeping you both happy.
This goes for stressful days, illness, or anything that may come up. The two of you should be functioning as a team, and that means “covering” each other as needed! It might mean taking on some household responsibilities you don’t normally take care of, pulling double duty to get the kids to school AND get to work on time, or whatever else might need to happen. Your spouse will do the same for you…
This idea goes beyond just responsibilities, though. This “give and take” can (and likely should) also be present in your personalities, the way you deal with problems, and the strong suits you bring to the marriage. Similarly, it can mean some patience for eccentricities or habits. The whole point is to use your best traits to complete the other person, to come together as something greater than the sum of its parts, and to know each other well enough to pick up where your partner leaves off – and being able to rely on them to do the same for you.
If this is missing from the relationship, however, it may indicate a distance between you, a hesitance to fully commit, or even a degree of selfishness than could cause further problems down the road. If you and your spouse aren’t cooperating, aren’t picking up each other’s “slack,” aren’t working together to make both of your lives better, it’s time to have a serious discussion about what’s motivating you in the marriage, how focused you each are on the relationship as a whole, and how you can take steps toward improvement.
So much of this “give and take” is about being aware of your spouse’s needs, personality, and really, their shortcomings. You should be doing your best to help each other every step of the way, not leaving each other out to dry or feeling resentful about doing something for your spouse’s benefit. Marriage, after all, is a team sport!