Glowing Together While Growing Apart-Part III

“I’m making important changes.  Why can’t  he(she)?”

Exasperated and desperate, many of us are looking for change.  We are willing to make meaningful change within ourselves.  Yet, we feel shorted when our spouse does not reciprocate by responding to OUR need for them to make similar changes.

My mother-in-law told me outright during my wife’s and my engagement, “I’ve raised her already.  Don’t you go try doing it again!

Wiser words have seldom been spoken.  Growing together as a couple is not getting the other to adapt to your worldview, share your sensibilities or to adopt your passions.  These are areas we must consider prior to ‘I do.”  Once I do becomes I did, the balance of time is spent finding connection, attachment and production to bridge who we already are to what we will become.

What does that look like?  Well, there are a few ways of observing how healthy marital growth occurs.

1. We see healthy growth in communication.   Couples who enjoy healthy marital relationships know how to argue.  Even with voices raised and ire up, they stick to the issues at hand and are both striving to find resolution.  One or both spouses moderate their views toward the middle to find a workable compromise.  When compromise is not a viable alternative, one or both finds a way to concede or defer.  It is not about power (“I’m the head of the house“).  It is about collaborating to make choices and take action that are always in the best interest of the household.  In short time, such couples learn the true nature of trust in marriage.  Even when they disagree, they never doubt that the other only wants what is best for both!

2. We see healthy growth in interaction.  The trust equity that accumulates over the course of a marriage is manifested in how attentive and responsive we are to our mates.  Healthy married couples want to be together.  They want to occupy the same physical space, touch one another and enjoy each other’s company.  Couples who disregard the importance of ‘face time’ do so to the detriment of intimacy.  Marriage is more than an institution consisting of role-players.  It is a relationship, first and foremost.  Relationships require regular interaction.  The interaction doesn’t always have to be structured.  Short playful banter in a sweet embrace, an impromptu choice to play a board or card game, a walk in the park, calling home for lunch and listening to the homemaker recount their day thus far and hanging out and talking while the other is completing a chore or task are ways in which couples keep close to one another, physically as well as metaphysically.

3. We see healthy growth in physical intimacy.  Sex often has little or no priority for couples.  As responsibilities exponentially increase during the course of our marriages, we defer some things to attend to others.  The choice of what to defer may not be the product of deliberate consideration.  Sex is a default casualty of hectic schedules and weary bodies.   Sex requires some energy, physical, mental and emotional.  Because we may not have considered the importance of sexual intimacy to our marriage, we may assume that tiredness naturally justifies diminished frequency of sexual relations.  In truth, that which has priority is made possible by planning and accommodation.  Healthy growth in physical intimacy requires couples to talk about how to adapt to life changes so that making love happens in a way that satisfies and fulfills both spouses.  Will there be times when sex is infrequent by necessity?  Yes.  Illness, having infants and separation by business or military deployment are a few of the common occurrences that diminish frequency.  As we grow in our marriages, we learn to focus on quality even as quantity is not possible.  In other words, we focus on doing it better when we can’t do it more!

In the areas above, each of us can make necessary changes toward a healthier marriage despite what our spouses choose to do.  If we think that success is getting someone else to change, we potentially set ourselves up for profound disappointment.  Being the change we seek is a more direct and efficient way of improving the quality of our marriages…and our lives.

Resist the urge to expend your energy maintain a public face for your marriage while seeing it die a silent death inside.  It matters less what other people think your marriage is than what it really isGo glow…and grow!

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About ThePureBed
Welcome and thanks for giving us a once over! Our blog celebrates and honors sexual intimacy in the context of marriage.

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