The best marriage advice for a happy marriage ever given to me for women and husbands: Marriage is NOT 50/50. |Christian marriage | marriage tips
Marriage is NOT 50/50
My little sister is getting married today! I can't believe she's all grown up and going off to start a new life and a family of her own. It seems like just yesterday we were playing "house" in the garden shed in the backyard and running around like lions from Lion King on all fours.
With my sister's wedding approaching, I've obviously had weddings on my brain a lot lately, or more specifically, the marriage and relationship that follows that big important day.
I remember thinking about my wedding and the rainbows and unicorns that would inevitably follow, because surely it would be a happily-ever-after, just like Cinderella. In fact, we had "Happily Ever After" printed right on our dessert napkins. The beginning of our fairy tale.
Well, it turns out I was right, but also oh-so-wrong.
The first two years of our marriage were an absolute nightmare. From lost jobs, trust issues, 2 brand new babies and the stress that these life events inevitably bring into a relationship, to our oldest child's near death experience, and, of course, the normal newly-wed bickering, I look back and wonder how we ever made it through. How on EARTH did we live through that nightmare and get to a place where we are actually happy?! There are a few things that could have contributed to it I suppose: God, luck, sheer willpower, my ability to block bad situations out of my mind to pretend that it's not happening,...
But I think what helped the most, was the best piece of marriage advice I ever received, just before my wedding.
The Best Marriage Advice I've Ever Received
There's this sort of myth that floats around about marriage, that marriage is about equality. Joint bank accounts, joint ownership, equal share of housework. A give-and-take, if you will. Sure, that's nice, if it all works out that way, but is that something we should really expect? Is marriage really a 50/50 relationship?
I say, no. Marriage is NOT a 50/50 relationship. Marriage is a 100/100 relationship.
1. The 50/50 marriage concept creates unrealistic expectations. You're going to be living with this person for years, decades even! The notion that every step along the way will be divided equally in half is unrealistic, at best. At some point along the way, your partner will fall. Maybe they're sick or they're depressed, or maybe they're just plain exhausted, and can't maintain their end of the bargain. When you're expecting that they also put in their half, you're setting yourself up for disappointment, which will translate into a rift in your marriage.
On the other hand, if you expect nothing, and you view any help you get as an unnecessary gift, not only will you not be disappointed if the other person is not upholding their half, but you'll be thrilled during the points in time when you both are giving the same amount.
2. The 50/50 marriage concept lacks compassion and empathy. To assume that your spouse will be on their top-notch A-game every single day, shows a basic lack of understanding of human emotions. If your spouse is sick or depressed or exhausted, maybe they can really only give 10%, or even 0%, and that's the best they have to give. In order to give their 100% to the marriage, they need to deal with their own emotional issues before they can appropriately address the marriage-front.
I know what you're thinking, because I've been there. How can I handle this marriage all by myself? That's not fair! No, it's not. But it's temporary. What got me through the times when it was my turn to carry the marriage completely, is that I knew it was just my turn. Someday it would be his turn, and I would need him to carry on in the same way, expecting only the best I could give at that moment.
3. The 50/50 marriage concept is selfish. This mindset is not only selfish due its lack of compassion, but whenever you do something for the relationship or the family, you're expecting to get something back in return. This changes the thought process from What can I do to make this relationship better? to If I do this, what am I getting out of it? It changes the focus of your relationship from making your partner happy to making yourself happy. A marriage is not about YOU. A marriage is about doing everything you can to make that relationship better, more productive, and happy. It's about putting the needs of your spouse first, with the knowledge that you will likely someday need the same courtesy from your spouse.
4. The 50/50 marriage concept paves the way to deeper marital issues down the road. Expecting 50% from your spouse, leads to an inevitable tallying system. I do A, B, and C, and they do X, Y, and Z. This sounds reasonable, of course. But the next step is I'm not doing A because they're not doing X. They're not holding up their end of the bargain, so why should you?! Well, because the marriage is not about you. It's about making things work. That mindset puts you at a stale-mate, whereby nothing is getting done. Tallying, score-keeping, and blame have no place in a marriage. No one ever wins.
If you haven't guessed by now, the best marriage advice I've ever received is that marriage is 100/100. If you both walk into your marriage knowing that you need to take 100% of the burden, there will be at least one less disappointment, and so much more happiness to be had.
So, to my baby sister: May your wedding be wonderful, and your marriage bring even more happiness than you can dream, giving as much as you both can, and expecting nothing in return. Cheers!
Did you like this? Find more on my Love & Marriage board on Pinterest!
If you liked this marriage article, you might also like:
- How My Sons Helped Me Understand My Husband
- How to Make Your Husband a Priority
- I Love My Husband Most
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