Love has always been understood as a beautiful feeling. Sometimes it cannot be described in words fully.
But love is more than a feeling. It is a genuine commitment; an absolute decision for the good of the other. The more the husband and wife realize that they were joined together to be one in heart and mind and spirit; the more they realize they are no longer two but one flesh, the chances are that they will stay united as one in good and bad weather, in poverty and riches, in sickness and in health.
So what factors might possibly be stealing the joy of marriage? Three words are important here: Expectations, Differences, and Respect.
First of all, when two people, a man and a woman, enter into marriage they come into such a relationship with a lot of expectations. These expectations are based on their dreams, desires, wishes, upbringing, and on knowledge they get from others.
But it won’t take long to realize that married life is first of all about a shaking up of most expectations. And it creates conflicts when the husband wants the wife to change and the wife wants the husband to change.
Now let us look at change. Is it easy to change your habits overnight? I don’t think so. Therefore instead of trying to change your husband or wife decide that you will change.
Secondly, remember there is no perfect husband or wife. It is a myth. If at all any kind of goodness is there in the family life it is because each of the partners remembers that they have decided to love each other and stay in love in spite of differences. Success in marriage is about recognizing differences and celebrating them.
Often quarrels happen when the “I” factor is strong. When one of the partners feels he or she is important and feels ignored or not rightly acknowledged that creates conflict. It can be termed as self righteousness. A constant effort is to be made to control the feel that I am right and I will defend my rights in marriage if there should be smooth sailing.
Some other conflicts happen because men and women do not recognize the fact that men and women are different. There is a marked difference in their physical appearance, their thinking, the way they respond emotionally or logically to situations, and most importantly in the way they communicate. It is good to make an effort to understand these differences so that conflicts arising out of such differences can be minimized.
Finally, the husband and the wife must respect each other. It basically starts with not taking each other for granted. Respect also includes not calling the past mistakes and failures into remembrance and reckoning in present moment conflicts.
Respect comes from cherishing the other. It is not allowing the feel of love and delight in each other to be lost. As many have said, the secret of a happy married life is to fall in love again and again.
Respect for each other is shown by not letting down one’s husband or wife in front of others; be it relatives or friends or strangers. Respect for each other is nourished by time spent together, by helping each other in the routine tasks of family life, by encouraging each other and being submissive to each other.
The list looks too idealistic, I know. But that is where praying for each other and seeking God’s help to keep married life a joy is so vital.
To conclude, let me say to love is to stay committed to one person in marriage till death separates. To make marriage work one has to get rid of false expectations, learn to celebrate differences instead of saying “I am right and you are wrong” all the time. Along with that have the courage to say “I am sorry” when you make a mistake and show respect for each other.
Above all, I repeat again, seek God’s help. For marriage was God’s creation and not man’s idea. Remember it was God who conducted the first wedding and gave away the wife to man.
So, God can use conflicts in marriage to create better people who can love each other more passionately as time passes by. Cherish, celebrate and thank God for your husband or wife no matter how imperfect or unlovable he or she seems.
Life is too short. So do not miss the miracle of staying together in love for a life time.