Your Spouse Is A Gift To You
By: Kathy
August 5, 2012

What did you get married for?  Did you expect your partner would love you unconditionally for all time?  That’s what most of us planned on when we entered our marital contract.  So what happens following the wedding day bliss that causes so much turmoil?

What most of us don’t realize is that the most common concept of love is a fairy tale.  I’m not saying that true love doesn’t exist, I’m saying that we have a fairy tale view of what love is . . . love is an exciting greeting every time you walk in the door, movie-worthy passionate kisses, instant forgiveness when you make mistakes, being oblivious to your flaws or unpleasant behaviors.  That’s the fairy tale view – and if we could only pull that off for the 65 years that we’ve signed on for, we’d be all set!

Love in a marriage does not mean that you tell each other how good and special and wonderful you are at every given moment.  You CAN’T!  If you did, you would be lying because a marriage contains two very imperfect beings who are NOT good and special and wonderful all the time!  Love in a marriage says I am committed to you, I care about you, I have your best interest in mind, I want you to be happy, what matters to you also matters to me, AND I want to help you to be the best person you can be.

In short, our spouse’s job is not just to love and accept us as the flawed creatures that we are, but also to point out areas where we need improvement.  Guess what?  That doesn’t always feel so hot!  When my spouse is telling me all the good things about me, I like that A LOT!  It makes me want to return the love.  When my spouse is telling me that I have bad breath or I behaved inconsiderately or that I’m kind of self-centered at times, that doesn’t feel good – at all!  It makes me want to withdraw from my spouse.  And when it’s being delivered in a critical, abusive, or reactive way, it is especially hard to hear!

If you want to get the most out of your marriage, you will stop fighting your spouse for not ‘giving you the love’ at all times and instead try to hear what they are saying about you.  Maybe you are kind of angry, or cut-off, or victimy, or critical!  Maybe you do need to pay more attention your kids, or be less self-focused or oblivious!  Maybe you do need to work on your personal hygiene, or to stop spending money on things you can’t afford.  Keep in mind, it hurts to hear the negative things about ourselves, so if this kind of feedback isn’t offered with love and compassion, that is an area where you and/or your partner need to grow!

If the majority of the complaints in the marriage are about not feeling the love, perhaps you have the wrong definition of love.  In a marriage where both partners are committed to loving each other in a healthy way, they will feel loved and accepted AND be learning and growing and becoming the best person they can be.  Your spouse is a gift to you!