Those who get married do not always find it as interesting and fulfilling as they had imagined or hoped it will be. The average single person fantasizes and expects to have a happy marriage life and has expectations about marriage which, compared to the experiences of those who are married, may seem like a dream that could never come true. These expectations and fantasies make them look at marriage as a relationship and union from which one is supposed to get the most satisfaction and I dare say they are not wrong to think that way. Truly, no one ever gets married without anticipating a certain level of fulfillment. Whether or not that happens is a different matter altogether. One thing that has made marriage less satisfying than the couples involved would like for it to be is their presumptuous approach to the most important relationship one human can ever have with another. For some reason, people think the act of being joint together in wedlock automatically makes things happen the way they should happen.
Presumptions and assumptions
Little or no preparation is usually made on the part of couples to have a successful marriage. And this means that the average couple is hardly prepared for the realities that may only become clear after sating I DO and have begun living together to build a family. Even after attending marriage counseling sessions, there is still so much to learn. In business, politics, medicine and most other areas of life, we are committed to learning and knowing how to effectively deal with people. We go to school about it, obtain degrees for it and build a career upon constant studies and commitment to knowing more about how to deal with people in a way that is satisfactory to them and beneficial to us.
Sadly when we turn to our marriages, we are hardly willing to make the same sacrifice and commitment to learning and knowing how to make things work. Why? Because we assume love and marriage mean things automatically have to work out just fine. Then we are surprised when fulfillment is far fetched, and because divorce is such a trend today, couples file for it even faster than they had decided to get married, again wrongly assuming that this is not the “right” marriage or person. But there is hardly a “right” marriage or person. It is just what we make of it. If you know what to do to make your marriage more fulfilling and do it, it is going to be blissful. If you do not know what makes marriage satisfying, well, I guess you should take the following information even more seriously and be determined to remember and put it to work so you can have the best time of your life married. Lasting marriages do not happen by accident. They are the result of determination, patience and love amongst other things.
First thing First; it is a commitment
I do not think many married couples understand that married is first a commitment and especially one that is backed by a choice that was made without pressure. When you decide to get married to someone, you committed yourself to them. That commitment should be manifest in many things about the marriage but sadly, there is a problem because too many couples do not even realize or recognize the commitment part of it. This puts many things in perspective. Once you are conscious of your choices and understand that they are a commitment you pledged to your better half, you become more willing and faithful in making all the sacrifices that help you both get fulfillment out of it. You simply come to understand that doing those things that should be done is not a matter of feeling nice about them. At least not half as much as it is about making your partner satisfied and fulfilled to be married to you.
I could say the issue of commitment, as far as having a successful marriage is concerned, is much like going to college to study and obtain a degree. That choice to enroll in a particular college and take a particular course is a choice that sets you up for a commitment, whether you know it or not. Soon enough, you will start feeling like missing classes, like going to a game or watching TV instead of studying etc. but then you remember, oh, I made a commitment to study and get through college with great grades and whether or not I get fulfillment from my initial choice is dependent on how committed I am to making that happen.
If couples understand the commitment dimension of marriage, they will be more prepared to face the challenges that come and society is going to have more lasting marriages to be proud of. Mood swings, things that have to be done around the house, financial and social pressures that work together to sometimes pull a couple apart will simply be easier to deal with if there is commitment. These challenges will invariable pull a couple together instead of separating when there is willingness backed by action to be committed. So if the atmosphere and attitudes change with every tide that comes to test the foundation of your marriage, you should check your commitment to the union. Perhaps, that important foundational pillar to fulfillment in marriage is not in place.
Never compare your marriage with that of another person
As unique as our identities and personalities are, so are our relationships and marriages. While it is wise and normal to learn from those who are succeeding in their union by looking at the principles they use to make things work, it could be misleading to make comparisons. It simply takes things out of perspective and makes it hard for you to concentrate on making yours more fulfilling. The couples you are admiring so much could be going through several challenges that are worse than what you are facing. Every lasting marriage has a series of tales behind it. Some episodes of their unique stories are painful and challenging but others are filled with moments of joy and fun. Maybe they have decided to work together as a team and make sure they get the best out of their marriage. But specifically, there are certain things that pop up and make it more difficult to get fulfillment and have a happy marriage life if you keep on comparing your union with others.
It breeds discontentment. Many times, our ability to find contentment in that which we are blessed to have and experience is hindered by unhealthy comparison. One way to keep yourself from constant discontentment is to keep looking at those who are “better off” than you and wish you were in their shoes. I once said, you can admire some other person’s shoes but don’t desire it. The way it looks outside may not be the same way it feels inside. It is far better to look at those who are not blessed with the kind of spouse you have, those who also wish they were in your own shoes and be thankful that you are not in the worse of circumstances. Believe me, no matter how bad things may seem in your own estimation now, they could get better just like they could get worse. So set your eyes on your blessing and find contentment now. Don’t attach marital fulfillment to your superficial expectations that come from unhealthy comparisons.
If you compare your marriage with others in a negative way and even dare to express it, you are definitely going to send a hurtful message across to your spouse. Couples who have a successful marriage life do so because they understand that no other person’s condition is exactly the same as their own. They take responsibility for theirs and are determined to put in the efforts to make things work. I wonder what it feels like to be married to someone who wishes they were married to someone else? Sure it hurts terribly and that is exactly how you make your partner fill every time you verbalize your preference of some other person’s marriage. Your partner sure has a role to play as far as finding fulfillment in marriage is concerned. But it is not all up to him or her. So learn to be content and find fulfillment in your situation or make the effort to change things.
Don’t use Social media as your model
If you use social media very often, you must have realized how often people post updates about their relationships. But have you noticed that no one is ever posting something bad about their partner or the relationship?? As far as relationships are concerned, everything is always fine on social media. You would not find a wife come up to tell how that her husband has been trying to find a job for the past four months and the financial burden of taking care of the family has been on her shoulder all that time. They may have quarreled about it and even gotten to the place of contemplating divorce but you are never going to see that part of the story on social media, at least not from their timeline, feed or statuses. That is the nature of the average human, to give the world the impression that everything is going on just fine when in fact, they are going through pain and misery. People don’t want to associate themselves in public with the harsh realities of life, no matter how painful it may be. So don’t be deceived and carried away. No one is posting their struggles on social media.
You must have noticed, too, that everyone can give great advice, about anything, including relationships and marriage on social media. Even those who have never dated would sound like they have at least thirty years of experience to back their statement. Sadly that is hardly the case. No one has got it all together. Do not assume that those who give great advice about marriage and how to make it work are actually putting that advice to work in their own lives. Decide not to be distracted. Focus on your own marriage and you will find fulfillment. If you are distracted by the ideas, opinions and experiences of others, it will be difficult to find satisfaction and fulfillment.
Not every kind word is a worthy advice
In order to have a lasting marriage, you must be mindful not only of who you take advice from, but also the kind of advice or counsel you receive from people, no matter how close they are. That is one important tip to building a successful marriage. You cannot have a lasting marriage if you are listening to just any advice that is offered you. What do most couples do when they have marital problems? Find a friend or family member to confide in. It is very soothing to have someone you can talk to in times of crises. But you must be just as careful about what advice you receive from people as you are about who you talk to. Even advice from marriage counseling sessions are sometimes not on point, so be careful what you hear and especially what you receive. First of all, talking to someone who is not mature enough to deal with the situation may only aggravate the matter if you take their advice seriously.
Secondly, your friends and family members (who are the most likely people you will run to) may give you advice that is biased. In order to find fulfillment through the storms of marriage, you need to talk to people who can tell you where you have been wrong and how to fix things rather than just concentrating on your side of the story and trying to join you crucify your spouse. If we are hurt about something, the tendency is to put all the blame on the one who has hurt us and label ourselves as VICTIM. Having people advice you who cannot be objective enough will only hurt you more, make you more confuse or send you further down the wrong path. And these people don’t do this to hurt or mislead you. They are just trying to be kind and show their loyalty. But one can be wrong while trying to be nice and you need to discern where their advice is coming from and decide whether or not you should take it.
Virtues are essential
There are certain virtues that are almost synonymous to a successful marriage. It is easy to tell, even in marriage counseling sessions that these are pillars that hold marriage in place. These are very important because of the vital role they play in helping people find fulfillment and have a happy marriage life.
Trust is he anchor of every love relationship and especially vital in order to have a happy marriage life. Without trust for each other, partners will simply be swept off the safety of the shore to the turbulence of the ocean. Marriage cannot be fulfilling without trust because faithfulness, which keeps the hearts of two people tied together will be questioned.
Faithfulness. Of course, it is common knowledge that nothing hurts a marriage like unfaithfulness. We are not just looking at your partner. You should make up your mind to be faithful, no matter what happens. Like joy, fulfillment starts from you and spreads to your partner. They would be skeptical about being faithful to you if they have any reason to doubt your faithfulness. I also need couples have to learn how to stop pulling in the rein before time. If you are not absolutely certain your partner is cheating or have no definite proof for it, you need to stop holding back in distrust. This is especially important for people who are insecure. If you keep looking out for whether or not your partner is cheating on you, you may never give in your full commitment to the relationship because of the fear of being hurt. Worse still it will be really hard for you to be happy and find fulfillment in marriage while looking for a reason not to be happy or fulfilled. Unless you have a definite reason to hold back (in which case you still have to let go), it is just dumb to not be faithful to the person you loved enough to get married to.
Patience. I bet we all know that marriage requires patience. Every relationship worth keep requires patience, whether it is romantic or not. It is possible to get married to someone who is in the transition phase of his or her life. Trying to hold on to or let go of certain things. For example you could get married to a man who looses his job a few months after the wedding. Or someone who has been been through a number of messy relationships. They looked cute and sweet through the few months you dated but he or she had never really dealt with their past completely. In the middle of the marriage, your partner is trying to make financial, romantic or other adjustment and their struggle through it all just hurts you too. What you need in these circumstances if you have and keep fulfillment is to be patient with them and help your partner get through whatever they are going through. Many other things, which could seem insignificant during dating would surely become more important when you are married. If partners do not use patience while dealing with each other, it will be difficult for them to pull through much less find fulfillment in the marriage.
Making sacrifices and investments
Life is about making sacrifices. You will have to make even more of them in order to get marital fulfillment. There are instances where one would have to let go of their own comfort to please their spouse and that will mean sacrificing. You may have to give up former friends, family and acquaintances, the life you have known in order to move in with your partner who is in another city or geographical location. It is a sacrifice necessary to be with the one you love and got married to. If you did not count the cost or understand that it is a sacrifice, you are going to look at the whole thing like you are at the loosing end. So many things have to be sacrificed in the course of marriage and until you understand that those sacrifices are part and parcel of having and keeping a marriage relationship, it will be difficult to actually keep one and be fulfilled in it.
You can also look at it this way; every sacrifice that is made for your marriage is an investment which will definitely yield a return is you don’t give up. What brings fulfillment from making sacrifices in marriage is not the act in itself but the attitude that accompanies it. If your partner is making sacrifices to ensure that things go well, do your part by appreciating their efforts. If it feels like you are making all the sacrifices, then do it with a positive attitude
Without effective communication, the problems couples face in marriage will seem aggravated about five times more than is actually the case. If you ever seek marriage counseling, the first thing most counselors will want to know is how effectively you both communicate. Many of the problems that cause so much pain in marriages are a result of inadequate communication between couples. When things go wrong and emotions begin to fly, the most powerful thing one can do is to wait until their partner is calm and then be mature enough to listen to each other as they share their own point of view. It is important to find common grounds when communicating with your spouse, especially when there are disagreements. And be wise enough to compromise and sacrifice your ego in order to solve problems and restore happiness to the home. This is one thing marriage counseling can hep you achieve, but if you are not determined to make it work, it is not going to work itself.