Last week after I published an article about relationships that help you grow in life, one of my readers asked me the question “How does it relate to marriage?”
Really, marriage is the most important relationship that we have in life and this relationship must help us grow too. After all, isn’t our spouse supposed to be our best friend in the first place?
We’ve all probably been a relationship that makes us feel like we are suffocating in our own skin. I know I had a relationship like that (I can’t believe I stayed in it for 3 painful years. But we all need to learn somehow!) and I am happy that I got out of it when I did. Of course when we are talking about marriage simply quitting is not an option.
Marriage (or a serious relationship that you think can lead to marriage) must be a happy coexistence of two people who help each other and support each other. They argue sometimes but they still love each other and forgive no matter what. There is no such thing as a perfect marriage, but any marriage is definitely a perfect example of balance in life.
I am not a marriage counselor and I don’t have any great life experiences to support any of my ideas (after all my husband and I have been together only for three and a half years). But I am absolutely happy with my marriage in spite of all the life tests that my husband and I had to go through together. I feel that right now both of us are growing in life and I love this feeling of freedom and gentle support that both of us share.
If you are married or if you are just dating somebody please ask yourself a question, “Does this relationship help me grow? Do I give my partner enough room for growth?”
Please share your own thoughts about it in the comment section below and read what I believe is important for a marriage that lets you grow in life.
- Love. Okay, this is pretty obvious and yet this is so important. Love gives us inspiration in life that is vital for growth. Love must be nurtured no matter whether you’ve been together for 4 months or 32 years. This love will give you wings to fly to the top of the highest mountain. Make sure that you always remember why you fell in love with your spouse, what is so special about him/her and always make room for some romance together.
- Passion. We pretty much agreed last week that passion in life is an essential part of life balance. Passion in marriage is just another way of finding your passion in life. I know that some say that passion dies over the years and gives way to friendship, love and deep respect. I want to believe that my passion won’t die any time soon because it makes married life so much fun!
If you can maintain passion in marriage then you will be able to maintain the fire of passion in other areas of your life. Don’t let this passion disappear because your life turns into a boring routine. Try new things, be unexpected, be irresponsible sometimes and remember the excitement of the very first kiss you and your partner had.
- Don’t be a martyr. This is especially true for women. As a martyr you might want to do something for your spouse exactly when you don’t feel like doing anything and then say to yourself “I did it for him/her and he/she didn’t even appreciate my effort. I am giving everything I have to this person even though he/she completely does not deserve my love.” This type of kindness and giving thrives on sadness and negative emotions. You can’t grow like that.
- Have a hobby or an interest together. My husband and I have a lot in common and we love to do a lot of things together. We love exercising together, we love our healthy lifestyle, we love exploring nature and we love working online. We always have something fun to do together and we do not limit our time to late nights on the coach in front of a TV or a once-a-month trips to a restaurant.
When you and your spouse have a common interest you will understand each other better. This interest can give you room for growth and it will be just one more thread holding you together.
- Give each other some breathing room. While doing something together is important, doing something alone is equally essential. Both husbands and wives can have projects and interests of their own and they must respect each other’s time alone. You are two different people and you both deserve having your own passions and goals.
- Be honest. Honesty is the cornerstone of any relationship. It will let you avoid and get over any conflicts easily, it will let you be open with each other and discuss what is important for each of you. Honesty and sincere communication will let you understand each other no matter what. You will be able to communicate your needs and plans for growth to your spouse. Honesty is really one of the virtues anyone should strive for (in my opinion) and marriage is the best place to start.
- Be generous. You have probably heard that generosity contributes greatly to the feelings of happiness and general satisfaction with life. This generosity must start in your own marriage. It means giving your time without expecting any dividends, giving your love, giving your attention, giving unexpected presents (do you know how great any woman feels when she gets flowers just because?) and giving your understanding. At first it might feel like you are in a one-man performance but if your spouse truly cares about you then he/she will do the same for you. This generosity can later be transformed towards people around you (helping your friends and family, donating to charities, volunteering) and it will give you all kinds of possibilities for growth.
- Ask yourself “Am I doing enough? How can I be a better partner? How can I be a better friend? How can I be a better lover?” These are opportunities for growth to begin with. We all have some room to improve and maybe this is what you need in your marriage. Marriage is a relationship between two people and both of them are responsible for making it work. Talk to your spouse openly and ask how in his/her opinion you can be a better partner. You might discover something new about yourself or your spouse.
- Be financially open. Finances are not an important part of growth but any relationship can suffer if this topic is left undiscussed. You can’t grow if all you think about is who brought the most money home or how to get out of debt that your spouse is constantly increasing. There is no one-fit-all way of setting up family finances and only the two of you can work out the best plan for you. But before you can work anything out you must talk and you must be on the same page about money. Here is a helpful article that talks about here and here)
- Be a positive and grateful person. If you want to grow in life then changes will happen only inside of you. You are the only one responsible for your life and how it will turn out. Yes, marriage is important but only you can make it work.
Start by being positive around your partner, be grateful that he/she is in your life and appreciate what you have. If you feel that you are tired of your partner, just write down everything you love about him/her, everything you are thankful for and look at the bright side of your relationship. After all, every rose has its thorns. Only you can decide what is more important to you in a relationship.
- Share spiritual beliefs. Spirituality is the ultimate way of growth. My husband and I are both Christians and I feel that our faith strengthens our marriage and at the same time shows us the way how we can grow in life. I know that not everybody shares religious beliefs (and I am not here to preach to you) but at least you can look at religion as an option. This is the only spiritual way for me but I know that there are others and you can look into them too. (You can find great resources on spirituality hereand here)
- Be friends. Marriages based on friendship and similarities tend to be happier and less couples end up in divorce. I know that opposites attract but sometimes attraction is just not enough to hold the marriage together. No matter how your relationship has started you can always make an effort to be friends, to share common interests, to support and understand your spouse and to be there when he/she needs you.
- Help your spouse to grow. I know that sometimes a relationship can feel stagnant and “dead-endy” (remember, the first relationship I was talking about earlier?). Put your effort into helping your spouse find his/her passion in life, support their dreams and gently try to show them what a life of growth is. It is not easy and it will require a lot of effort on your part but it might be very beneficial for your own growth. Just don’t be too pushy and do everything with love and care.
I believe that marriage is not something that just works out without any effort. Any relationship means compromise, adjustments and balance.
I know that my marriage has made me a better person and I am very thankful to my husband for supporting my dreams and being patient with me (only a very patient man could live with a stubborn gal like me ) Does your marriage (relationship) help you grow in life? Thanks for sharing all your wonderful thoughts in the comments below.
Keep it balanced!