The Biggest Misconception About Marriage
So important, yet contrived in marriage to mean that one should be martyred for the sake of love. You get married to your heartthrob; start living life together and then BOOM, the whole thing explodes because marriage isn’t as perfect as you thought it would be. Reality has hit, people are not always all they are caught up to be while dating, or someone chose to ignore signs that this was the worst mate for them but went ahead with it anyway. At the end of it all lie two people who need to reconnect in order to live in a marriage they both heartily enjoy.
But sometimes things don’t just work out that way.
For a man and woman to find satisfying love in marriage, there must be friendship. To build friendship, you must starve selfishness – that desire to look out for ‘self’ and not your partner. You must embrace each other with the knowledge that you are partners in this race and can only finish strong if the both of you work together.
So what is the biggest misconception about marriage?
That unconditional love is exercised regardless of your partner’s contribution (or lack thereof) to your marriage. So before you shout, let me table this here for you. I just rather keep it real. You will not love your spouse unconditionally, if your spouse isn’t working together with you on building a formidable marriage. You might “care” for them, but you cannot be in love with someone who has chosen to become a stranger in your marriage. How exactly can you love someone who only thinks about him/herself? Doesn’t want to play their part in keeping the home standing? Doesn’t care about anything but getting their way? Who wants to live like that?
God didn’t ask us to be martyrs in our marriages.
He expects that we will give our spouse everything we have, yes! The truth is, this is an expectation He has of the TWO people in a marriage (not just one lone ranger). He also knows that it will be difficult to love our spouses “unconditionally” if they have decided to throw caution to the wind and live like they are flying solo. In marriage, both people have needs they will like met. I’m not talking about silly needs like “We have to live in such and such neighborhood” or “I have to drive that type of car or wear such and such clothes” etc…material needs have no place in making a marriage stand (or fall). If money was a measure of happiness in marriage, a lot of wealthy folks will surely not be getting divorced. Feel me?
You have to meet your spouse’s emotional needs & vice versa!
There are so many needs that people go into marriage with, clutching onto for dear life. Physical needs, spiritual needs, financial needs and emotional needs are a few categories of needs that people have when they enter into marriage. There comes a time when you might not be able to (for different reasons like illness or a downturn in the economy) meet your spouse’s physical or financial needs…that can be understood. However, not meeting their emotional needs isn’t ever excusable because it means you are keeping your ‘heart’ away from them.
Your heart is where vulnerability lies.
For an open, honest, transparent and intimate relationship, you have to be vulnerable with your spouse. Period! If you aren’t emotionally available to them, that means they barely know what’s going on inside you – your thoughts, dreams, vision, values etc. So when you shut down and sever all communication ties, they get upset and resentment starts to build. We all know what happens when resentment builds!
Give your spouse access to your heart.
Running away from being open with them only creates an even bigger chasm between the both of you and there is certainly no love that lives in that gap. You have to close the gap by becoming more emotionally available to each other in order to build the love that will keep you both together forever. The point is…
You have to do your part in your marriage!
…if you want to experience one that thrives. There is no such thing as unconditional love in marriage because there are conditions placed on both partners to be an equal part of the union, in order for it to be healthy. There have to be! You can’t just get hitched and abandon your spouse and just because you are “married” they get to shut up and live in misery. I doubt God intended for people to live this way. This whole fraudulent move of telling people to “shut up and deal with it”, when referring to their ailing marriages, I just think is an excuse for folks to act anyhow they want to – emotionally starve their marriages, but expect their spouses to still be there holding up a banner of “love”. Is that real life? This is the reason why we keep losing tons of lives in domestic violence cases more often these days. That just doesn’t even seem balanced based on the teaching of God. If you want a healthy marriage, you BOTH must put in the work. You BOTH must be emotionally available for each other. You
BOTH must throw ALL you have into it.
Asking for anything short of this is unfair and very misleading! I’d love to hear from you, ask your questions, share your views, comment, like and share this article with a loved one who might need it. You can also read my post “The four things marriage is not and the one thing it is” to give you further insight to what marriage really is. This way, if you are new to the terrain, you have an idea what to watch out for and if you are a veteran, you have an idea what necessary work is required to get you back on track. Here’s to becoming more emotionally available to your spouse and working with them towards a marriage the both of you will be happy to live in!