Hello dear readers!
Let's talk more about marriage! Shall we?
You know how many people say "marriage is sooooo much work?? It's soooo hard??" I feel like I've heard people say this my whole life, to the point that it could almost make someone fearful of what they might be getting into (I certainly braced for the worst when I got married the first time, just because of what I had heard...any of you single people a little scared?) And I get why people say marriage is hard. I think people are referring to how hard it can be to: live with another person, deal with the faults of another, live on a budget, give up freedoms they used to have, feel that their needs aren't being met, feel that they aren't desired, share a home with someone who is not as tidy, handle difficult in-laws, deal with all the hurt feelings or fights or bouts of silence that come up, ETC....
YIKERS! Well, these things all do exist in a marriage. And it does sound like a lot of "work"...... if that's how you decide to view it.
Well, you guys know by now that I have some views on things that are not always the norm.....and so I hope today I don't strike a nerve in any of you....buuuut... I think that viewing marriage as hard or unpleasant work results in a self fulfilling prophecy. Remember what I said about identity? That applies here, too. If MARRIAGE has an identity of being difficult, that is what it tends to be, simply because that is how we already see it.
As an example…how many of you with kids tell them “I know, I hate peas too, they really are disgusting and I hate the way they feel in my mouth…but, they’re good for you, so you should eat them!” More likely you try to tell them how yummy their vegetables are, and when you eat them you try to model as much satisfaction as possible. It’s not a perfect analogy, but is marriage really that different? Many of us grow up hating vegetables until we finally realize they can be scrumptious and delicious (even though the taste never really changed). Are there a few of us who still need to grow up regarding how we view and talk about marriage?
So what's MY marriage identity? Joy! An Opportunity to Progress! (...no matter what's going on.) OK, I just felt like a dork saying that. But who doesn't want a more joyful marriage?
It’s important to remind you all, that it was while my first marriage was failing (and Danny's too for that matter) that I found true joy in marriage and life. How’s that for a shocker! Why was a failing marriage a source of joy? Because I relished in the opportunities to master my emotions, reactions, thoughts, and to develop my ability to have love and compassion, even for someone who wasn’t acting “according to plan”. (See this post to see what kind of love I'm talking about.)
How about you? What's your current Marriage Identity? Do you think it needs to change?
Danny asks: Do you still hate vegetables? :)
Update - this was part one of a two part post. The follow up post is here.
(Photo by the AMAZING Jonathan Canlas, in Central Park)