Marriage is hard.
Trying to make two completely different people become one can seem like an impossible feat to achieve. However, no matter what the world may say, it’s doable and worth it.
Humans, by nature, are selfish, prideful, inconsiderate, arrogant, and impatient. That’s obviously not a good concoction for a union in which you have to be the exact opposite of those characteristics to be successful. I have much to learn about being a better husband but I’m thankful for the growth I’ve seen in my own life over the past four years. I’m going to share some of the things I’ve learned through hard lessons and through wisdom by people who do it better than me.
- Listen to understand, not to respond.
This is a loaded statement. It’s one that should be simple to grasp, yet we see people fail at this every day in so many different situations. Our human characteristic gives us a mindset which makes us think what we have to say is more important than what the other person talking to us has to say. This is so evident in marriages, especially today. We are so consumed with our own ideas and issues that we can’t even begin to consider the microscopic possibility that our spouse could actually make us see things differently, and the fact that WE CAN BE WRONG. I know. That’s a novel idea for a lot of people but listening to your spouse to understand them instead of just responding to them can shape the way you see them and the way you see the issue they are trying to convey to you. People just want to be heard and understood. It can make all the difference in the world.
- Surround yourself with people who have successful marriages.
In a culture of DIY projects, marriage isn’t one of those things you should just go into blind and see what happens. Find a person or a couple who have made it work through all of the highs and lows to mentor you and your spouse. There is no shame in asking for help, especially with something as monumental as the vow of marriage. The best leaders learned from someone who did it better than them and marriage should be no different.
- Show grace even when your husband or wife doesn’t deserve it.
This subject is one my wife has had to practice more than me. There have been so many times where my selfishness and pride have caused a massive divide in our marriage. Thankfully, she’s never given up on me. We are geared to retaliate when people treat us in a less than honorable way. My whole four years of advice in this area: don’t. The truth is none of us deserve forgiveness but at the end of the day, forgiveness is a better solution than bitterness. In the small mistakes, be sure to forgive. In the bigger mistakes, show grace even more.
- When the world tells you to give up, love anyway.
Our society is one in which we are taught to live in the moment and the outdated, antiquated union of marriage is as disposable as a red cup from Starbucks. (Too soon?) The idea of being young and free to do whatever you want may sound inviting and fulfilling but it’s exactly the opposite. There is nothing more fulfilling, meaningful, and honorable than finding the person you were meant to be with and staying committed to them as long as you’re on this earth. Don’t listen to what the world says is popular because the world won’t be there for you when you’re alone at the end of a trail of meaningless relationships.
Again, I’m far from a marriage expert and would probably consider myself a novice at best. However, falling on my face has taught me so much about what not to do as a husband, and I definitely rank number one in that area.
Yes, marriage is too hard for the average person, but don’t be average. Choose to be great. Purpose it in your heart to be the best spouse possible and strive to serve your spouse in all you do. The things in life which can be the most difficult at times are usually the most rewarding, so don’t give up on something as meaningful as your marriage. It may at times be a fight, but it’s so worth fighting for.