We are known as the “Baby Boomers” and we grew up in the age of modern psychology. It was the age of being instructed of thinking of you before others, measuring your relationships worth and pursuing self gratification to name just a very few of their instructions. We won’t even discuss Dr. Spock’s views on child raising. They lured us into leaving the way we were brought up in the pursuit of happiness and a better way of life.
After our so-called enlightenment, the divorce rates started to climb drastically until today figure, reaching an all time high, keeps many from ever making it to the altar. Yes, the call for the happier and better way of life has practically been the slaughter of the union of American couples. Well trained in this technique, many baby boomers find themselves alone in their senior years with their example being followed by their children. Rare are the days of a 50 year anniversary and gone are the days of being truly committed to another for better or for worse.
I, myself, have a few marriages that have ended in divorce with one being for the reasons I have mentioned before. No one should suffer abuse and infidelity; however, no one should jump into a marriage without knowing the person first. Simple pre marriage screening and common sense should lower that statistic considerably. If you find yourself making choices that lead in that direction, then you should explore the reasons why and seek solutions before you commit to another.
Too many times our culture has used relationships like a disposable diaper. They find relief in it and then casually toss it away after it has been messed in. A good marriage isn’t something that occurs by itself yet instead it is like a plant or pet that needs daily tending and nurturing to grow. An old saying is “Anything worth doing is worth doing right.” I find this should be applied not only to marriage and relationships but many other areas as well.
The new era of self gratification told us to value money and possessions before relationship because your monetary worth was your success indicator rather than your accomplishment as a spouse, parent or child. We did as we were instructed and began to keep a diary of the good/bad things our spouse did as an indicator when to leave them. When we were angry the “bad” list seemed to grow, which was to mean we were unhappy and being taken for granted. We would pack our bags, feel justified in being unfair in divorce court and set out to find the golden apple of happiness once again. For many, they just gave up on marriage and started living together as a safety net for their emotions, bank accounts and the refusal to embrace fidelity.
Yes, we killed the sanctity of marriage with our pointless, selfish quests for perfection. We stopped trying to make happiness and success from what we have by trying to find it already made and waiting for us. Laziness never finds success or happiness yet many are dedicated to trying.
What is the solution? How can we bring back life into something that we have almost put into extinction? Well, that is a multi-faceted question that this blog doesn’t support the length or probably the readers to solve. However I will give a brief synopsis on my opinion.
1) Stop making the good and bad list of your spouse’s actions. You know when something is truly bad and you won’t need a list to remind you. Instead, if you are looking for a good marriage, make a list of the good things about them and your relationship. Make note of even simple things so they do not go unappreciated. Don’t let it set on your computer or notepad to collect dust but instead, read them once a month and then send them to your spouse. They feel appreciated and it gives them a look at the things that really make you happy.
And for those that say “yeah well what about me? Why should I do it when they don’t?” That mindset is a true example of what strangled American marriage. What about me. This was for everyone which seems to be one of your problems. Sometimes it is about giving and sitting good examples and habits. Why shouldn’t it be you that forges forward instead of waiting for someone to do it for you?
2) Realize that as in the circle of life – marriage has its good days and it’s bad. You may go 6 months wondering what you ever saw in your spouse and then all of a sudden they take your breath way and you feel the familiar flutter your stomach feels when you are in love. Remember that you aren’t always the most delightful person to be around and you have faults as well. Marriage takes work and it takes commitment to making it work. Remember there is a difference between love and lust.
3) Quit measuring your success on your bank account and instead measure it by how well your relationships work. Measure your worth by your ability to commit, stay faithful, and work on being a spouse, mate, parent and child. Take a good look at yourself through the reflection in your loved ones eyes.
4) Keep loved ones opinions out of your relationships because ultimately your opinion is all that matters. They do not live your life – you do and so they have no place in your marriage. You will be the one that reaps any consequences from your actions and they will never actually know your relationship. It is as unique as you and your spouse.
5) Don’t be afraid to commit. Someone once said, “I don’t understand Americans fear to commit in a relationship when they have no fear in committing to a 30 year loan.” People will sign on the dotted line to get loan with no fear of losing it all- but use the excuse they fear marriage because they may lose everything. They will invest in a risky stock or business adventure yet hesitate on taking a chance with marriage and a person they love. Remember the difference between reasons and excuses and find the real underlying cause.
6) Numerous people spend countless hours of their life on education and career and yet allow their home & family life crumble from lack of attention. They try to measure their participation in it by how much effort the other has put into it. You wouldn’t let a deal fall through because you were waiting on someone else – well don’t sit and wait for someone else to pick up the task and start working on it.
7) BE POSSITIVE. Look at the positive side of your relationship and what it has given you. Look and speak about your spouse in a positive and productive way not only to them but to others you encounter as well. They will follow your lead in sizing up your relationship the way you do. If you complain to them all the time then they will see the negative side and mimic it back at you. If you train yourself to speak in a positive light you soon will start seeing, feeling and appreciating your marriage & family.
This a quick seven but is not meant to be the entire handbook on the making of a good relationship. It is ultimately up to you to incorporate these into your relationship and see if it works for you. I leave you with one quick suggestion. D0 not be guilty of eye (“I”) strain because if that is all you give then it will be all you receive not only throughout life but in the end as well.