People aren’t perfect. You probably already knew that, but when you first met your spouse, our guess is you thought they were as perfect as perfect could be. He thought you were out of his league, but he asked you out anyway. She thought you would fulfill all of her greatest desires. And as you dated, you both began dwelling on where this relationship was going. Finally, when the relationship hit what you thought was the highest possible crescendo, the marriage proposal was made.
Planning the wedding wasn’t easy. You both discovered you had different ideas for the ceremony…and different ideas for the honeymoon. Other “imperfections” began to surface as well. At first, these thoughts didn’t bother you much. You were so excited to be on this new journey that sacrifices here and there were worth it for the sake of your marriage. Months after the wedding, however, it became painfully obvious that the “perfection” you once saw was nothing of the sort. And to make it even worse, they began to see some of your imperfections as well.
Every marriage relationship goes through these kinds of situations. Every marriage. And once a marriage of 2 turns into a family of 3, one’s thoughts and emotions get all the more complicated.
It may not initially happen with any malicious intent, but thoughts begin to stray from, “How can I serve my spouse,” to “If my spouse would just give me what I want, then I’ll give them what they want.” The relationship turns completely into a Give and Take…an If/Then mentality.
“If she would make herself available for sex more often, then I’d be more willing to help out with the kids more often.”
“If he wouldn’t play that video game with his friends every weekend, then I wouldn’t struggle to show him respect.”
“If we didn’t have children, then we would have the necessary time to work on our own relationship.”
In due time, these thoughts and emotions begin to overwhelm the mind. To make it worse, most individuals have their own guy/girl friends who begin to agree with them. The spouse begins to be seen as a lesser person. They’re the one responsible for the marriage not going as well as it ought. They’re the one mentally blamed for the sex life being less than it ought. They’re the one not living up to their end of the wedding vowels. And eventually, they’re the one ultimately blamed for anything that happens in life. Their imperfections are just too blinding to ignore.
Don’t get us wrong, sometimes this type of Give and Take mentality isn’t overly extreme. Nevertheless, it can and does hinder the marriage friendship, the sexual relationship, and all other aspects of a great marriage. We’ll be writing off-and-on about the Give and Take mentality in the weeks ahead. Before we continue, feel free to reflect on the following:
1) Are there any aspects of my marriage where I may secretly be thinking in a Give and Take mentality?
2) Do I have any friends who may be encouraging my thoughts and emotions in a negative manner? Friends who I often speak about the negative aspects of my marriage/spouse and not the positives?
3) Write down one positive attribute of your marriage/spouse each day. If you wish, share your thought with your spouse each day as well.
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