Do you love your spouse for who he or she is? In a novel I was reading recently by Kristin Hannah, called Between Sisters, the husband tells his wife two things about why he’s leaving her for another woman, that struck me as important: ‘Nothing I do is good enough for you.’ The second is more about the woman he has been seeing ‘She loves who I am, not who I could be if I were more ambitious.’ They’re telling comments and although it’s fiction the comment s have the ring of truth about them.
The first one made me think once again how much thankfulness and gratitude should be part of a marriage. Your spouse needs to know that they are appreciated – that what they do is good enough, not that you are always disappointed and expecting them to do more or to do something else.
Lack of appreciation is a killer when it comes to marriage. When a person goes out looking for an affair it is largely because they feel neglected or not appreciated at home. If they were fulfilled and happy at home, then they wouldn’t feel the need to have to prove themselves and find someone else.
There was another comment that struck me too and although in this novel it was talking about the relationship between the sisters and the fact that Meg feels her sister is making a mistake marrying the man she is planning to, the comment could just as easily apply to a marriage. ‘Sometimes love means trusting people to make their own decisions. In other words, shutting up,’ her counselor tells her.
Sometimes in marriage we just need to button our lip and trust our spouse to make the right decision and not be critical if they don’t do what we would have done. Sometimes we just need to bite back the quick retort or the angry words until we’ve stopped and thought it through. You might just decide not to say them at all.