Marriage- The “give and take” fallacyAdeshola Ezeokoli
In marriages today, after the initial “honeymoon” excitement has worn off, people can start to get selfish. Where they once lived to please the other person, now it’s just a case of, “Well you aren’t meeting my needs”; or “I’ll do this when you do that”; or “I will submit to him when he loves me the way I want to be loved”. What I call The Give And Take Fallacy comes into play. This is where spouses decide that they will only give if they are getting in return.
The truth is, that attitude is a marriage killer. Marriage vows are not conditional upon the behavior of your spouse. Now, the scope of this piece does not cover extreme cases such as abuse( of any kind), mental health disorders, substance abuse, infidelity, and issues in which professional help needs to be sought. This is more about the day to day little things that if not taken care of can lead to frustration, resentment and a joyless marriage.
1. It does not matter if they deserve it: So your husband forgets your birthday and you withhold sex. Right? Wrong! Your wife burns your dinner and you give her the silent treatment. Fair? Not fair! Your husband doesn’t tell you he loves you three months in a row. What do you do? Keep being your ever loving self! What! What about my needs? Here is the answer: Keep being good to your spouse even at times when you feel like they don’t “deserve” it. Do it with a good attitude too. Why? Because that is the only way that things will turn around. Your spouse will respond better to your loving actions than your unloving ones. Your spouse will respond much better to being treated nicely than being treated with disdain. The bottom line is this: True love is a commitment not a feeling. When the initial passion wears off and loving actions do not come so easily, remember that it is not about wether they deserve it or not. It is about you keeping the commandment of God to love and seeing what you want come to pass in your marriage, not by nagging, criticizing, complaining, demanding or withholding love; but by being patient, kind, giving, and totally sold out to meeting the needs of your spouse.
2. Communication: I can sense the next question: What if they take me for granted? This brings me to this point. Communicate to your spouse, in a way that they will hear and respond, what you feel the issues are. Notice that I did not say: “Tell them how you feel” or “Get it all off your chest” or “Tell ’em like it is”. Communicate to YOUR spouse in a way that HE/SHE will hear and respond. How do I know how they will hear? That is for you to find out. Here are some general ideas. Don’t shout, nag, rant or inject a contemptuous tone into your voice. Avoid phrases like “you never” “you always”, “why don’t you just”. Don’t try to “talk” during the game. Don’t try to “talk” during her time-of-the-month. Don’t try to talk when someone is walking through the door. If you know your spouse in crabby in the mornings don’t bother.
An example is as follows: “Remember how we used to go for a walk every week. It would be great if we could start doing that again. It makes me feel more connected to you”.
A BAD way of saying the same thing would be: “You are too busy for me. We don’t even go for walks like we used to. You’ve become boring. I wonder if you love me more than that job of yours”.
It is easy to see which of these would get a positive response.
Read my post on communication:
Say It Right
Watch out for the next segment of this write-up, I will talk about reality checks.