Within the past 7.5 years, I have learned a lot about not only how I can improve my marriage as a whole, but about myself as an individual—what I can work on personally and bring into my relationship with my husband.
We all have strengths and weaknesses. One of the wonderful aspects of marriage is that often times our weaknesses are our spouse’s strengths, and vice versa. A couple can compliment each other through the specialization of talents. Although a husband and wife may typically perform their divine roles—provider versus nurturer, each person also has specific abilities, strengths, and interests to help with their marriage and raising a family. Through this form of teamwork the marriage is strengthened.
There have been so many times where I have felt personally weak in my marriage in terms of personality—in comparison to my husband who is very confident, patient, and strong. Emotionally, I feel that I have relied heavily on his strength to make up for what I lack. Despite such dependency, I try to tell myself that I do have strengths (and my husband kindly reminds me of them). Without me fulfilling my role as a wife and mother, certain tasks would not get done.
Because I care about the relationship I have with my husband, I make sure that I am doing my best to nurture my fondness and admiration for him, as well as express my love in small and simple ways each day through the "five languages of love." Of course, I make mistakes; however, I feel that my strength of genuine love towards others and my desire to please them has a positive impact on my relationships with others, particularly that of my marriage.
My desire to have harmonious relationships has also instilled in me a need to solve my solvable problems with a forgiving attitude. This strength has had an impact on my marriage in that “positive sentiment override” kicks in whenever my husband and I get in an argument, and we are quick to kiss and make up.
Important Lessons Learned
An important lesson I have learned and am continuing to learn, is that my husband and I have very different needs and that it’s important that we be aware of those needs—as well as do our best to satisfy them (that is, to know and interact in the right "love language(s)"). However, at the same time, in the end, I believe it is up to us as individuals to meet our own needs. We can't depend on or be responsible for each other's happiness. My husband has half-jokingly said, "just have low expectations, and then you won't be disappointed." We need to learn to love ourselves first (something that is very difficult for me). This enables us to better love and serve others. So, instead of being your spouse's "other half," work on being "whole." Because, when you work on yourself, and improve as an individual--you will automatically strengthen your marriage as a couple.
I have also come to learn that my husband and I cope with stress and manage conflict differently. The psychological differences between males and females is one thing—and then the personality differences between my husband and I on top of that, has caused a lot of misinterpretation in our interactions. I have learned that I need to choose to not be offended and to strive to not be defensive. I’m a sensitive person and often perceive or interpret comments made by my husband differently than his intentions. I am also trying to be better about communicating my expectations.
Marriage takes work and it is the small and simple things each day of nurturing our fondness and admiration for our spouse, serving one another, and seeking to understand one another, that helps us to have a happy marriage. I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and my faith has had a huge impact on my marriage. I have learned that through our diligence in applying the principles of obedience, sacrifice, humility, faith, repentance, purity, consecration, and charity in marriage--we can find happiness and "draw heaven into our marriage."
I know that faith in Christ strengthens marriage, and when we put the Lord first, everything will fall into place. There is always something we can work on and improve in our journey of becoming the best we can be—all that Heavenly Father desires us to become. This includes striving to be the best husband or wife we possibly can.