Is it possible to stay in your marriage through thick and thin without losing a part of who you truly are? How do you stop from building inner resentments over the years for all of those little things that we all have to give up or compromise on? Can it be done, and both of you remain committed, whole, unique and happy?
The #1 rule in the worlds of spiritual guidance, psychological guidance and marriage counselling is that unions succeed because they focus on the success of the union first and foremost. In other words, the most important question is always supposed to be “Is this good for us as a couple?” This doctrine, of course, presumes that what is good for the couple or marriage will equal a successful and happy marriage and consequently two happy partners.
Not that long ago what was good for the marriage meant that the woman gave up herself and any independent life so that she become the marriage’s “keeper.” Yes, our divorce rate was a lot lower than it is now, but was everyone happy? In a sense they were. The woman was happy because she was fulfilling her role and succeeding at her “job.” The man was happy because he was also filling his role of patriarch and breadwinner and fulfilling his “job.” There can be a lot said for job satisfaction and a feeling of self-satisfaction and happiness.
In turn, many people take the vow of matrimony very seriously and truly live by the belief of “for better or worse.” By fulfilling a vow that is so important to them at their very core then they too are also happy to be able to stand tall and be proud of the person they are.
In other words, what we deeply believe and or are determined to strive for usually dictates whether or not we say we have succeeded in finding happiness or not. However, your idea of happiness may very well not be mine. This is where the problems start.
Society, particularly western society has changed dramatically. We are now very much a “me” society and it’s getting more so each generation. Trying to fit “me” into an “us” exclusively is an obvious problem. Our horrible divorce rates are the indicator of this problem.
So back to the question, can you stay happily married forever without losing part of yourself or having inner resentments? No, not as we are today if we continue to try and do it thinking as a “me” within a partnership that requires a goal of ‘us.”
Here is a personal interjection. I have been legally married for 27 years. For me the vow I took to marry my husband for better or worse before God was a vow forever. However, I live here today in today’s society where I was brought up and offered a world of opportunity to be “me.” A unique whole person with interests, career goals, and life plans.
My husband and I were very happy and able to combine our lives and ourselves for at least 10 years. Then due to life circumstances we had to make some fairly big changes in the interest of “the” marriage. I was the one who made the most dramatic changes in my life. It was the “logical” decision.
In retrospect, I see how these changes caused me to lose “me.” By that I mean my life no longer took into account the person who I innately was, including my attributes, strengths, goals, dreams and also my weaker points. The result, unfortunately, was that after 27 years we are separated, pending a divorce.
Neither of “us” won or are happy, although technically we managed to stay married for a long time.
What I’m trying to offer to this article is the point that happiness can indeed be found in long-term commitment and marriage IF you’re both going into it with exactly the same focus and commitment. However, if you’re trying to do it within today’s society the odds are stacked up against you.
For example, we currently have a false equality in our society. Unfortunately, it is often presumed that women should be first to make life changes and or somehow “naturally” be able to take on particular roles. This standard is almost a setup for unhappiness and dissatisfaction that can affect the whole marriage.
No one thing can change in a variable without impacting the whole.
As I have already alluded to, [bctt tweet=”BOTH of you must at all times focus on and allow room for BOTH of your personalities, attributes, goals, and needs.” username=”surprisinglives”]
It is very true that happy and successful marriages are based on a MUTUAL happiness.
Good luck to everyone in their quest for a happily committed and equal marriage.