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By now, I’m sure most of you have read Seth Adam’s viral post “Marriage Isn’t for you.” For those who haven’t, the article is about Seth’s realization that marriage isn’t for him, it is for his wife. It is a very sweet loving article about marriage being about the other person. I’m sure like me you’ve also read a variety of rebuttals that feel he is simplify the issues and forgetting about all the negative stuff that can happen in marriage if you always make it about the other person.
Personally I think both sides are right. For me, it is all about finding the middle ground. There are times in marriage when you have to be selfish, but there are also times that call for complete selflessness. It is couple who find that balance who have the happy marriages the rest of us dream of attaining.
A successful marriage calls for unconditional love and acceptance from both parties. It is when the balance between wants and needs becomes skewed to one side that problems occur. I’ve seen it happen to friends over and over again. Once someone becomes selfish and habitually puts their needs first the marriage is doomed for failure.
I’m not an expert in marriage. I think my parent qualify as experts though. They have the type of rock solid relationship that has stood the test of time. I think for them it comes down to a willingness to sacrifice for each other.
I’ve watched my Dad time and time put my mother first. I’ve watched him open car doors and always treat her like a lady. I’ve watched him gently touch her with so much love and respect. I’ve heard him praise her over and over again. I’ve never once heard him say anything slightly negative about my mom, or even about women in general. I’ve also watched him yearly give my mom a shovel, ax or pitchfork for Christmas each year and seen the laugher in her eyes. My Dad is a true gentleman (although not much of a gift giver).
I’ve watched my Mom support and love my Dad unconditionally through the good and bad times. I’ve watched her annually spend her summers at our family ranch so that my Dad isn’t out there alone. To this day she’ll still hop on a horse and herd cattle if my brothers can’t help. I’ve watched her get up early to pack him a lunch each day. I’ve watched her care for his mother like her own. Most importantly I’ve never heard her say anything negative about my Dad.
I’ve watched as my parents got up early Saturday morning to go grocery shopping together. When you are raising 6 kids – grocery shopping becomes your ideal date. I’ve watched them attend church together every single Sunday without fail. I’ve watched them read together, laugh together, walk together and pray together. Are they perfect no, but they are perfect together because they respect and love one another enough to find the balance between their wants and needs.
I don’t know exactly how they managed to do it over the years. In my childlike eyes their marriage always seemed perfect. I never saw them fight or even raise their voice to each other. They always seemed in agreement when it came to dealing with us kids and there was never the option of pitting them against each other to get something we wanted. It just didn’t work with my parents.
I honestly don’t know exactly how they did it, but what I do know is I want those same characteristics in my marriage. So for me, I’ll follow their example and hope for the best. Does that mean Aaron and I will always agree. No – I’m not my parents.
I’m sure that Aaron and I will make stupid decision and hurt one another through thoughtless words and actions. What I can commit myself to is never intentionally hurting him. I can commit myself to loving him unconditionally.
My parent both love themselves and are happy with who they are. I firmly believe that in order to love someone fully you must be able to love yourself. So, I also commit myself to loving myself – which is where that little bit of selfishness needs to come in. I commit to taking time for myself and letting him do the same – In all honesty I’m fine skipping out on the bow hunting trip anyway.
I commit to keep doing the things that make me unique and made him fall in love with me. I commit to staying a semi-palatable cook and horrible driver. I commit to keep rock climbing, hiking and canyoneering. I commit to constantly leave clothing in the washing machine. I commit to keep reading and staying abreast of politics so we can have our “little” discussions. I commit to let him take care of all car and home maintenance – trust me when I say that is a good decision. Most importantly, I commit to constantly strive to be better.
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