Getting married is one of the greatest steps a human being can take in his life. But, unfortunately, many people live the reality of a frustrating marriage. Even among Christians, the problems of spousal fights, domestic violence and divorce have become increasingly common.
I work doing talks for couples, couples therapies, in addition to individual consultations to spouses who are suffering emotionally. Last year, in the article «Until the marriage separates us», I shared some of the biggest secrets of happy couples. Today I want to share with you one more suggestion to help you have a happy marriage.
Get to know yourself and your spouse better
If I asked you what is the person in this world who knows the most about your husband, his wife, what would you answer me?
Spouses are usually the people who know each other best, but it does not mean that they know each other enough. In most cases, we know the other from ourselves. We read about the habits and customs of the other, their personality and their character, from our view of the world, our personal beliefs. In the next video, I give a practical example of that:
Understanding the other from ourselves is absolutely normal, but to overcome marital crisis more than that is needed. In reality, it is often the root of conjugal conflicts. It is necessary to know the other from his way of seeing things, their culture, their beliefs. That is challenging.
In the therapeutic process, we help marriages do that. For example, what does your husband’s behavior mean to leave the shoe in the middle of the house instead of putting it in the shoe rack? Or what does your wife’s behavior mean for you to tell you where you should leave your coat hanging or your shoe?
Nine years ago, when Marquinhos and I got married, our differences were gigantic. We had grown up in different regions of Brazil, with different crianzas and, although we had many things in common, the differences became very evident since the wedding party ended.
For example, he used to get home, take off his shoes and leave them anywhere. And I, whenever I saw the shoe in the middle of the road, I asked him to keep it in his place. And although it was something small, we both got very angry in those circumstances. Why? Because some of our values were being violated.
Rules, beliefs and values
We all have rules, beliefs and values. And when they hurt us in those rules or beliefs, that makes us uncomfortable. But when a value is violated, that really moves us.
Marquinhos has a value called freedom, and I have a value called organization. When he left his shoes in the middle of the house, it hurt my organizational value; and when I called his attention, it hurt his value of freedom. And both hated each other because values are part of the set of things that are most important to us.
Understanding that was essential to solve the discomfort we felt on those occasions and live well with our differences. And that is just an example of something small that can profoundly affect a conjugal relationship.
Some women get angry or feel hurt because they interpret that their husbands’ actions are disrespectful, lack of collaboration, lack of love. And many husbands do the same, when in reality, what they needed was to allow themselves to understand what that behavior meant to the other person.
What does the shoe mean for those who leave it there? What dignifies the request to keep the shoe for who does it? When we know the rules, beliefs and, mainly, the values of our spouse, many things become lighter in the relationship. Many times, the meaning of their actions change completely and, instead of generating discontent or conflict, they become something with which we can coexist more calmly.
After nine years of marriage, I still keep, almost every day, the shoes in the shoemaker. Eventually, he remembers and saves them alone. But that does not produce any negative feelings in me. Knowing their values and the values of the other has changed the conjugal relationship of other people we serve. And that can help you have a happy marriage to you too.