A Beautiful Foundation
What is your strategy for creating a beautiful marriage, a beautiful life together? Take it from someone who’s been around a while, it takes more than love. Love may make the world go round but whose music are you dancing to and how do you keep the merry-go-round running smoothly?
You enter your marriage with the greatest of intentions and hopes for your life together. You bring your best self to the table. What you may not realize is that we all have undiscovered assumptions and beliefs. All our desires and opinions are filtered through our belief system (stemming from childhood, parents, teachers, religion). The more time we spend together, the more stressors life throws at us, the more these assumptions begin to show up. Beliefs around family, money, sex, parenting, career goals, saving, spending, community, friendships, home location and style, holidays, spiritual life - the list goes on and on.
There will always be disagreements and breakdowns as life unfolds. In order to create a beautiful marriage, you must make the commitment to own the decisions and actions that produce such a marriage. You want your life to be based on mutual respect for not only who your spouse is, but also who they are becoming. Times change, humans change and grow; and our commitment changes as we do. What should never change is our commitment to act with compassion and kindness towards our partner. Commit to having honest, yet respectful conversations. Commit to talk things through without shame or blame. Remind yourself to look beyond the current disagreement for the qualities you so love in your partner.
Here are some suggestions for having loving conversations. First take the time to formulate your own ideas and feelings about a topic. Why is it important? Then set aside time to discuss – no phones or other distractions. Decide who talks first. The listener listens carefully (not interrupting for any reason), holding a safe space for your partner to express. Then validate his or her words and feelings before you express your own thoughts. Think carefully about your response before speaking; separating what your partner said from what you are feeling.
These conversations will not only reveal your thoughts and beliefs around a topic, but who you are as a person and who you are to each other. Your role is to understand your partner’s point of view and to find a workable solution, not to be right or to win or to force your point of view. This strategy applies to all stages of a marriage.
Who you are as a person and how you show up in relationship to your partner is what will make or break your life together. Marriage can be an unending expansion of both the ‘I’ and the ‘we’ – make it a beautiful one. Commit to acting with loving kindness always.