MARRIAGE- The “give and take” fallacy 3

What I call the “give and take” fallacy is the thinking that your spouse has to “just know” what you need without you having to communicate. It is the feeling that your spouse will be always perfect and if they are not, you can withdraw your love. In the concluding part of the write-up I will be talking about not frustrating your spouse and not building things up in your mind. Read on.

1. Do not frustrate your spouse: Yes, we know you are a flawed, imperfect human being, but that does not mean you cannot change. If you are Mr. Slob and you married Miss Neat Freak(you probably would not have married her otherwise), you can make an effort to pick up after yourself, it will not hurt your pride if you pick your wet towel off the bed. If you leave the toilet seat up and your spouse does not like it, make a mental note to start putting it down. If you know your husband does not like beans but you love them, stop serving them to him. When you frustrate your spouse continually, he/she can start to distance him/herself from the frustrating behavior, eventually distancing themselves from you.As you can see, from here walls can start to come up in your marriage and down the line the marriage can break up!
Do not frustrate your spouse by not making an effort to change behaviors that they do not like.

Avoid building things up in your mind: Let me give an example from my own life. My husband came home from work one day, and dropped his keys on the air conditioning unit. No big deal, right ? Here is the backstory. I was a housewife at the time and pretty much all had to do the whole the whole day was clean, cook and try to decorate our home. On that day, I had just put some little curios on the air conditioning unit(because I felt it looked rather bare), to decorate it. When those keys hit the unit, I thought to myself: “Look at that! Not only did he not notice/verbalize the fact that I worked hard to make the house look nice, he threw his keys on my work. He doesn’t even notice anything I do around here. Does he think I am his slave? If he really cared about me he would appreciate what I do around here. If he really loved me and appreciated me, he wouldn’t just toss his keys anywhere, he’s so ungrateful, etc, etc”. Unfortunately or fortunately( 🙂 ) I did not mention this to him but I carried the “he doesn’t love me” phrase in my head and I was angry for days! All that the man did was to put his keys down! Do you see what I mean, friends? Your spouse is not your enemy. Not everything your spouse does or says has a deeper meaning behind it. Do not immediately jump to wrong conclusions over innocuous things.

Well, this concludes this three part series. Hope it helps someone’s marriage improve.
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Have a blessed one!

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MARRIAGE- The “give and take” fallacy 2

In part one, I talked about loving your spouse wether you felt they deserved it or not. I also talked about communication( with a link to a previous article on communication). Today I will be writing about a couple of things which will serve as reality checks on this journey called marriage.
When we “fall in love”, our spouse can do no wrong and we are so attuned to each other, perfect for each other, finish each others’ sentences, blah, blah, blah, ad nauseum. After being married a few months to years we realize that our idol indeed has feet of clay! Our spouse falls from the pedestal of perfection that we once put them on, as we discover their faults, foibles and failings. Realize these two things:

1. Your spouse will irritate you: Yes, they will sometimes annoy you no end, irritate you like an itchy rash; and infuriate you beyond words. That sounds pessimistic! Well it is true. If you are married you would have had fights; you will know that two people, no matter how in-love they are, sometimes disagree. Sometimes people have habits that are annoying to the other person, for no other reason than the person is different. Do not take your spouse’s age old bad habits( throwing socks on the floor, squeezing toothpaste from the middle, leaving soap on the bathroom walls, not flushing the toilet, belching loudly, picking their nose, scratching, talking loudly, losing their keys, untidiness) as a personal attack or a sign that they do not love you. It is not. It is just them. They were like that before you married them, but your rose-colored spectacles were still on and now, you have taken them off! If you go into marriage thinking you will never have a fight, you are wrong. If you are married and your spouse has not annoyed you yet, you are probably still at your honeymoon. 😀
Bottom line is, your wife/husband will do things you don’t like and you can let them know(NICELY) what the issue is. This takes me to my next point.

2. “If you really loved me, I would not have to tell you…..” Hold it right there! So, some people( mostly ladies) think that if their husbands loved them, they(husband ) would automatically know the wife’s needs without having to be told. I used to think that way myself ( 🙂 ). For some reason I thought that if my husband loved me as much as he claimed to, that I would not have to ask him to help with the dishes, or pick up his socks, or take me out to dinner. “He should just know”, I thought. How erroneous! You still have to talk. You still have to be vocal about what your needs are. If someone does not even know what you want from them, how can they do it for you/ give it to you? Now the usual countering argument to this is that, “if I have to tell them, then want is the point? If I have to tell my husband to take me out to dinner, then it doesn’t feel like he wants to”. My answer to that is “Says who?” This may seem like a good argument on the face of it, but it is all Hollywood, friends. The counter argument would be that since both parties are working together for the common good of the marriage, it doesn’t matter who suggests date night, or who buys the flowers for who, or wether you ask your hubby to wash the dishes or put the children to bed. Remember, however that asking is meant to be as a request and NOT a demand.
Please do not assume that loving you ascribes omniscience to your spouse.

Watch out for the concluding segment of The Give and Take Fallacy

Related links:
What’s love go to do with it?
Marriage-The give and take fallacy

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Marriage-The “give and take” fallacy

In marriages today, after the initial “honeymoon” excitement has worn off, people can start to get selfish. Where they once lived to please the other person, now it’s just a case of, “Well you aren’t meeting my needs”; or “I’ll do this when you do that”; or “I will submit to him when he loves me the way I want to be loved”. What I call The Give And Take Fallacy comes into play. This is where spouses decide that they will only give if they are getting in return.
The truth is, that attitude is a marriage killer. Marriage vows are not conditional upon the behavior of your spouse. Now, the scope of this piece does not cover extreme cases such as abuse( of any kind), mental health disorders, substance abuse, infidelity, and issues in which professional help needs to be sought. This is more about the day to day little things that if not taken care of can lead to frustration, resentment and a joyless marriage.

1. It does not matter if they deserve it: So your husband forgets your birthday and you withhold sex. Right? Wrong! Your wife burns your dinner and you give her the silent treatment. Fair? Not fair! Your husband doesn’t tell you he loves you three months in a row. What do you do? Keep being your ever loving self! What! What about my needs? Here is the answer: Keep being good to your spouse even at times when you feel like they don’t “deserve” it. Do it with a good attitude too. Why? Because that is the only way that things will turn around. Your spouse will respond better to your loving actions than your unloving ones. Your spouse will respond much better to being treated nicely than being treated with disdain. The bottom line is this: True love is a commitment not a feeling. When the initial passion wears off and loving actions do not come so easily, remember that it is not about wether they deserve it or not. It is about you keeping the commandment of God to love and seeing what you want come to pass in your marriage, not by nagging, criticizing, complaining, demanding or withholding love; but by being patient, kind, giving, and totally sold out to meeting the needs of your spouse.

2. Communication: I can sense the next question: What if they take me for granted? This brings me to this point. Communicate to your spouse, in a way that they will hear and respond, what you feel the issues are. Notice that I did not say: “Tell them how you feel” or “Get it all off your chest” or “Tell ’em like it is”. Communicate to YOUR spouse in a way that HE/SHE will hear and respond. How do I know how they will hear? That is for you to find out. Here are some general ideas. Don’t shout, nag, rant or inject a contemptuous tone into your voice. Avoid phrases like “you never” “you always”, “why don’t you just”. Don’t try to “talk” during the game. Don’t try to “talk” during her time-of-the-month. Don’t try to talk when someone is walking in through the door. If you know your spouse in crabby in the mornings don’t bother.
An example is as follows: “Remember how we used to go for a walk every week? It would be great if we could start doing that again. It makes me feel more connected to you”.
A BAD way of saying the same thing would be: “You are too busy for me. We don’t even go for walks like we used to. You’ve become boring. I wonder if you love me more than that job of yours”.

It is easy to see which of these would get a positive response.

Read my post on communication:
Saying It Right

Watch out for the next segment of this write-up.

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LIFE IN BALANCE-Mr Right or Mr Wrong

Ladies!
There is no doubt a greater societal pressure on women to hook up, get married, get hitched, or whatever you want to call it. Before you go shopping for that wedding dress that you have had your eyes on for the last x number of years; before you fall head over heels in love; before the voice common sense is drowned out by the flapping wings of the butterflies in your stomach, ask yourself this:

Is he Mr Right or Mr Wrong?
Signs of Mr Wrong-
1. Mistreats his mother: If he has no respect or regard for his mother, he is not the man for you. If he speaks badly about his mother, does not render her needed help, talks rudely to her, her does not respect women. Soon, you will be the object of disdain too. Of course, this is not to say that they do not have disagreements, but even while disagreeing with his mom, there should still be respect.

2. Is a mama’s boy: On the flip side, if everything you discuss is relayed back to Mama for her stamp of approval; if he cannot stand by his decisions until he has had his mother’s input, run. You are getting ready to have your marriage remote controlled by Mama. This is not to say that he cannot say anything to his mother, but a man has to be able to stand on his own two feet, in the areas of decision making and problem solving

3. Different religious beliefs: So, the Bible speaks against Christians marrying non-Christians. However, even from a common sense point of view, if you have religious beliefs that your partner does not share, that opens the door for conflict down the line if you try to follow the tenets of your religion that he does not believe in. No one should pull you away from God.

4. No steady job: No job, no plans to get a job; no business, no plans to start one; not in school, not planning to go to school;a “runs” guy( my Nigerian friends know what I mean); no source of income per se. Now, people fall on hard times and yes, a man might want to start a relationship with you, who has been laid off work. That does not mean you should not give him a chance. There is however a difference between someone who is looking for a means of income and someone who is not.

5. Controlling, jealous, bullying, suspicious: More loving is not the answer to a man who has problems with insecurity. If your Mr. Right has to know right down to the smallest detail, your every move, he may be Mr. Wrong. If you cannot so much as smile at another man without getting his dander up, watch out. If you are continually hearing: if you love me, you would do this; or if you really love me, you won’t talk to that person, take a step back from the subtle manipulation. If he claims to be “protective” but is really just suspicious of you, thinking you are up to no good, even in the most innocuous situations,run for the hills and don’t look back.

6. Beatings: You would think that no woman would get married to a guy who flies into a rage and “pounds her flesh in”. You would be wrong. People do it everyday. Why? There is no one answer. Whatever the reason, run for your life. Now, I am not talking about two people fighting, I am talking about a situation where a woman is beaten up by her man. Logically speaking, ladies, the chances that you will overpower a man are slim to none. The chances that you will win him over, are also slim to none.The chances that beatings will escalate once you marry the dude are pretty high. So do yourself a favor and run for your life!

7.Liar: He lies. It calls into question his integrity; it calls into question everything he has ever said and everything he will ever say. Watch yourself with him. “Where were you?” “At work”. Then you find he was at the club with the boys. “Who is she?” “My play sister”. The you find out she was an ex girlfriend. It makes you wonder, what next?

This list is by no means exhaustive, neither is it a substitute for relationship counseling and mentoring. In the “search” for Mr Right, it is prudent not to get carried away by feelings and appearances; but to sit back and take a good hard look at thing that could be signs of serious character flaws.

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We walked down the aisle

We walked down the aisle.

We walked down the aisle

Tomorrow is our wedding anniversary 😀 and I decided to write this poem in honor of my husband and our marriage.
Enjoy!

We walked down the aisle
Years ago

That gray morning
Hearts skipped a beat
As we looked into the pools
That were each others’ eyes

“Lawful wedded wife”
“I do”
“For better, for worse”
“In sickness and in health”
“Let not man put asunder”

These words once said
Still true today
Veracity and meaning
Unchanged over the years

Battles fought and won
Babies born and grown
People come and gone
Life marching on

We walked down the aisle
Years ago

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What’s “love” got to do with it?

Apparently nothing.
What?
Popular media, popular songs and Hollywood would have us believe that love is a feeling of attraction towards someone that mysteriously comes and can mysteriously disappear. This “love” is not enough to sustain a marriage.
That is why after that initial rush has faded, people fall into thinking they do not love each other anymore! This is wrong. Feelings come and go and to a great extent, one cannot base ones life off of them. This is where people either separate and divorce or settle for a humdrum boring marriage. People have affairs trying to recapture the “love”, the buzz, the sparkle. Divorce rates are at an all time high and it is entirely possible that a good number of these would not have happened if people were not following their feelings.

1. Feelings come and go, but true love stands the test of time: We all know that. Today you are happy , tomorrow sad, the next day you don’t feel like going to work. Do you act on your feelings every single time they occur? No. Then do not fall into the temptation of thinking your marriage is not working because the butterflies in your stomach flew out! 🙂

2. You can change and control your feelings: You can change your feelings with your thoughts and your words. If you draw on memories that produce feelings, the feelings will return. Let me give an example. Cast your mind back to the memory of your first date. How did that make you feel? Exactly, you felt the way you felt that day: you are probably smiling sheepishly now! 🙂
Telling your spouse “I love you” even if you have not said or heard it in a while will make you feel different. Am I saying that this is instant? No it is not, and it depends on how long you have let your marriage lie fallow. The longer it has been, the longer it may take for the passion to be renewed.

3. What you feed grows, what you starve dies: The more you concentrate on a feeling or emotion, the stronger it gets. The more you disregard a feeling or emotion, the weaker it gets. When people take their love for granted they stop feeding it with all the things they were doing that made them feel loving. For example, man stops buying her flowers, therefore woman lets herself go( or vice versa). That is starving their feelings for each other. Keep doing the things your “feelings” made you do and the “feelings” will return.

4. Avoid distractions: If you have a husband or wife, stop looking at others and fantasizing about what your life would be with them. This will take away the time, love, and energy that you should be putting into your relationship, thus killing your marriage and setting the stage for affairs.

5. Evaluate, evaluate, evaluate: Do not wait until your marriage is gasping for air like a landed fish before you evaluate your relationship with your spouse. Have regular times when you can talk about your marriage and the things you need to be working on to keep things fresh and vibrant.

Well, here it is friends. I pray that as you read this your marriages will be strengthened and your love will grow stronger everyday.

🙂

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