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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