Sunday, October 23, 2011
On Being Married....
I have book club this week. The book that was selected for the month by Angela, our resident editor, was a true break from the norm. Rather than a novel, she picked a book about marriage. A self-help book maybe, I'm really not sure. The book is titled, Passionate Marriage (by David Snarch) and as the title implies, the book was a bit of an "exotic" book to read. Especially for a girl like me, who when it comes right down to it, is a bit of a prude - uncomfortable watching movie kissing (even by cartoons) and doesn't necessarily use the word passionate to describe much of anything.
Anyway, the gist of the book is to talk about something called, "differentiation," or how good you are at being an individual in a relationship with your spouse. The more differentiated you are, according to Dr. Snarch, the better relationship you'll have in all aspects of your married life, if you get my drift (it is called passionate for a reason).
Are you a partner who does things his/her best interest (stand up for your values, be true to yourself and your beliefs, etc.) to make you a good person in return motivating your partner to be a good person and to both treat each other with love and kindness and respect? Or, are you "emotionally fused" to each other and so dependent upon the other's acceptance, permission, opinions that you lose yourself in your relationship and end up just being angry at everything (and everyone)? Or, are you somewhere in the middle, just getting by but not really creating a long lasting friendship and relationship with the person you've chosen to spend the rest of your life with?
It's of course, a lot more complicated than I've laid out in a paragraph - and getting along with your spouse is much more complicated than a book could ever detail. But the basic ideas of 1) how you were raised directly impacts how you treat your spouse and 2) the strengths and weaknesses you bring into your relationship need to be constantly evaluated and evolve over time and 3) it takes A LOT OF WORK to be happily married and have a fulfilled and lasting relationship are things that any couple could benefit from a little time exploring.
So, I read the book. It was a bit too graphic for me in the passion department, but the ideas put forward about marriage and responsibility really opened my eyes. I decided to make Ross read the book and in the last week or so as he's been reading it, we've had some really great discussions about life, love, our marriage, and how we treat each other on a daily basis. More importantly however, what we can do to make our marriage better. It's been eye opening and inspiring.
I love my husband. I love that he listens to me (when he's not watching football) and that he treats me with respect. I love that he takes the full responsibility of providing for us financially and that he appreciates me and what I do at home with the little monsters. I love that he's a good dad and that he spends so much time with his boys. I know that there are times, more frequent than they should be, when we take each other for granted. But, it make me happy to know that we really do have each others' best interests at heart and that we know that we need to be constantly working on our relationship and continue to become better friends and partners in our lives. We are after all, in this for eternity, so the more time we spend figuring all this marriage stuff out now can only benefit us down the road.