Stop Sabotaging Your Marriage
The summer before my wife and I got married, I received a transfer for work to the city where she was going to be studying. It was great, after two years of a long distance relationship, we were finally in the same city.
While on a budget, we wanted to create opportunities to spend quality time together without racking up recurring expenses. I had grown to love running, so we joined a gym.
I was at the gym a few months ago and was idly watching one of the multiple televisions in the gym. I didn’t choose the channel, but a program came on that featured Rachel Ray doing a talk show. I’d look up the title, but I don’t want to waste my time. Anyways, on that particular episode, Rachel had Joy Behar on as a guest. The opening segment of that particular episode featured Rachel and Joy giving marriage advice.
“Great,” I thought, “this will be entertaining.” The first couple on was having a money fight. Not too uncommon in our time, unfortunately, but both Rachel and Joy were supremely confident that they could solve the issue right there. The wife had a complaint. She and her husband kept their finances separate and paid their “fair share” on the bills, but the wife was now mad at the husband. The husband made more money than the wife, and the wife wanted him to put more money into their joint savings account. There was some chatter, and Joy decided to illustrate a point. She said, roughly, that they wanted to keep their money separate so that she could go and get a manicure and not ask for money and he could buy his pornography and not have to ask for money. The crowd and Rachel busted into laughter. I did not.
It was in that moment that I realized why we have so many failed marriages in our country. It is for no other reason that we spend most of our time sabotaging our marriages. We put ourselves in positions that naturally lead to conflict. We set up our finances in secret literally ensuring that we will fight about it. Then, we grow envious of our spouse for making more money and then blaming them for the envy. We make major purchases without asking for wise counsel. We hang out with our friends after work and don’t call home. We put ourselves in potentially compromising positions with co-workers of the opposite sex. We treat pornography like it is harmless, almost to the point where we declare it a badge of honor or right of passage. It’s not that we’re stupid, naive, or oblivious. It’s that we focus on our needs first, and then those of our spouse.
What if we didn’t spend all of our time continuing to exhibit the behaviors that annoy our spouses? What if we asked them what idiosyncrasies we demonstrate that really annoy them and try to play them down? What if we gave ourselves fully over to our spouses and not tried to keep our lives separate?