by Gladys Diaz
As a dating and relationship coach, I make a conscious effort every day to practice what I teach in my workshops, write about in my blog, and work through with my clients. It’s a daily commitment I’ve made to myself, my husband, and the women who depend on me to help them through some of the most difficult moments of their lives.
I remember when I first started making changes. Many times I felt mentally exhausted! It was as if I had to stop myself from completing a sentence repeatedly, because what I was about to say was condescending and disrespectful to my husband. I would have to really stop and think before saying something to make sure I wasn’t being manipulative or trying to get my way by using guilt, ultimatums, or demands, which were my preferred methods of making sure I got what I wanted. And I had to be hyper-vigilant about looking for reasons to express my gratitude or admiration to because I’d previously spent so much time focusing on what my husband wasn’t doing right or not “right enough.”
There were times when I wondered whether making all of these changes was worth the effort and whether he was even noticing the changes I was trying so hard to make. Part of me wanted to ask him, “Hey, have you noticed how nice I’m being to you now?” or “Did you see how I supported your decision, without giving you the 10 reasons that were in my head regarding how it just wouldn’t work?” or “Could you just throw me a bone and say something that lets me know you’re noticing that I’m really trying to make this work?”
I’m human, and my humanity was craving some acknowledgement or affirmation that the changes I was making were being noticed… and that they were working. But I didn’t say any of those things. I didn’t want his acknowledgment unless it came from him without it being coerced. I didn’t want to sabotage my efforts by announcing all of the incredible the changes I was making, because I also knew there were moments when I slipped back into past patterns and behaviors.
So I just kept changing – choosing to change – day after day. And it became easier. And I began to realize that, while I really wanted to take my marriage to a new level, I was making all of these changes for me. So, it really didn’t matter if he noticed or said anything. I was changing, growing, becoming more peaceful. And, to me, it was worth all of the effort.
Today I can honestly say that I rarely feel that mental exhaustion of having to think about what I am going to say or do ten times before I actually speak or act. I can say that respect flows much more easily from my mind to my mouth. And I can say that I have the type of marriage I always dreamed of – Actually, it’s even better than I imagined it could be!
And I also have to say that I’m not “perfect.” There are days when I tell him what he should do or say to someone at work, rather than trusting that he’s capable enough to handle the situation himself. There are times when I frantically go to from store to store looking for the shirt I think he’s not going to go buy, instead of trusting that he can handle it himself. There are nights when I snap at him if I’m overly tired and haven’t practiced good self-care that day (or in several days). There are moments when I just want my own way, and I get it, not thinking about whether it’s worth the intimacy it is going to cost me.
Nope. I’m not perfect by any means.
The good news is that having a happy marriage is NOT about perfection. Thank goodness, right?
It’s not about always saying and doing the “right” things. It’s not about never making a mistake. It’s not about always having the right answers. It’s not about never having to apologize. In fact, I’ve found that it’s quite the opposite.
Having a great marriage is about being willing to admit that you were wrong when you did make a mistake. It’s about being humble enough to ask for and being gracious enough to grant forgiveness. It’s about knowing that this love journey is being carried out by two imperfect individuals who are doing everything we can to try to get it “right” – to love and be loved, to be accepting of and accepted by one another.
And sometimes we do get it right – and it’s bliss! And other times we don’t – and that’s life. But as imperfect as we are, we recognize and love the fact that we are absolutely perfect for one another.
And that’s what makes the love journey worthwhile!
Comments? Questions? Let us know below! We love hearing from you!