How to love your spouse

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Having a marital relationship is supposed to be a wonderful and life-fulfilling experience. It is supposed to be more fulfilling and satisfying than being single. However, studies have shown that most relationships are not as enjoyable as they are expected to be. Some relationships end in dissolution, while some are hardly bearable for the parties involved. 

Unhappy relationships are not unusual; they are in fact very common. The knight in a shining armor may turn out to be the nightmare, and the damsel in distress may become a great distress for one. Emotional, physical, and sexual abuse are not uncommon. And in some cultures that forbid divorce, living in an unpleasant relationship can feel like an endless misery. How can one avoid being in an unhappy relationship? What must one do to experience joy and satisfaction in one’s relationship? 

One of the major problems in most relationships is the inability to understand what love entails. Love, to most people, is that pleasant feeling you get when you are with somebody. It’s that feeling that you have met the perfect person, who can show you much affection and respect. Usually, the person you are attracted to is idealized as somebody with fewer or no flaws, whose loyalty can never wavy. And as most people can be deceptive in appearance, they may not be as charming as they seem. 

Some of the problems that arise in marriages include spousal misunderstanding, poor conflict resolution, unmet expectations, false ideals, and infidelity. To avoid problems in marriage, it is imperative that you understand the purpose of marriage and the challenges that are likely to be encountered. Marriage can be beautiful and highly enjoyable to anyone if they approach it with the right attitude. And this often requires a complete change in the ideologies, beliefs, and expectations commonly held by many people. 

If you want to have a happy marriage, give

Constructive criticisms

Criticisms are not bad, as long as they are constructive and show that you have maximum respect for the person you are talking to. Nobody enjoys insults, degradation, and rudeness. We all want to be shown love and respect. And while it will be inappropriate and unloving to be agreeable to all the actions and choices of your spouse, including the good and bad ones, it is thoughtful to show concern to and interest in the well-being of others, enough to stimulate constructive and positive criticisms, without giving a stab to their feelings of self-esteem. 

Constructive feedback

A feedback is a response that indicates how an action has affected you. Instead of verbally insulting your spouse and diminishing them, let them know how their actions have affected you and how those actions make you feel. Your spouse may be able to relate with your emotions and realize his/her wrongs; if he/she genuinely cares about you. For example, Trish says to her husband, ‘Ben, I was worried when you came in late last night, and I cried a lot.’ If Ben genuinely respects Trish, he will feel remorse for his action and try to make her feel better. Trish’s constructive feedback is better than nagging her husband. 

Be respectful

Treat your spouse as though he/she is just as important as the president of your country. Listen to their ideas, make significant effort to satisfy their need for intimacy, show them appreciation, praise them, give them undivided attention, and treat them as though they are the most important people in the world. Your spouse needs to be able to feel safe and secure around you, especially in a world where human apathy and wickedness thrive. 

Show affection

Let your spouse know and feel that their wellbeing is a great concern to you. Throw a surprise birthday party for them, buy them some of their favorite items, and give them a nice treat. Show that you support their aspirations and dreams, and are prepared to help them all the way through. Be actively involved in their developmental process; be their extra limb. This does not mean you should not focus on your own aspirations; while you are helping them to achieve their dreams, they should be able to do the same for you. 

Understand them

You are not your spouse, and your spouse is not you. You are two different human beings. Your spouse has his or her preferences, interests, values, fears, and dreams, which may differ from those of yours. You must therefore learn to understand and respect these differences, showing tolerance, without pressuring your spouse to convert to your ideals. Spouses who understand one another are best able to live with one another amicably. 

Always ask for what they need

One major mistake most people make in life is that they never really show concern for the needs of their loved ones. You may think you know what somebody else needs, but you will be surprised to discover that what you think they need is quite different from what they actually need. Sometimes, you need to ask your spouse what they really need, and sometimes you should be able to make out what they actually need. You are not a mind reader, and your ability to discern the needs of your loved one is alas limited. Therefore, asking them for what they really need is a very good idea.