I’m not sure how the opposites find each other, but most married couples I talk to
have very different personalities and different ways of doing things. I think
as humans, we have a tendency to be initially drawn to the qualities in the
other person that seem to make up for what we lack. However, down the road,
those wonderful qualities can become the very things we resent. Still, most
people enter marriage with the best of intentions and genuinely want to make
their partner happy. Any lasting relationship will be challenged at some point.
Each person brings strengths and weaknesses to the marriage. It is easy to
focus on the weaknesses over time, which can lead to disrespect and in some
cases, outright disdain. How can we prevent this from happening?
Many disagreements come from one or both partners reacting to disappointment or an
unmet need. While our hurts may be justified, the ability to maintain a basic
sense that the other person is worthy of respect is critical. Can you allow for
the possibility that even though his tone was questionable, or she was short
with you, or he forgot to do something that was important to you, that the
source of this insensitive behavior was not malicious? Is there an ability to
pause and hear your partner’s complaint toward you without immediately
launching a complaint toward him/her in defense?
Can you trust that your partner has good intentions toward you, even in the middle
of an argument? Do you believe that your spouse is generally a person of good
If the answer is yes, forgiving faults and letting go become a little easier.
We’ll have our partner’s best interest, and the best interest of the marriage
What if it feels like intimacy and/or respect for your mate has diminished? What if there’s
a buildup of resentment from past hurts? It may take a conscious effort to
remind yourself of the qualities that initially drew you to your spouse. When
you take time to recall what you appreciate about your mate, the characteristics
that make you proud to be married to him; the things you find endearing about
her—your marital bond is strengthened.
What we think often dictates how we feel, and how we feel influences how we act.
Consider the questions below if you feel that your appreciation, fondness, or
respect for your partner have diminished.
- Which memories stand out when you
think about your earlier years with your mate?
- What were the happiest times for
you? What were the hard times in your marriage? How have you weathered
those times together?
- The next time your husband or
wife does something that angers or annoys you, can you suspend judgment of
his/her motives and direct your attention toward the perceived hurt or