Marriage isn’t about getting it right all the time; it's about growth.
I know a lot about husbands, I’ve had two of them. That wasn’t the plan of course, but as life would have it, that’s how it worked out.
Interestingly enough, a few months after moving out of my home with my first husband and into the home of my (someday) second, I realized something. I had the same problems and was the same person I had always been — I was just in a new relationship.
Changing relationships hadn’t "fixed" any part of my life equation. That’s because my half of the equation remained the same: me. And if I wanted a different solution, I needed to change.
What I really needed in order to change was a new perspective. Whenever anything was hard in my relationship, I would ask myself, "What’s wrong here?"
Not a great question and one I would suggest never asking yourself again because when we ask "what’s wrong", that's the answer that follows. But when we ask better questions, we get better answers.
Not only is there nothing "wrong" with you, there is nothing "wrong" with your husband. In fact, there is nothing "wrong" with your relationship at all. Our perception of right and wrong does not allow us to accurately see the true nature of relationships.
When we understand their primary purpose, we see everything much differently.
The sole function of relationships is to foster our growth. We’re humans, a part of nature, and just like other natural things we are either growing or dying. Even death itself fosters more life — just look at the evidence of decaying vegetation. This decay actually nurtures soil for new growth.
For optimal comfort, feelings of being in control of life and sheer enjoyment, we can make the growth process conscious. The more awareness we have the more we can direct our growth and change.
When we have more understanding, we can discover more comfort and predictability amongst the chaos. We gain this understanding by asking high-quality questions.
If you want to know how to love your husband, ask yourself the following questions.
They are designed to help you foster a marriage filled with as much ease, love, and connection as possible while you continue to grow as individuals. They will hopefully provide as much predictability and consciousness as possible on this wild ride as a couple.
1. Ask yourself: What kind of person do I really want to be in this marriage?
If you don’t have a vision for what you want, you can’t have it. In marriage, we often think about who we want the other person to be, but we often leave ourselves out of the equation. This usually shows up when you are frustrated by your spouse’s behavior.
You are half of your marriage and if you are not considering how you want to show up, you’re likely spending more time focusing on the problems in your relationship rather than solutions.
2. Ask yourself: What am I hiding?
Did you know most women confess that their girlfriends know more about them than their husbands do?
Intimacy is about a hell of a lot more than sex. And if you reveal how you feel to your husband instead of hiding, in the end, you will not only feel more connected to him, you’ll have better sex too.
3. Ask yourself: Am I accepting my own feelings?
Often, in a marriage women complain that their partner doesn’t "know who they are." But how can we expect men to know us if we don’t know ourselves?!
We hide how we are feeling to try to escape from the shame and guilt that is accompanied (or masked by) "negative" emotions to avoid experiencing our own insecurities. Our feelings are hidden so well, we often don’t even know they are there.
So the next time you are upset about something in your marriage, instead of expecting your husband to read your mind and validate your feelings, try acknowledging your feelings and accepting yourself first.
When you can do this, you probably won’t even need that external validation — although you might still want a hug.
4. Ask yourself: What am I afraid of?
Women will complain about or get angry with their husbands, but upon further inquiry, those feelings are based on underlying fears about themselves.
Give yourself a shortcut and save years in therapy by asking yourself what you’re really afraid of the next time you get upset. Then, if you truly want to experience an intimately connected and fulfilling relationship, share those fears with your husband and watch the magic of vulnerability be revealed.
5. Ask yourself: What role am I attached to playing?
Have you ever felt like your husband has it all together and you’re a mess? Maybe he’s less emotional than you or more even-tempered? Maybe his life seems less complex than yours.
As women, a lot of us were taught to take care of other people before ourselves — physically and emotionally. That societal undercurrent is so strong that we don’t even realize how much we’re doing it.
Here’s a clue. If you find yourself envious of your husband in some way because he gets to "be" some way that you don't believe you can achieve, consider that you may be taking on more than your fair share of the emotional responsibility.
For instance, my first husband was super laid back and it used to annoy me that I always felt so uptight. Then my second husband also seemed way more "chill" than me.
It wasn’t until I realized I was holding more than my fair share of the "uptight" pie in the relationship that I was able to dismantle that pattern.
After I was able to stop identifying myself as the "crazy emotional female," a role that society gave me while growing up, we were able to share in more of the emotional responsibility in our marriage and enjoy a more balanced relationship.
Do you play the role of "the emotional one", "the crazy one", "the uptight", or "conscientious one"? When you stop needing to identify with that role, you will change… and so will your husband.
6. Ask yourself: What are your unrealistic expectations of your husband?
This is a fun game. Take out a piece of paper and write down all of the unrealistic expectations you have of your husband.
After you're done, look at the list and have a good laugh. For bonus points, do this exercise together if you are willing to have a very good sense of humor and not take any of it personally.
7. Ask yourself: What are your unrealistic expectations of yourself?
Do you expect to be happy all the time, be a sex machine every night, make thousands of dollars at a job you love, and be God’s gift to housekeeping too?
Take out a piece of paper and honestly list all of the unrealistic expectations you have about yourself and have a good laugh at the creation you’ve come up with that likely no human being could ever measure up to!
8. Ask yourself: What’s good in my marriage?
So often in marriage, we focus on what’s wrong. What we think about and pay attention to grows. So spend a lot of time noticing and paying attention to what’s going right. Then you will watch your relationship radically improve before your eyes.
9. Ask yourself: If he were gone tomorrow, what would I miss?
We don’t often take the time to realize what we have until it’s gone. Taking some time to consider what you would miss if your spouse died tomorrow gives us an opportunity to find gratitude in the everyday nonsense and see the gifts that hide in plain sight.
So many of us, myself included, didn’t realize everything we had until it was gone. And once it’s gone you can’t ever have it back. So count your blessings. Even all the dirty dishes in your sink.
Marriage isn't about getting it right all the time. There really is no right or wrong way to do anything in life, and ups and downs are inevitable.
But your marriage may be the best way for you to grow as an individual. And these 9 questions will help facilitate the growth process so you can enjoy a beautiful marriage for a lifetime.