What exactly IS a good marriage? So many times, my wife and I have been told, “you guys really have it”, or “those guys really love each other”. Even the statements, “you guys make me sick”, come to us from time and again.
Am I an expert on having a good marriage? No, certainly not. But, I do want to give you my thoughts about it.
So, the first thing that is a good marriage is love. I’m not talking about liking each other alot, or being able to put up with each other’s bad habits, or annoyances, but real love.
So, just what is “love”? This is where the English language fails us. We use that word far too often, and too often, for the wrong feelings. I do NOT love my wife, like I love my children. I do NOT love my children, like I love my pets. I do NOT love my pets, like I love going camping in Autumn.
So, how exactly do I differentiate each type of love, from one another, in the English language? By not always using that word by itself. For most people, they use the word “love” in a casual and routine sentence. “I gotta go to work, dear…. love you”. “Okay, I call you later tonight…. love you…bye”. These are routine sayings, that said enough, become more habit, than a declaration of your feelings. For the times that you DO want to differentiate, I learned from my wife…. which is: During the times where she wants to really declare her affection toward me, she says, “I Adore You”. Granted, that doesn’t mean the same thing as love, but I take it like it does, and THAT is what matters. She knows that, which is why she continues to say it. If there is a word that works for you, then use it. It’s the meaning you give behind it that matters. And as long as you both understand, then that meaning can go a long way.
How do I define “marriage” love? Everyone defines it differently, but I define it as, “When someone else’s feelings, passions, and well-being trumps your own” (to be honest, I think I heard that from Ashton Kutcher). When you decide that someone else means more to you, than yourself, that’s LOVE.
One way to declare your love, is not just say it, casually. Do it. Do things that show your affection. Often times, when Tammy goes outside to let the dogs out, she will just lean against the deck railing. I will just simply come up behind her, and hold her in my arms. That means alot more than just walking by the door and say, “I love you”, and walk away.
I also made her a dinner one night when she was very sick. I added a couple of roses on the plate from our rose bush. Now, she doesn’t really like flowers, but a smile rose to her face when I brought it out to her. That smile meant more to me at that moment, than my own feelings and well-being.
You can also declare your affection in front of the public. Facebook nice things about your loved one, in front of everyone. Show everyone that you truly are grateful for that person to be in your life. Hold hands, and hug each other in public places. Sometimes, I’m appalled at some people that completely change their appearance or actions when going out in public alone or together. In some cases, people take off their wedding rings. That, to me, tells me they don’t love them. Even a friend of mine did that. I stopped hanging out with them afterwards, and told them why, when they asked.
One last thing I have to say about your marriage, is listen to each other. Learn from each other. I am still learning from Tammy to be more creative and more open to family outings, and she is still learning from me to let some things go, and not to worry so much. Communication is key! It may be awkward, and uncomfortable at first, if you have never talked about things before, but push through it! It will be worth it in the long run! I promise.
If you don’t love your partner, then let them go. Nothing is worse than to be trapped in an un-healthy relationship, for both parties involved.
I’ve also seen a couple that disrespects each other ALOT in public. Making fun of, or poking fun at the other spouse. At first, I thought they were just going through an argument, but then, they joked with each other, smiled, and then another negative comment.
I’ve also seen one spouse allow their children to disrespect the other parent, and laugh about it. I have to ask myself, “Do they really love each other, or just put up with one another for the children’s sake”. Far too many families “put up” with one another for their children. While I’m not saying this is wrong (I really do not know. I have personal opinions about this, but I’ll leave that for another time), I wonder how great of a life do those people really have.
There is also one other type of couple. This is the couple that truly do love each other, but fail to show it or talk about it. It’s these couples, that have the most potential, but fail to see it due to lack of action. It saddens my heart to see those couples fall apart, simply because they didn’t know how, or chose not to show it.
I do not just “love” Tammy. I am “in love” with her. Everything about her. Love is an amazing emotion and gift that we, as human beings, sometimes take for granted. Love is indefinate. It has no ends; no boundries. It can continue to grow. No one can EVER take her place, and no one can EVER tell me different. Our trust, love, and respect are endless for each other. I know this, because we always talk about it.
I am always reminding her, that I love her more now than ever. But the amazing gift means, tomorrow, that love will be that much greater. I love her more now, than I did last week, or last month, or last year.
There is not a SINGLE THING that I would rather do alone, than to share it with her. Everything I do, I want to share with her. Sometimes, that doesn’t always happen, but it doesn’t mean I would RATHER do it. If given a choice, I would have her right there beside me, in EVERYTHING I do. I would have taken her to Sweden with me, each time I go, if we could afford the plane ticket!
Sharing is the greatest gift on earth, that you can give to your partner. Tammy talks to me all the time, and THAT communication alone, is worth it’s weight in gold.
So, have I really defined a “good marriage”? No, and no person ever can. It’s up to you to define whats good or not. However, if you really want me to give you some advice (i.e. if you are REALLY wanting help with your marriage and you don’t have the time/money to see a counselor), then turn to the Holy Bible. The New Testement book, Corinthians, talks ALL about how to handle your marriage and children. It is where Paul talks to the church of Corinth, and explains to them what they are doing wrong, and gives guidance on what God believes a marriage should be.
You can even go to a book store, (Christian book stores have the best selection), and choose a Marriage Study Workbook, on the book of Corinthians.
Do I have a perfect marriage? Certainly not, and I don’t want it to be. It’s the small disagreements and challenges that make us appreciate each other more, after everything is said and done.
To my wife, I say this:
“I cannot tell you how grateful and lucky I am, for the good Lord Almighty to bring my life to you. You truly are my rock that I can depend on. You allow me to break through my “grounded logic”, and see the creative imagination of life, that flows passed me. Sometimes, I get wrapped up in work, or task, I life starts passing me by. You allow me to see what life truly is about, and show me how to appreciate it.
I do not just love you, Tammy Jean Paxson. I am in love with you. It is NOT a question of how long I will love you, but rather, how long I can live TO love you!
You are my everything, and there is not a place in this earthly world, that I would EVER think otherwise!
As you would say, I Adore you, and everything about you!!”
By Aaron Paxson