I’m only 3.5 years into my marriage, so really not far, but would you allow me to share some thoughts on what I think helps?
I’m sure I have a lot more to learn, but I think we function best when we realize that marriage is an ART.
Yes, ART as something beautiful that never feels done (and honestly, doesn’t always feel all that beautiful). Picture an incredible mural that seems to go on and on and you always want to add something here, change the color over there. . .
And ART as an acronym to remember three keys to making the best of our marriages. Abandon, Respect, Trust.
But first a disclaimer, this ART is helpful only when the partners are healthy persons and treat each other in a kind and considerate manner. If one or both partners are unhealthy, unkind, or inconsiderate, other avenues should be considered.
ABANDON (noun) complete lack of inhibition or restraint
Do it with ABANDON. Always. Every day. Even when you’re angry and frustrated, love your partner with abandon. Don’t wait for him or her to do everything you want before you love with abandon—give of yourself before that. If I’m waiting for my partner’s perfection before my abandon, I just get angry and bitter. If I love my partner with abandon, I’m happier in the whole process and I receive much. My abandon is not contingent, for it’s what I signed up for when I got married, and I choose to do the same every day. Don’t hold back, for it will not get you what you want. Love with abandon.
RESPECT (verb) admire deeply
RESPECT the differences. You’ve not married your twin, and though differences can be super-frustrating, your partner deserves respect. You may never understand the way your partner thinks, acts, or interacts at certain times. You may think that the way they do things is, well, wrong. You can’t immediately make yourself admire deeply habits you find annoying, but the first step of respect is to stop criticizing. Another step of respect is to make room for the difference in conversation and in your life—to welcome it; this requires not taking ourselves too seriously and having a sense of humor. And while you may not always like the differences, in taking such steps you may eventually arrive at the place where you deeply admire how that difference helps in certain situations. Respect the differences because you love the person. Let your partner be who she or he is. And be yourself, too.
TRUST (verb) have confidence in, believe, hope
TRUST your partner. Your partner has chosen you as you’ve chosen him or her. It was not a light decision, and though you do not always understand it, trust that your partner always has your best in mind. Trust that even though he needed time alone that he will come back. Trust that her job and/or the children are never actually more important than you are. Trust that she will complete her vows to you and loves you unconditionally. Trust that he only has eyes for you and always will find you beautiful. Trust that even though today was a hard one, tomorrow is an absolutely new day and you’ll still be together. Trust your partner.
So, friends, this is my personal reminder to remember the ART of marriage—to love my husband with abandon, respect, and active trust. Will you join me?Love with Abandon, Respect and Active Trust! Click To Tweet