Saturday, May 29, 2010

Reflections on Marriage - part 3

A few other observations about marriage:

*Save money - you will thank me later if you start setting a specific dollar amount aside from every pay check, even if it is only $5 or $10. Saving is like tithing. Ten percent is a great level, but if you can't get there right away, start with what you can and build toward 10% - and more is better. I recently heard about someone who has a "to hell with it" fund. Regular, disciplined saving has helped this individual build a safety net that helps him keep a healthy distance from the anxiety that comes from a difficult job or a difficult "economic downturn."

*Communicate - honestly, often and thoroughly. Leaving things out is still lying. Lying - even by saying "I'm fine" when you're not - leads to frustration or resentment. If you need something in the relationship, ask for it. Your spouse can't read your mind, even if you are convinced that you are "soul mates." Cut him/her some slack - say what you want or need - don't make it a game.

*"The five love languages" has become a frequent way of talking about communication and love in a relationship. In my experience, it is very easy to identify your own love language and then start looking for ways that your spouse speaks it. It might be better in the long run to figure out your spouse's love language and train yourself to *listen* in that language. After 17 years, it is obvious to me that my husband will struggle to speak my love language on a consistent basis. It isn't that he doesn't want to - it just doesn't come naturally. Waiting for it, and not getting it, makes me critical and resentful. It is much better - for both of us - for me to instead hear him in his own language. If I know, for example, that his love language is acts of service, I can choose to see his acts of service in our home and our relationship as his expressions of love rather than crabbing about him not expressing love in the ways I want.


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