By Pamela Alexander…
I have always said that “marriage is the toughest job you’ll ever love.” I have talked to many singles who view marriage as the ultimate happiness. While this is true, they are often ill-prepared for the great work involved.
Shalom Bayit: In Judaism, we have a Hebrew phrase called “shalom bayit.” It means “peace in the home,” and we all must work toward that goal if we want to make our house a place of love, refuge and blessings. How does one accomplish that? What can we do each day to ensure that our home is a peaceful and safe place to be ourselves?
Problems will occur: First, we must recognize that there are problems in all marriages. Men and women are so different; we each have our own way of seeing the world. We approach our relationships differently. We must therefore accept that there will be times when we don’t get along, but this is not cause for concern. Instead, it is an opportunity to grow!
Fighting fair: Because disagreements will arise, we must ensure that we disagree in a peaceful and helpful way. One problem in marriage is the use of words that are extreme and therefore untrue.
Difference between men and women: A wife might feel ignored more than her husband would in a similar situation. Women need attention. In frustration, she might tell her husband: “you NEVER pay attention to me!” This is received by her spouse as an accusation. When someone is accused, it’s natural to become defensive. It is hardly a recipe for change and improvement.
So instead of accusing, it’s best to say “sometimes when you are on your phone a lot, I FEEL ignored.” This way, one is accepting responsibility for their own feelings while not blaming their spouse for them. And it gives the husband a chance to improve. A happy wife is a happy wife!
An important thing for women to understand is that husbands can often feel nagged by their wife, where a woman would not feel that way if a man was being a strong leader. No man wants to be told what to do. It is often received as an insult to their leadership and competence. Wives must believe in their husbands and not remind them of their responsibilities.
Another difference between men and women is that men tend to be visual while women are auditory. Men may show their wives love each day, but a woman wants to hear it! And a spouse’s appearance is less important to a woman. She is looking for a man of character. A man is too, but he enjoys when his wife dresses nicely for him!
Compromising and deferring: Compromise is essential to a happy marriage and sometimes that means one of the spouses must defer. As a wife, I have found that it’s best for me to defer to my husband. I trust him as a leader. If we disagree on something, I will share my thoughts and give input. Both spouses must share their feelings and ideas.
Still, when my husband and I have different ideas, I thank him for his input and tell him I trust his decision. I defer. There cannot be two captains of the same ship. While a husband can certainly defer, I think this is easier for the wife because she wants her husband to lead. And we should be thankful for the fact that our husband bears the burden of his decisions. It makes him feel competent.
Supporting each other: A wife should take great care to show her husband that she supports him, and always encourage him in his work. .Also, if the woman stays home with the children, she should always SHOW appreciation for how hard her husband works to support the family Parenting & Family. Similarly, a husband should be thankful for his wife’s hard work at home, and raising the children most of the time. Both spouses should thank the other regularly. Showing appreciation is not enough; one must communicate that.
Working on oneself: The most important part of marriage is individual growth. Hopefully, we grow each day as we get more experience in life and we learn more about ourselves. We must therefore take responsibility for our own selves and not expect our spouses to change because of our faults. If a husband or wife gets angry easily, they must work on that. They should not expect their spouse to tolerate it. Individual growth grows the marriage.
Please note that I am not a psychologist. I have learned many things in my 57 years and how to make a marriage works. I hope this helps. Comments are welcome. Forum