One of the greatest challenges of today is developing life-long partnership. Personality is the mental, social, emotional, and constitutional characteristic that makes somebody different and interesting. The early years of marriage are a growth time for the relationship – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. This is a period you find out that marriage is not a bed of roses –that, those romantic affairs in fictions are not played out that way in real married life. At this early period, some very difficult situations may develop through a failure of the couple to recognize that their personalities are different because of the contrast of their family background and childhood experiences.
You have the choice of moving your marriage in positive direction, even in midst of challenges and disappointments or bowing out. A sensible person will save his or her marriage with all he or she has got. Throughout courtship the young man has been sure that his fiancée possesses none of the faults he has observed in his others dates. He assumes that she will succeed where others have failed; that married life with her will be a wonderful romance. But after she has actually become his wife, he begins to notice that she possesses traits that fall short of his earlier ideas of her perfection. No one has a perfect situation at home, because no one has a perfect situation at home, because no one is perfect. Everyone has flaws, weaknesses, and faults.
This realization that his wife is human after all and that her personality contain some imperfections which he thought would be impossible in one so beautiful, prompts the new husband to bring the traits to her attention. He assumes, of course, that she will be grateful to him for mentioning her shortcomings. But he is quickly shocked that she has been noting some imperfections in his lifestyle and is already prepared to meet his criticisms with her list of his faults of personality. And the ground for the first quarrel is set.
Karol Ladd in her book, The Power of A Positive Wife wrote, “God placed certain, distinct qualities and traits in man and certain distinct qualities and traits in woman. Together they were designed to function as one flesh. They were to bless each other. They were to encourage each other’s strengths and balance each other’s weaknesses. They were to take a selfless and loving position in each other’s lives.”
The question is, how will they choose to handle these challenges? They had observed that many couples disagree, but they were sure that their home would be different. Now, that they face reality, will they respond to the situation in a positive and healing way, or will they use words and actions in a destructive and negative way? Their love for each other had been so intense that they had supposed they would never be guilty of starting a quarrel. But here they are with the evidence that their own marriage is not an exception. Each is sure he/she is not as bad as the partner has just pictured him/her. Therefore, each felt that the partner is capable of exaggerating things and making false statements. As they reflect on this encounter in their private moment, the fear that the happy marriage they had dreamed of might not be.
But by the time each has had a chance to think things through; they find that their supposed grievances were caused by loneliness that came over them while they retreated to themselves. Each having noticed this is ready to ask for forgiveness. This is followed by the pleasant experience of making up. In fact, it seems that they understand each other better now than before for having the courage to face their human frailties.
Newly married couple tends to take their first disagreement as a portentous omen. But it is simply an indication that their personalities have not yet blended. It is not this first quarrel which determines whether a couple is to have a happy married life or not. Their happiness will depend upon what success they make about blending of their personalities so as to restore respect and tolerance.
An individual’s personality does not remain constant for any period of time. It changes from day to day as it is influenced by the day’s experiences. The personality today differs from what it was a year ago, depending upon the experiences of the intervening year. It will differ a year from now from what it is today, depending upon the circumstances through which the individual passes during the year. As they pass through life together their experiences will be nearly the same and more alike in this case their personalities become more and more alike. They will observe each other responses to circumstances, and will come to know what to expect of each other and what to do to avoid misunderstandings.
Simple carelessness on the part of either husband or wife can easily be a basis for difficulty. This for example may take the form of laxity in dressing and personal appearance. Before marriage a young man takes pride in his partner, not only because of his affection for her, but because of her personal attractiveness. If after the marriage she assumes that she has made her dream come true and is therefore privileged to dress for comfort and convenience rather than in the interest of personal appearance, there is danger that the change will produce the impression that she no longer care about her husband’s interest.
On the other hand, the new husband may show his carelessness by neglecting the attentions which he showered on his wife when they were courting. This type of carelessness takes the form of forgetting her birthday and wedding anniversary.
The type of friends you keep can affect the happiness of the home. The choice of friends therefore requires deliberate judgment and willingness to give and take.
When two persons agree in their determination to have nothing in the way of their developing a happy home, there is very little chance of their being disappointed. It must be realized, however, that such a happy state of affairs is not a simple coincidence; it demands active effort on the part of both husband and wife.
One golden rule which every married person should observe is that never resort to deception. It is shortsightedness to assume that a crisis can be avoided by trying to distort the facts. Deception will finally become apparent and will undermine the absolute confidence that should exist between the couple. A frank apology, when indicated, does much more to ensure the respect and devotion of the spouse than does any attempt to ignore injustice.
If you are focused on your spouse’s faults, you will find them every time. But if you set on finding your spouse’s strength, you will find it too. Shirley Boone said, “Be to his virtues very kind. Be to his faults a little blind.” In marriage husband and wife come together to build each other up. Envisage how sweet your marriage can become when both of you are looking for the positive qualities of each.
The Bible spoke of the husband and wife becoming, “one flesh”. That did not mean that individuals would lose their individuality; it meant that they would blend their personalities in a deep and intimate way.
Clark Warren wrote, “Great marriages seldom come naturally. They are virtually the result of strong motivation, careful instruction, and endless practice.”