When people talk about the joys and sorrows of marriage, they could be talking from a strictly romantic perspective or from a practical viewpoint. This should clue us into the kind of marriage they had whether they had a happy marriage in spite of the unending string of woes that threatened the stability of that marriage. Happily, there are some very resilient and hardy couples who stick it out, convinced that using the temporary downturns as an excuse to throw in the towel are a manifestation of weakness or lack of commitment. Instead of feeling threatened or disillusioned, they would rather take these downturns and turn them into opportunities at making marriage work as a revered institution. So commendable!
Another question we might be tempted to ask is whether the joys of marriage outnumber its sorrows. Again, a confirmed romanticist will say ‘of course!’ As long as honesty in marriage exists, how could the joys NOT overcome the sorrows? You can include respect in marriage because honesty and respect appear to be the two ingredients that contribute to a successful union. They also are qualities that come together naturally because they are co-dependent. Without honesty, there is no respect. Without respect, there can be no honesty.
Efforts and Dialogue Go a Long Way
We’re a strong believer that marriage is one of the channels in which we can turn sorrows into joys. Others may be dumfounded when they ask, ‘but if there’s cheating in marriage, how can that be turned into joy?’ We’ve got to admit, a cheating spouse is sufficient reason to make us think ‘divorce’ or ‘separation’, but if we want to save our marriage, this question will most likely make it to our list of questions for a marriage counselor.
After all, marriage counselors serve a specific purpose. They would know what to say about a cheating husband or wife. Marriage help is available. The question is, are both spouses willing to accept help from an independent third party?
When we rely on our efforts and on dialogue, we are showing our spouse that we’re willing to make amends and adjustments in the marriage so that it doesn’t become a situation where couples only stay in the marriage for the children’s sake. Or the kind wherein two people are simply staying in a marriage for financial reasons. Sure, there’s a lot to be said about taking this route. Children are our most valuable assets, and when our other assets (home, boats, cottages, retirement funds, stock and bonds and treasury bills) grow substantially, there’s no denying that staying married for these reasons alone is perfectly justified.
Still, it would be nice to have a marriage made in heaven, complete with the unconditional guarantees that supposedly come with it and the trinkets and bells that make our heart flutter every once in awhile. Like sugar and spice and everything nice.
There are a few specific concerns that arise during a marriage and which millions of couples recognize as surefire ways to provoke anger or resentment or just a mild disappointment. We all know though that when those mild disappointments accumulate, they could be like volcanic lava that’s about to erupt and explode.
Why don’t we look at some of those issues now and see what steps we can take to restore diplomacy and romantic love to an ailing marriage.
Concerns that Trigger the Sorrows of Marriage
- You remember the first time you met him. He had six-pack abdominals that were tough as steel and the nicest biceps ever. Fast forward 10 years. The six-pack you married now looks like he’s carrying six dozen apples around his girth. He used to sprint around you, begging you to marry him. Now he’s dragging his feet when you ask him to do his share of the chores. The excess fat is making you excessively obsessed. Talk to him. Just as there are millions seeking help for obesity, he can too;
- Lately you’ve noticed that you’re paying the bills from your own salary, even if her salary is now double what she was making when you first married her. She’s had one promotion after another and you know that her income closely matches yours. She hasn’t reached out for her checkbook in a long while. Tell her gently (don’t speak to her when your frustrations are running high) that since marriage is also a partnership, there is such a thing as paying the bills together;
- Speaking of bills, we don’t understand why a wife would not tell her husband the truth if he asks her how much she spends on shoes and spa treatments, or why a husband would not disclose how much he spends on car and motorcycle accessories. There should be visibility in the expenses of the marriage. Hiding bills from your spouse can graduate into a more serious offense, especially when both of you can’t meet day-today expenses. When spending habits become a source of irritation, husbands and wives should consider talking to a spouse about spending;
- Dealing with the in-laws is sometimes like pulling teeth for lack of a better expression to describe the on and off, hate and love affair with the in-laws. Note that apart from the money question, couples fight because they have a tough time with the ‘others.’ Just look at the etiquette section of your newspaper or your regular Miss Manners column, and in-laws almost always come up as a sour point of contention between husband and wife. Dialoguing about ways to come to a truce is a worthwhile effort. Why should your in-laws add to the sorrows of marriage?
And Now the Joys of Marriage
If there’s anything that causes profound regret, it’s a once loving relationship that has turned into a recipe for disaster. When love fades, a certain sadness creeps in and a loveless marriage can slowly kill our spirit.
Oscar Wilde ought to be reprimanded. He was one to come up with the funniest quotes. here’s one that doesn’t quite fit in with this topic, but we’ll include it anyway to lighten up this serious discussion.
He said, ‘one should always be in love. That is the reason one should never marry.’
We don’t know if he was severely criticized for saying that and maybe there’s a grain of truth to it but he failed to see that love genuine love actually can be brought to a proper brew only inside a marriage. The fleeting kind which stems from non-enduring relationships without commitment doesn’t have a place in respectable society. Prudish, you might say, but marriage and its joys are thankfully still very much around.
In the beginning, when two people are just starting to build a life together,’ buying a house‘ is probably one of the best joys a marriage can have. It reinforces the commitment of two people who vow to stay together, rich or poor. That house will be a witness to the joys and sorrows of marriage, and will bring many fond memories of a sturdy relationship, made much stronger by the willingness and openness of two people.
We frequently wonder about how to keep our marriages exciting. This is where the importance of date nights plays a huge role. Forty years into their marriage, a couple can still act like the lovebirds they were when they first met. What’s wrong with the old reliable flowers and chocolates routine on ordinary days, or an occasional erotic e-mail fired off from the office computer? Or a walk in the park, holding hands?
Have you ever been out on a lovely summer day and saw two people in their late 60s and 70s holding hands and giggling like tiny tots? it’s an endearing picture. Love has a way of erasing the wrinkles of time. Whenever we see seniors in love, we don’t see the leathery skin or the wrinkled hand or their unsteady gait. What we see is the true joy of marriage.
‘I know a girl who says the way to drive a man wild is to nibble on his ears for hours and hours. I think it’s bollocks.’ (Jimmy Carr)‘