March 20, 2015

How to Keep Your Marriage on Point

In over four years of marriage with A, I've learned much (and am still learning). I've recently come to the conclusion that marriage is like a triangle.



No, not a love triangle. A support triangle. Seriously, follow me here a moment. You are in one bottom corner. Your partner is in the other. You each have your own corner, yet are connected and supporting each other to form a solid foundation. Your marriage is at the top with both of you supporting it. If you don't make sure you're solid in your corner, supporting your spouse and doing your part for your marriage, and he/she isn't doing the same, the top of the triangle -- your marriage -- crashes down.



The triangle is a very basic, watered down way to show how support works in marriage. Much more can't be put into a simple graphic. For starters, the triangle can't show you that sometimes, you need to put in more effort to support your spouse. And sometimes, they need to put more effort into supporting you. Each of us go through our own difficult times. For me, having B was a difficult adjustment. Healing also took time. During that, A had to be more supportive of me. When his mother died just over a year ago, the roles were reversed. He needed more support at that time. Christmas is a hard season for both of us, so both of us need extra support then.

When life is on an even keel, the support is more about balancing the give and take relationships need. Daily communication, saying good bye in the morning before work, asking about each other's days, taking turns to help out with the kids--it all counts and matters. I try to support A by having good, relatively healthy meals planned and prepared with extras for his lunch. He supports me by giving me a break at least one night a week and doing the cooking. I take care of the kids, keep the house running, paying bills, doing errands--the usual stay-at-home mom stuff, while he supports us by going to a job outside the home. On his days off, he lets me sleep in when possible since that is something that really helps me for so many reasons. He takes out the trash, I dust. All those simple little things may not seem like they matter, but they do. Each and every one supports each other and by default our marriage.

Just as important as supporting your spouse, you need to support yourself. Keep yourself solid and strong in your corner of the triangle so you can provide the stability your part requires. That means taking breaks at times for some "me" time. Have your own work, hobbies, and interests that are just yours, yet add to your marriage because you have something new to bring to the table. I have this blog and being a stay-at-home mom as my work, while A has his own job. I love reading chick lit books, while A loves sci-fi and fantasy novels. I'm a history geek, he loves math. Supporting yourself also means growing. Be open to feedback from your spouse so you can improve yourself. Don't just stay set in your ways, try something new. I tend to voice my frustrations of the day as soon as A gets home. It drives A nuts. I've realized that and try to be better about it. A tends to put things off, which drives me nuts. I know he tries to improve on that. There are many little examples like these. When you live with someone, for the rest of your lives to boot, things crop up that drive the other nuts. Taking your spouse's feedback into account and working to better yourself goes a long way to support your marriage. Change doesn't happen overnight, keep with it. You'll start seeing results.

Bumps in marriage do happen. Life is difficult and throws curve balls. That's when the triangle of support is even more important. You need to work extra hard to keep the solid foundation and to keep your marriage from slipping. Of course, there times occur when it does slip. For us, moving was very stressful. We needed to find a house in a short amount of time and couldn't even look together due to crazy schedules. M2 was tiny, making things even rougher. A few times, we argued about--you guessed it--one of use not offering enough support to the other. We talked it out and both walked away with ways we could improve ourselves, thus better supporting the other. The key is to continue being there for your spouse, no matter how hard things are, and for them to do the same. As long as you have that, you can face any obstacles -- together, forming a strong foundation for your marriage.



I wrote this article as part of a 31 Day Marriage Challenge collaboration, co-hosted by Melissa Ann of The Eyes of a Boy and Carrie of Huppie Mama. Follow along with the challenge for many more inspiring articles on how to create or enhance an awesome marriage.

http://www.theeyesofaboy.com/march-marriage-challenge







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18 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for sharing. I really enjoyed this.

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  2. I love your triangle analogy so much, it is so true that by supporting one another you are in turn supporting your marriage!

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  3. Awesome article! I agree, and I love the illustration you gave! Thanks for sharing your heart! :) http://thebetterwifeproject.blogspot.com/

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  4. Marriage is definitely a lot of work, but if you are with your soul mate, it doesn't really seem like much work afterall :)

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  5. Thanks for sharing your tips and advice. I'll keep it in mind if I ever remarry.

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  6. Great advice. Thanks for sharing it with us.

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  7. Very good post. It is the way to keep marriage on a level ground.

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  8. You two make a beautiful couple and I agree that marriage requires support and working together.

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  9. Enjoyed this, and love your blog. Will be back. ;)

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  10. This is a great post, your triangle explanation is simple yet says it all. Even after 15 years of marriage we still have occasions, usually involving the kids, where we have to take step back and realise we weren't supporting each other.

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  11. I like comparing it to a triangle. I've been married a long time and I'm still learning things too.

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  12. Everything worth having requires work. Marriage definitely needs more work in some periods than others.

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  13. So many people need this triangle concept. Unfortunately some people just won't get it.

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  14. You have great insights, and I hope many other people are helped with your wisdom! I've seen a marriage triangle before, but with God at the top. The idea was that the closer you each draw towards God, the closer you become in your marriage.
    Your way also works. Marriage requires dedication and support, and it is a wonderful blessing to have a happy marriage.

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  15. Great tips - love your triangle very much! Yes, it takes effort on both the partners for a happy marriage.

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  16. Hmm...a triangle. I've never thought of it that way before but it makes total sense. Thanks for sharing!

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  17. This is a great post and a wonderful challenge. I just met a young couple at a store and they were just starting at my husband and I chasing our girls around and trying to get me a new phone at the same time and us just smiling and laughing... I told them the key is to not fight over money, but agree to be frugal whenever possible and keep laughing. If you're not laughing, you're not doing it right ;) We're only 6 years in, but I love your triangle theory- it's perfect!

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  18. This is beautifully written and very informative too. I love the triangle and its a great share!

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Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. As a busy mom, I'm not always able to respond to each one, though I read and appreciate them all.