Uniquely Yours

This article is only for couples that are not in an abusive relationship.  If you are in an abusive relationship, get help to leave!

There are so many articles and books written on the topic of romantic relationships and marriage.  Some offer very specific advice and almost give you a formula to follow and magically you will have the marriage of your dreams.  Too many authors have bought into the idea that there is a “one size fits all” mentality when it comes to our relationships.  We have grown up with fairy tales and the belief that we all deserve the happy ending and there is a definite look to constitute a happy ending.  Yet, when we are unable to achieve this look, we either bail out or crawl to our corners in despair that happy ending aren’t meant for us.

But what if we have been looking at marriage/relationships in the wrong way?  What if we simply need to change our filters and philosophy on marriage?  We all know we are amazingly different.  We know that two people can look at the same situation and see totally different things.  We know that our likes, dislikes, desires, wants, and needs all look different.  Knowing this, why do we want a marriage that is cookie cutter?  Why do we buy into the ideas of “all men think this way and all women need this”?  Isn’t it this philosophy that hinders the individuality that we all seek to be noticed for?  It is this kind of “all men and all women” ideas that stops us from truly studying our partners. When we think we already have a formula, we stop looking for a different formula. 

Let’s just say there is no one formula for success because there is no one look for success.  No one has to look like another to justify they are a success.  Truth is, we all make concessions.  My concessions may not be yours and yours may not be mine, but I have no right to say you shouldn’t make yours.  Or the ones that you have made mean your relationship is not a success.  The ultimate question is, are you happy, satisfied and fulfilled?  Now, because we have been measuring ourselves against others and we have let others poison us, we are unsure of the true answer to this question.  It is hard work blending two separate lives; lives that have been spoken into in all kinds of different ways.  We all have hang-ups, scars, misconceptions about the opposite sex, insecurities and defense mechanisms.  With all of these differences, how in the world can there be one formula for success?

I have written many articles about marriage and relationships but what I try to always emphasize is the character of the person.  We all need to embody certain characteristics to be good people.  When we stop focusing on the character of the person and just look at the behavior we miss authenticity.  We shouldn’t want people to do behaviors because a book said that’s what you should do because you are a husband or a wife.  I don’t want to do “date night” because someone says that’s how you keep your relationship alive.  I want us to go out because we simply want to spend some quality time together, uninterrupted.  Truth is we want to be wanted.  I want you to do the things that I have told you I like because you WANT to.  But I can’t make you want to.  And this reality is the truth behind why we fill so unfulfilled in our relationships.  One can buy you flowers, take you dancing, take you on vacation; but if at anytime you feel like they don’t really WANT to be there, every behavioral act means nothing.  It seems all contrived. 

So we have to look within.  We have to take the time to learn our partners and ourselves.  We have to first research what we really want.  Don’t ask for flowers when you know you don’t even like flowers just because it is purported that flowers are a nice gesture.  Don’t emphasize having a night out with the boys when in reality you don’t even really care if you hang out.  Be you, finding what makes you happy.  Be willing to break the stereotypical rules and just be happy.  If you as a man, don’t care about cooking dinner and washing the clothes, don’t hound your wife to do those roles because other men fuss about it.  Women, if you don’t care about your man taking full responsibility of the money and you trust him to do that, don’t try to get a 50/50 role in it because other women fuss about it.  Make your relationship fit you guys.  Learn what you want more than what you don’t want and then convey that to your partner.

Realize that no one has a perfect relationship, but some folks do have a better relationship than others.  You just want to have the better; better than you have ever had before.  That should be your aim month in and month out.  Let’s just make it better.  Will you fight?  Yeah!  Will you get on each other’s last nerve? Yeah!  Will there be times when you may think, I don’t know if I made the right choice with you? For some, yeah!  This is marriage!  This is life!  The beauty is you can choose to fight through the mud or you can get trapped in it.  If you get trapped in it and choose to go your own ways, you still will be muddy!  Why not choose to wash it off together and make it better.  It is also important to not become stuck.  Be flexible.  Change with the current.  You will not be the same people 1,5, 10 years from now, so your roles, likes, dislikes, passions will change.  Change with them instead of trying to keep your relationship looking the same over the years.  Life throws many curve balls and it’ll be nice to know that your partner will be there no matter how life changes.

Marriage forces you to calm down, grow up, look at yourself and change you.  Change you before you try to change your partner.  See your flaws before you see their flaws.  Then connect with each other.  Try openness, vulnerability, and honesty to change your marriage.  The road is rocky when you start implementing openness, vulnerability and honesty.  However, if you want true intimacy and connection there is no other way to achieve it. I challenge you to throw the myths and the “one size fits all” mentality out the window and try out a course with your partner. Study your partner. Learn their particular wants, desires, likes and dislikes.  Learn their moods and mannerisms, their clues and cues.  Look beyond the behavior and learn the whys to the behaviors.  It’s your job to know them beyond even what they tell you.  Listen to them when they speak of their childhood for clues as to who and why they are who they are.  If you learn your spouse you will learn everything you need to be the Love Doctor they need!!  As a marriage counselor, I must add if you have trouble with this assignment come see me or any other counselor who promotes individuality vs. cookie cutter marriage.  Here’s to us, here’s to marriage and here’s to having the best marriage we have ever had.  Love is real and possible; it just takes some work to achieve it!