Wednesday, May 6, 2015

How to move your marital bliss past hit or miss

Why is it that marital bliss seems as allusive as BigFoot, or the search for bliss feels a lot like snipe hunting?  Does marital bliss exist and can we achieve it?

The problem might be located in where most people are looking.  For example: Many people will leave one spouse for another based on seeking deeper pleasure.  Their spouse didn't make them as happy as someone else did, they weren't having fun anymore, and they found they fell out of love.  So, they found a more pleasurable partner and started over... only one day to wake up finding they have to maintain or increase that sense of pleasure to have satisfaction, but the mark keeps moving.  In other words, they realize the standard of sizzling-pleasure can't be maintained, it's impossible to keep that rush and increase it so they ask, "Surely there must be more to this?"

One reason many people can't find marital bliss is because of their expectations that their spouse's main job is to make them happy.  Should marriage bring happiness?  Absolutely.  Should it be our spouse's responsibility to make us happy?  No.  That's a big truth that only maturity brings.  Unfortunately, too many people are impatient and don't wait long enough to discover this.

Another reason people can't have marital bliss is rooted in how they treat each other.  Once I was counseling a couple and I noticed one spouse couldn't do "anything" right to make their spouse happy and the other spouse kept increasing the heat.  Finally I  asked the demanding spouse, "Does your spouse Work with you or Work for you?"

And yet another reason people miss the bliss, is because they feel it's their job to improve their spouse.  That's what will drain the joy out of your marriage quicker than flushing your toilet.  Who likes to be judged, corrected, scolded or told constantly they are inferior?

Here's how we find marital bliss in the midst of the hard work of life and family:
#1. See your spouse as a partner in life's journey.  You are equals who need plenty of grace and mercy and you are in this together.  Marriage is hard work because we are selfish by nature and it's hard to share your toys as a child, and even harder to share control as an adult.  It's not hard to share with a partner.

#2. Make an effort to bring as much pleasure into your spouse's life as you would like to receive.  In other words, when we are selfish and expect more from our spouse than we are willing to give, we kill the morale of the marriage and we miss the bliss.  When both spouses are pouring love and attention into each other, it's a win-win and the marriage flourishes.  Give more, expect less, and when this effort is mutual, you will be fully satisfied.

#3.  Finally, when your spouse is your best friend, you will have more bliss.  The person you talk with the most, share your dreams and fears with the most, the one you turn to when you are worried or share your victories with, this will be the person who can bring you bliss.  Sadly, not enough married people act like they are married.  People get married then they act like roommates too often.  Be intentional & purposeful, spend more time with your spouse, and yes, talk more.  But, the goal of the talking is to bond, not to change or challenge.

My wife and I recently celebrated our 27th wedding anniversary and our marriage has plenty of bliss.  Are we perfect people? No.  Do we have disagreements? Yes?  Do we know how to serve each other and walk side-by-side though life together and work things out? Absolutely.  The basis of our marriage is rooted in our theology and our desire to be happily married.  Between a great relationship with God and a willingness to love each other unconditionally sits the ability to have bliss that's beyond hit or miss.  One final secret to a blissful marriage: We have fun together!  So learn to laugh with your spouse and enjoy each other's company, because if you don't, someone else might.

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