I believe most people realize that a marriage should be a rock for your children. It should also be an example of love and kindness that your children can mimic and learn from as they grow in their own relationships. However, many couples fall into a funk where their relationship is based on a tit for tat mindset. This can not only cause issues in the marriage. It can also run over into other areas of your life as well as teach your children that this is how it is supposed to be.
Tit for Tat
What do I mean by tit for tat? What I mean by this is that you will do something for your spouse only if they do something for you. A tally is being kept and the scales in the marriage are to be equal at all times. You do not take more than them and they do not take more than you.
A big issue is that when a relationship is based on keeping things equal, we lose sight of what is important. Is the house work harder than going to work? Is washing dishes worth more than changing the oil in the car, staying with the kids worth less than managing the bank accounts? We each have subject value scales and each of us values these at differing rates of worth. None of those are necessarily worth more than the other.
Don’t keep score in your marriage
You don’t want a 50/50 marriage. A 50/50 marriage is a product of a tit for tat relationship. Your marriage is a living organism. One thing that should be made clear, not necessarily in words but in deeds, is that each of you can take more than you are giving if you need to. I know that when I have a rough day at the hospital I can come home and know that Susie will pour herself into me and let me unburden myself of the stress of my job. Susie knows as well that if her day has been rough that I will cook dinner, I will clean, I will school the children. If you are keeping score and you feel the other person is taking more than they give, you will feel slighted and resentment will build.
Keep the scales balanced sounds great. Each person will do their share and won’t take advantage of each other. This is hogwash! We know that it will happen. You will take more than you give and so will your partner. Marriages, as with all relationships, are always in flux. This week may be different than last week. This month different than last year. This age different than when you were first married. We change, we have bad days and good days, we lose our temper and we are romantic. This is the nature of most marriages to me.
What can you do
There is a natural ebb and flow in relationships. When your wife is sick, you pick up the slack because you love your wife and you want to help out. When your husband has the dreaded man flu, the same happens. This usually happens naturally. As nature has cycles, people and relationships do as well. Being conscious of this natural ebb and flow will allow you to do something that can truly help build a strong successful marriage.
No, I am not going to say something cliche like ” good communication is key”. What will build this marriage is giving more. Having more “positive” positive interactions in your marriage than “negative” ones. What I mean by this is simple. It is like a bank account. The more positive deposits into the bank account the more it grows. The same with marriage. The more positive interactions versus negative interactions will help build your marriage.
This sounds like keep score right? Sorta. You do have to be conscious of having more positive interactions than negative. If you love your spouse though, it should be rather easy to serve. One of the best examples I can think of outside of my marriage is of friends of my wife and me. The wife stayed home to take care of the kids while the husband went to school and work. He was going to school to be a nurse and working to provide for his family. His wife knew it was going to be hard and she handled it. It was not always easy and I am sure they struggled. She gave selflessly to school the children and keep up the house while he gave selflessly to keep them fed and housed as well as building a future. They both contributed in different ways and both gave to each other without thinking of themselves. Neither kept score.
This sacrifice gave them a strong healthy marriage even when going through something as straining as they did for two years.
Is this the only thing that you have to do?
No. We all know that marriage can be tough. However, this can help you have that strong foundation to grow your marriage into what you want to model for your kids. This is not a quick fix, this is not a one and done, and this is not something that you should stop doing. Giving to your partner without keeping score and without expectation of something in return will make both of you happy in the long run and help create that foundation for your marriage, as well as your parenting.
Shawn, this has nothing to do with Liberty
In the infamous words of Donald Trump: Wrong!!! Liberty isn’t simply learning about rights, economics, the non-aggression principle, and when violence can actually be used. I am sure I will catch flack for it but your marriage or your relationship with your partner is the foundation, the ground that you are planting your children in. It isn’t enough to simply talk about principles of liberty it is paramount to model them as much as you can. Live what you know in thought, word, desire, deed. Your marriage to your spouse is the first relationship your kids will see. It has a great influence and impact on them, make it a good one. So make sure you plant your children in an environment that you would want to be in.