I believe it's only human nature to question any action we make that has the potential to change our lives drastically -- like marriage or even cohabitation. I just read an article on PsychologyToday.com about that very issue. The article suggests that perhaps people going through negative life changes like divorce and custody battles didn't look beyond the question, "Am I with the right person?" to the more important question, "How can we make the marriage or relationship better?" Like the article says: "It is the signal to grow as an individual -- to take responsibility for your own frustrations. Invariably, we yearn for perfection but are stuck with an imperfect human being." Uh, yeah, like Jack. He's nowhere near perfect -- he always tells me to be more of an "owner" in relation to our apartment, but then he turns right back around and doesn't do the dishes. What's up with that?
When we take a step back and invest some time asking ourselves the tough questions, that's what author Rebecca Webber calls "the first day of your real marriage." We're raised to believe that there's only one "true love" for us out there (you know...Prince Charming), which often causes us to question if, indeed, we married that one person. Sure, when you look at it that way, of course you didn't! What are the odds you'd ever find them? I'll tell you: slim. When things aren't turning out all rosy, we turn to our partner and find their faults.
William Doherty, professor of psychology at the University of Minnesota, says, "No one is going to get all their needs met in a relationship." But in mature adult relationships, you should make an effort to rearrange the way you think about those needs. For instance, "I'd like Jack to spend more time going out with me instead of silently reading at home," rather than, "I'm so unhappy because he doesn't want to spend time with me."
When we're busy falling head over heels in love (and lust), we forget that the good also comes with the bad. I didn't marry just Jack's ability to make me laugh or his smokin' hot bod -- I married all of him. It's too easy to blame Jack for everything that might be wrong in our relationship, instead of pointing the blame at myself for my own discontent. In other words, marriage and relationships are about growing to become a better spouse, for both you and your spouse.
I'll be the first to admit that when I'm unhappy for some reason, I point the blame at Jack: Why can't he surprise me more; why doesn't he clean up after himself? But what about me -- maybe I should be more spontaneous, or worry more about cleaning up, since, after all, I'm the neat freak in our relationship. What about you guys -- ever looked at your relationship in this way? Admittedly, it's not exactly a novel concept, but it is something that's often overlooked in the face of finding "the one" for you instead of reassessing the one you're with.