Creating and sustaining a healthy and mutually attentive marriage/relationship requires a shared willingness to commit again and again to the relationship as opposed to our individual needs and wants. I’ll say that again, a healthy marriage/relationship that can stand the test of time, as well as the challenges of life requires a continuously renewed commitment to the relationship as opposed to our own individual needs and wants.
When working with dating, premarital and married couples, I usually discuss the value of an improper fraction that adds balance and value to their relational lives. That improper fraction is WE/ME. It’s improper because it’s not balanced, the top is heavier than the bottom… A healthy marriage/relationship is about putting the needs of the couple unit/relationship above or over the needs of the individuals within the relationship. Our ability and willingness to commit to the quality of the relationship above our personal desires has benefits for the couple and the individual partners; these benefits include greater connection and intimacy, increased harmony, and the resolve to pursue shared goals and purpose.
Greater connection and intimacy- When both partners are intentional about prioritizing the relationship there is a present sense that WE come first which informs the degree to which we feel and express our connectedness. When I know my partner has our relationship as a central focus, this fosters a closeness in my mind and heart that flows into and fuels our emotional and physical connection.
Increased harmony- When both partners are eager to consider the relationship first, this impacts the degree to which they are able to live and love with an increased capacity to understand and work to accommodate each other’s needs and wants. When partners feel connected and understood, this increases their willingness to work together on one accord as they demonstrate “we’re in this together”.
Resolve to pursue shared goals and purpose- When both partners see themselves as teammates whose presence and participation are integral to their success, they firmly decide or resolve to pursue their shared goals and purpose. While each partner has gifts and talents, there is something almost magical about the union of said individuals and how their purposes align and take on a life of its own. When both partners choose to prioritize the relationship over his/her wants or needs in the moment, the couple WINS! When couples win, healthy marriages are sustained, men and women feel connected and cared for, children can grow up with models of healthy relationships and communities are strengthened by the presence and preservation of the family unit, as headed by healthy couples who consistently make the conscious decision and effort to choose WE over ME!
Please be mindful, this emphasis of WE over ME is in no way intended to permit abusive or otherwise inappropriate actions or treatment between partners. Where there are issues of abuse or maltreatment, each partner faces choices that honor his/her overall safety and wellbeing above all else. If you want to improve the quality of your relationship or have concerns regarding this topic contact me.