Marriage Is Give and What?

We usually think of the phrase as “Give and Take.” In other words, everything needs to be 50/50. We can take as much as we give. This makes everything equal and everyone should be happy. The problem is that this simply does not work in life and especially within a marriage. When it comes to marriage, “take” is not a word that should be there.

The problem with too many marriages is that this is exactly the word that is used. We live in a world where we have been taught to take what we want. Nobody else is going to give it to us, so we must reach out and take it.

“Taking” Works In Some Situations

With some aspects of life, this is a pretty good philosophy. If we want happiness, we are the ones who must go after it. If we want a good job, we must prepare for it and pursue it until we get it. If we want a good vacation, we must plan for it and take it. However, all of this deals with “things,” not people.

“Taking” Destroys a Marriage Relationship

When we take this attitude into a marriage, we will bring destruction, not construction. “Things” are not a part of a marriage relationship, another person is. When we have the  attitude that we will take what we want in our marriage, it will create separation, not unity. Marriage is not a competition, it is cooperation between two very different people. Marriage must be based on harmony, not dis­cord. Marriage should bring about unity, not disunity.

It is all right to take what we want, as long as it is not taken from another person. Marriage is a relationship with another person and whatever we take in a relationship is almost always taken from our partner. We may gain, but our partner loses.

When our partner loses something, have we really gained? Since in a marriage relationship, our partner is half of who we really are, we have only taken from ourself. So, the net effect is that we started putting a wedge between ourself and our spouse and in doing so, we lose more than we could have ever gained.

“Receiving” Grows a Marriage Relationship

Yet, on the other hand, if both partners are giving and no one is receiving, the net effect is still zero. Here is the secret; we receive from our spouse, not take. We accept what our spouse offers to us, not take what they don’t offer. Therefore, the slogan we need to establish is “Marriage is give and receive.”

Sometimes, receiving is not very easy to do. Our own de­sires and wishes get in the way. Sometimes, our spouse is not willing to give what we want. On the other hand, he/she wants to give what I don’t want. How do we handle this? Actually, it is a two step process.

How to Receive

First, graciously accept what is offered, even if it means nothing to you. Who knows, what is offered, whether it is something tangible or something intangible, like another way to serve a meal, may be better and more enjoyable than you think. Most important, though, when it is offered, it is pleasing your spouse to give it to you.

Why is this important? In a real marriage, your spouse’s feelings should be more im­portant to you than your own feelings.

Second, if sharing is a con­tinuing part of your marriage, you will find that through this proc­ess of sharing, much can be accomplished. Compromise is a part of any successful marriage. Compromise that not only satisfies each partner, but ac­tually fulfills each other.

Open Communication

What if, after trying it, you simple don’t like what is being offered? Here is where open communication is absolutely necessary. Unless we feel free to discuss matters with our spouse, there can never be true giving and receiving.

We need to be able to receive criticism, as well as praise. And we need to be able to give criticism without putting the other person down.

What happens if we do say something that hurts our spouse? Once again, open communication is the key. We need to be able to feel that we can tell our spouse what hurt and why. And our spouse must be open to receiving what we have to say.

The Result of Giving and Receiving

So, sometimes what we re­ceive is pleasurable and some­times it is not. Either way, we must be willing to receive whatever is given is an open loving way.

Receiving what is offered actually gives your spouse the opportunity and pleasure of giving himself/herself to you. So you are not only adding to your own life by receiving what is offered, you are adding to the life of your spouse by allowing him/her to share with you.

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