Ok Samantha, you promised me that The Codex was about staying motivated, avoiding burnout, and living up to my fullest potential. I’m not really sure how this one relates to staying motivated.
Let me show you how. : -)
There are numerous reasons why a healthy and flourishing relationship with your spouse is critical to not only a wonderful life, but also to your dreams and creativity.
Like it or not, the person you committed to spending your life with has a lot of power over your dreams. They’re Thor and you’re Mjölnir. You’re a mighty and powerful force to be reckoned with, and in this big giant world only one person can truly influence you—and that’s your spouse. They have a beautiful and unique place in your life that nobody else comes close to touching.
They’re nestled inside of a very privileged place in your heart. When the relationship with them isn’t going well, working on your dreams or aspirations is going to take a back seat. Even if you think things are so bad in the relationship that you can’t ever see it getting better, your heart won’t totally give up and decide it it can focus on something else 100%. When your relationships are healthy, your work is healthy. When they’re not, your passions are going to suffer.
And the best way to have an amazing relationship with your spouse is to truly understand them.
Here are the main reasons that prove that to be true:
1. When you understand someone, it opens your eyes to so many critical things that help the relationship.
You’ll see what your loved one’s needs are and how to meet them; you’ll see what causes them stress and makes them unhappy; you’ll see what negative things in their life cause them to give you less respect and love than you deserve (and how you can help them); you’ll see how your actions might be impacting them for good or bad.
We all have things to deal with, especially our spouses. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our needs and trying to keep our heads above water that we forget about taking care of our spouse. Being human, they can end up doing the same thing. If there’s friction and bad juju between you, either of you could be to blame (yes even if it feels like it’s their fault). Understanding them, and yourself, will help you pinpoint when things aren’t going quite right.
2. Happy spouse, happy life.
I’ve never liked the phrase “happy wife, happy life.” First, it makes women sound like unhappy vindictive people. Second, what about husbands? As a wife, I’m not happy if my husband isn’t happy. If he and I are in a disagreement, I absolutely cannot focus on any of my work. Do you experience the same thing?
This is what I mean by happy spouse, happy life. Not that I better keep my spouse happy or my life will be miserable, but rather I’m not satisfied unless I know my hubby is taken care of. Once that’s right, I can wholly focus on my work.
Accomplishing dreams and fulfilling goals is great, but to me it’s completely worthless if I lose my family in the process.
3. You are each other’s support.
You’ve made a commitment to them, and they to you. At some point, you’ll need their support or help. At another point, they’ll need you.
Without a doubt, if you take the time to deeply get to know your spouse, you’ll see when these times are coming. If your wife is always trying to lose some pounds and you know holiday season stresses her out, maybe you can start working out and invite her along with you before the sugary madness starts. If your husband texts you from work telling you how bad his day is going, take the time to contemplate how he handles situations like this, and consider how you can help him recharge once he gets home.
If an unexpected emergency strikes your family, quickly compose yourself and think about how your loved one will be handling it, and more importantly, how you can help them get through it.
So you can see why it’s important to genuinely understand your spouse, right? Without truly knowing them, you can’t anticipate their touchy spots (and thus avoid fights), or have a truly harmonious life, or have a solid and unbreakable partnership.
You might be hesitant to admit that though, because that leads you to ask, “Well how the heck do I do that?” Sometimes it can be hard to understand someone. Men in particular have been fed the lie that women are impossible to fathom. Please don’t believe that.
There are three easy ways to easily nail this goal:
1. Read a book about them.
Ok first, stop rolling your eyes. Books are great places to start because they’re written by a neutral third party. The person isn’t in your relationship and has no clue who your spouse is—so when you read parts that sound oddly familiar (he always says I’m nagging), pay close attention to the explanation for it (because when women remind men to do something it makes them feel like a failure).
All men and women, no matter our backgrounds or where we hail from on this planet, are strikingly similar. Men’s hormones make them one way, women's another. Many books have collected these similarities into bite-sized snippets that are easy to digest.
As they were recommended to me long ago, I highly recommend Love and Respect (by Eggerichs), Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul (Eldridge), Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man’s Soul (Eldredge), and of course, The Five Love Languages (Chapman). All four of these are GOOD and so very insightful! They’re also written from the Christian worldview, but I think the majority of principles can be applied across the board, no matter your background.
2. Picture a day in their life.
Again, stop rolling your eyes! This is a seriously powerful exercise. Picture your spouse. What’s the first thing they do when they wake up? What’s their first worry of the day? Maybe it’s making it to work on time, or feeding the baby, or making coffee, or one of the hundred things you see them do but you never think twice about.
Do you think they enjoy making that coffee every morning, or is it because they're still exhausted from the day before? Or that they love repeatedly making breakfast for the entire family before they rush off to work? Odds are, they’re doing those things because they have to for your family, not because they enjoy them.
Next scene. When they get dressed for the day, do they feel like a million bucks? Or do they have old frumpy clothes that they despise? When was the last time you offered to get them a new outfit, even if it’s from a super-inexpensive store?
You’d be surprised by how much a spouse offering something so seemingly small can make your loved one’s day (men, especially your wives.) Do they like their hair? Are they in need of a haircut or dye? Men, when was the last time you gifted your lady a spa day? Again, women desire to feel beautiful for you; small things like outfits, hair, and spa can make her feel like the belle of the ball.
Ladies, do you tell your husband he’s a champ and handsome stud before he leaves for work? If he has to work late, do you complain about how it’s an inconvenience for you, or do you tell him how much you appreciate him working so hard for your family? If he has to work late, chances are he’s not thrilled either. You reaming into him isn’t going to make him feel like your hero. If anything, it’s going to make him susceptible to the attention of women at his job who do notice how hard he works.
When the end of their day rolls around, what does your spouse like to do to relax? Do you let them? Or do you dictate their schedule for them? If you demand they spend all their time with you when you know they enjoy other things too, who does it benefit to keep them there? If your man likes tinkering in the garage, it will only help your relationship to give him the freedom to do so. If your woman enjoys reading with a glass of wine, let her.
You and your spouse are a team—and each person is an individual.
Don’t make them meld personalities with you until there’s nothing left of them. That’s not why you fell in love with that person.
Once their head hits the pillow to fall asleep for the day, how does your dearest loved one judge their day? What criteria do they use to determine if the day was a failure or success? For example, if your wife is trying to lose weight, she might be kicking herself by the end of the day if she blew her diet. If you don’t know, maybe you could ask them. Your loved one might not know the answer at first, but they’ll appreciate you asking.
3. To better understand your spouse, honestly examine how you’re treating them.
Armed with what you learned in books and your imaginations, take a deep look at how you’ve been treating them. Are you fulfilling their deepest needs? Are you speaking their love language? Or are you coming at them how you want to be treated, not how they want to be?
If you think your spouse is a raging jerk and always will be, that’s usually not accurate. Yes, some people are unpleasant and refuse to change. However, most people can and will once they’re treated better.
Men, remember Te Fiti from Moana? (Yeah I just went there; watch it if you haven’t already!) She is such a powerful symbol of what can happen to a woman if her heart isn’t treated the way she needs it to be. Women are tough (like men) and will adapt as necessary to protect themselves from further pain. Sometimes that means turning into a lava-throwing demon (Te Ka).
But when you take the time to genuinely understand her—her hurts, insecurities, dreams, desires—she’ll turn back into the captivating and lovely woman you fell in love with.
Husbands, I encourage you to do this before another man does. A woman walking around with unmet needs or pains that you haven’t acknowledged is just waiting to be cared for, whether she intends to be or not. When an attentive and caring man comes along and notices the things you’re ignoring, it can be nearly impossible for her to resist his adoration.
Women, remember the Beast from Beauty and the Beast? (Really Samantha, another Disney movie? Heck yeah!) He was abrupt, rude, and aggressive. What was at the root of it all though? Insecurity. Doubt that any woman could love him; that he would ever be enough. The beast is a solid example of how a man can get when his heart isn’t cared for (yes, as it turns out, men do have hearts!).
Wives, I also encourage you to make sure your husband feels like he’s your hero before another woman does. If you’re always yelling at, controlling, or otherwise emasculating him, you’re making him weak to another woman’s advances. How can you expect him to resist someone who looks at him with wonder in their eyes if all he ever sees in yours is disappointment and ridicule?
Okay so this blog turned into a counseling session, but taking care of your spouse is a big factor in whether your dreams will ever come to fruition. I can’t focus on a work of fiction (i.e. fake world with fake people) when things aren’t right with the most important and real person in my life. I have a feeling your hobbies or business endeavors aren’t as fulfilling, either, when things aren’t going well with your closest loved one.
Understanding your spouse will allow you to better take care of them, and them take care of you. When things are humming along merrily in your home, your mental energy can freely flow to your other endeavors, rather than the stress of sharing a home with the Beast or Te Ka. More importantly, you are each other’s rock in this life. A common understanding between the two of you will allow your loved one to turn to you, and you to them, without hesitation.
There is nothing more beautiful than being each other’s refuge from the world. <3
Now it’s your turn! What do you think? Tell us in the comments below.
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