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Growing Together

November 17, 2021 - Reading time: 3 minutes

We could say that two people are growing together in marriage if it would not sound like a cliché.

Yes, I know that this title sounds kind of trite, and that there probably are a million books with titles like this, which in truth makes me shudder a bit, but the truth is that the sentiment has become too devalued, people aren't dumb, they don't believe in those promises anymore. And yet, knowing this, why did I ever think of placing a title like this on the post today? Well, because there are a few few of us out there still who believe in a title like that.

I am one of them.

Regardless, I know it has been widely abused as the key to our pocket books. But the value is still there, it is not the product of my imagination, we just have to ignore all of the hyped rhetoric that you see around. The values are simple. I can summarize them in just a few words, and it won't cost either of us a thing. But we can both be enriched by them.

Renew your love. This is easy to do. Surprise your loved one, introduce new novelties into your life and enjoy your time together with them. Next, fight the mundane and the routine. Be aware that routine is the main enemy of life together, it is easy to fall into a pattern that works but works against you. It steals the love from a marriage, this is a constant struggle, but it is important to keep fighting and keep giving love without reservation. This can become a good habit, one that allows you to continue to build your love every day. And you can always strive to love more, to maintain affection and tenderness. Because when you give affection and tenderness you are able to express your feelings. When you express your feelings you share, which builds a strong relationship. A practice which makes you permanently anchored in each other's lives; offering a chance to communicated with one another knowing how to do it with tact, prudence, share experiences. But so much can be said without words, sometimes you just need to be next to each other when you need it. Close relationships are those that have been able to adapt. Can the partners get used to the other person's customs, without needing to change them, to love them with their virtues and flaws, to learn to live with differences that make the union strong. Another technique is to jointly develop projects, engage in common tasks, continue to work toward a common goal. And in all things maintain mutual respect through our words and deeds, take care not to forget our manners and courtesy, and make sure we show our appreciation. Finally never forget to find a time to be together and be alone every day, this is our time to talk about everything and anything.

Huh, 307 words. Not enough for a book is it? But it has everything they try so hard to sell us and so much more. It isn't impossible, in fact it is easy once we realize that it is a labor of love.

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It's So Crazy It Might Just Work

November 5, 2020 - Reading time: 6 minutes

I am engaged, many of you know that since I have written about it here a number of times already. But what many of you may not know is that I not only want to get married, I want a working marriage after that point forward when we exchange vows. Most of us do. This has made me interested in the topic of working marriages and what needs to function properly for them to work.

So today I return again to the subject of marriage, since the good weather we've been having was nothing worth writing about and I think it is time to make good marriages "fashionable." After all the marriage models that are sold to us in the news are the celebrity sort, the ones that end in broken marriages or divorces. We see these all the time but have you started thinking about how many marriages are successful? For more than those that fail. If we exclude the Hollywood sort at least. Why is that? They are successful because they are based on effort, since nothing is easy in this life, especially when it is worthwhile.

The last time I asked a friend "What do you do if your company starts selling less?" This is a straightforward question, and one that when targeted toward a business orientated person will be answered likewise. He was quick to answer, he could do many things, create promotions, save costs, hire qualified staff, change strategy, etc. Then I asked him: "would you think about closing your company?" To which he answered: "are you crazy?" In his words he would attempt the impossible before that would happen.

His company means a lot to him as you can tell.

Why don't we act like that when it comes to marriage? Many couples at first disagree or engage in the fights that exist in every marriage, but some think of throwing in the towel without first risking the fighting and learning (hint you don't have to fight in the first place). In this regard, John of the Cross said more than a millennium ago:

"In search of my Love
I will go over mountains and strands;
I will gather no flowers,
I will fear no wild beasts;
And pass by the mighty and the frontiers." 

There appears to be a monopoly on stories of heartbreak which causes some of us to distrust of marriage. I saw a survey once where several hundred married couples from different countries, with a minimum of ten years of marital life, were asked if they considered their union a happy one, even if some misunderstandings and conflicts that they considered normal were present in their lives. The result was that people were happy together, and they had a number of things in common that allowed them to live happily together. We need to understand that happiness is not incompatible with conflicts and crises that can be considered normal.

love birds

Happiness isn't a given, it takes work and time to adjust and refine the loving relationship in the face of successive changes that, over time, occur in conjugal and family life. It helps to remember that getting married is for life and once that is clear that marriage is forever and there will be hurtles to overcome. Understanding this from the beginning allows you to face them together by putting forth the means required to overcome them.

I am aware that love is not a fact fulfilled at the time of the wedding: it is something that is built every day, it is a permanent development and flux. You have to restart it sometime, renew your love every morning, avoid "getting used" to living with each other and falling into simple routine. True love knows how to invent, it knows how to renew itself with creativity. This requires you to use resources to keep the relationship in good condition and prevent possible conflicts: speak openly and in time, acknowledge mistakes, know how to apologize, know how to give up on senseless disputes, reach agreements, offer acts of relief, etc. This is humble, not self-sufficient love, which is shaped and nurtured, one which knows how to learn.

For those blessed with the memory of good parents who really loved each other you have the tools to shape your marriage to be a loving one as well.

An intimate relationship: with kind personal treatment, dialog, sincerity, knowledge and mutual respect; oriented to a possible marriage allow us to see our spouse as the first priority in one's life; give you preferential attention about other people and interests. We can phrase it like this: Be happy as an effect of making the other spouse happy; live to make the two of you happy happy.

Share experiences, problems, moods. Take an interest in each other's important things. Knowing how to enter their world and giving them the means to enter yours. Count on each other when making decisions.

Be friends besides spouses.

Openly express your feelings and overcome possible false modesty and fear of trusting the other spouse completely.

Admire the other and show them that they are admired.

Accept and love the other as they are without pretending to change or adapt to one's own way of being. Living together as people allows you to love each other: sincerity, trust, understanding, respect, good manners, delicacy in treatment, knowing silence, knowing how to listen, not always saying the last word.

Find a time each day to be alone and talk. Enjoy the intimate company with your spouse. Talk about everything and have a good time together. Create pleasant situations that are meaningful and allow you to make good memories.

Take care of the small details every day that make life more pleasant for your relationship.

Resolve conflicts in the day they happen instead of sleeping on them; take the first step to talk; to know how to acknowledge mistakes, ask forgiveness, and forgive.

When clashes arise think of the good memories and resort to good humor, which helps put the situation in perspective and frame the problems clearly allowing you to see reality from a more favorable side.

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Why I Want to Marry My Best Friend

August 6, 2020 - Reading time: 9 minutes

Today there is increasing talk of the increase in divorces and separations, most of us know of a marriage that is close to ruin, or one that has ended in divorce but is only anecdotal as there are also millions of happy marriages that remain anonymous and it is time to make them fashionable, not for them, but because society needs it.

We should not be afraid of failure in our marriage if things are done well from the beginning, because contrary to popular belief the success of marriage does not depend on luck. I have several married friends who have already separated, their marriages did not even last three years, why? One of the main reasons is because they felt that there was no love in their relationship anymore.

But the silly notion should be rephrased, because they didn't not love their partner anymore. You see for there to be love, you have to love. It sounds like a very simple reasoning, but it's not that complicated. We can look at this deeper. It tells us that love is a noun and therefore reflects states, love is a verb and therefore reflects action. Love is static, it doesn't move, it doesn't change, it doesn't grow, it doesn't recover, if it's not loved. Love needs the action of love to create a reaction. That's why love just as it comes is gone and is that to stay you need the verb to love. What is the solution when there is no love anymore? Love, love more. There is a well-known proverb that goes something like: You have to sow love, where there is no love, to reap love.

it is about

Perhaps this is one of the keys to the difference between infatuation and love. Infatuation comes and goes, love is wanted, you seek it, and you work toward building it into something great.

Marriage is work, but it a work of love.

What does it cost something? Because if you don't nurture and tend to it, invest in its wellbeing it doesn't feel the same anymore. It isn't a lack of love. It is a lack of effort. Of course it costs. There's no free beer in life (as my father used to remind his friends). But everything that is worth it, also cost something; either tangible or intangible, the price is present at all times.

Besides, that what does it mean to "feel?"

Definitely the solidity of a marriage cannot be supported by the thought that today I feel like I love you, tomorrow I may feel nothing for you. That isn't what most would define as love. But talking with some of my friends it is as simple as that, taken from this idea I get the feeling that it is increasingly widespread. That when these feelings disappear coexistence is made into any uphill battle, many people start looking outside for what they do not find inside. Instead of focusing their attention and effort on regaining or rebuilding that love they once shared, they get carried away with what they feel is the easiest option: feeling like victims and seeking comfort elsewhere. Something like this is so fundamental, yet drastically affects such intimate aspects of people lives, for this love cannot be based exclusively on something as fragile and brittle as the feelings one feels at this moment. Feelings, by their very nature are oscillating and subject to ups and downs that, in most cases, do not depend on a persons will. They depend on many factors, factors that are internal and external to oneself, some of them are under our control - whether we control them is another thing entirely. Other factors are out of our control, these include such things as climate, tiredness, hormonal disarray and stress make our feelings and moods vary. Marriage must be entrenched and built on something more solid like will and intelligence than one the fluctuation of a whim.

On the other hand, thought must always carry a sentimental component and not only be based on reason. That is, it must be guided by the heart and head, which makes an intelligent love. The true seat of intelligence is not only reason but also the heart.

An intelligent heart and a sensitive reason form an unstoppable duo.

There are aspects of life that are so natural that little to no attention is paid to them. It seems that their development and growth is purely automatic. So it happens too often with marriage that the thought that love is also automatic. What could be more natural? Husbands and wives love each other, right? Why would they get married if they didn't? However the greatest danger of letting this happen naturally is that, being considered natural, it is understood that there is no need to worry about or work for it. This couldn't be further from the truth, the love is there sure, but it still needs to be nurtured. That is precisely why I think that we should devote time to the relationship and build love between the partners. Never, even on the best days should we take anything for granted. From the first moment you feel the butterflies in your stomach you have to take care of that love so that it grows and grows stronger. I know people who tend to think that strong love is one that happens on its own, it sort of awakens this explosive passion and brings with it strong feelings and this in itself is a great danger to true love. The strongest love is the one that means loving the other every day, not making it dependent on strong emotions. You need to learn to love and love precisely when love doesn't seem strong because emotions are lacking. To do this, it is necessary to know what are some of the causes that are the generators of the inevitable crises that occur in all marriages.

Show love to know love

The question is not: How much can I benefit, but how much can I give in marriage? Other causes are the bad character traits we each have in one form or another, the routine, the attention to the media that transmits negative values, or pride and selfishness, which are the origin of almost all defects, just as humility and simplicity, are the foundation of almost all qualities.

There is a belief as false as it is diffuse, it holds that when love exists, there should be no difficulties or obstacles. In this way, when conflicts come up, it is interpreted that love is losing strength and quality.

One of the best articles on marriage I have read defined the keys of success in marriage based on a survey of one hundred couples (sorry I can't find a link to it right now) from different countries, with a minimum of ten years of marital life. The participants where asked it they considered their union to be happy, even if some conflicts existed which they considered normal were not lacking in their lives. The couples who responded the happiest shared their success factors:

  • Avoid words, actions or gestures that are offenses by all means.
  • Learn to shut up and avoiding useless arguments.
  • Accept the other as is and love them with their flaws.
  • Talk after a dispute, do not let them turn to wounds.
  • Whoever gives up the effort to make the marriage work has signed the death sentence of their marriage. It's about fighting, not always winning.
  • Always influence the affection, a kiss can be given in a thousand ways, a held hand, or holding open the door, there are a thousand ways to show you care.
  • Marry for life: be clear that marriage is forever.
  • Use all of your resources to keep the relationship in good condition and prevent potential conflicts: speak up on time, acknowledge mistakes, know how to apologize and know how to give in.
  • Living together as people who love each other: Sincerity, trust (avoid having secrets with each other), understanding, respect, good manners, delicacy in treatment, being quiet, knowing how to listen, not always having the last word.
  • Take care of the small details every day that make life more pleasant for each other.
  • Do not keep a record of the spouse's transgressions, nor throw things in their face. Try to live in the present and look forward to the future.

The secret of marital happiness lies in everyday life, not in dreams. Happier couples don't always have the best of everything, they just know how to get the best out of what they have.

Basically the human virtues that most of us strive for everyday are the secret that lead to maturity and happiness. The acquisition of virtues in marriage leads to finding one's own happiness seeking the happiness of the other. Happiness is not achieved by striving to be happy, but by seeking to make others happy. Happiness is the result of a life of dedication to others; that's why you can be happy even if you suffer. Spending part of the day thinking about small things that can improve the relationship with the spouse means "shielding" the marriage. It is not only enough to be a husband or a wife, but to be a content spouse, that is, to behave as such.

Problems are calmed not by a shout, but with a caress.