5 Simple Steps to a Joy-Filled Marriage
It’s the TV!
That’s the easiest way for my husband to send my eyes whirling around like some mad thing out of a B-grade cartoon. The irritation just floods me!
Imagine it now. SweetP (my beloved) and your’s truly settling in to our comfy chairs side by side in the Family Room at Casa Pink Apple. Our plan? A spot of telly-watching, or more specifically catching up on some of the pre-recorded programs on the PVR.
Cosy? Yes! Shared enjoyment of common interests? Yes! Holding hands? Actually yes! Maybe a quick smooch or pash? Quite possibly if we’re both lucky! Intimate? Well as much as you can be in front of the TV! Contentment-producing? Well it should be, but…
So what could be making me so irritated?
His use of the remote control! (Ah yes! I think I can hear nods of resonance out there in the interwebs.)
You see, my beloved fast forwards through the advertisements differently from the way I do. My way might take longer, but doesn’t usually take us past the return of the program, OR give away the next few minutes of the story!
Should this be a big deal in our marriage? Will his ab/use of the remote control matter in a week’s time? A month? A year?
But boy, does it drive me crazy!
I close my eyes to limit the spoiler impact, and bite my tongue. As I do, through my head buzz the arguments I could put for doing it MY way. (After all my way must be the right way, wouldn’t you say?)
Even though I’m not guilty of saying anything these days, I am thinking negatively about my poor blithely ignorant husband.
In themselves, those negative thoughts won’t harm my husband. After all they don’t even make it to his hearing. But they do taint me and my perspective on him. And this is the man I love and have loved for more than 40 years. This is a man whose opinions I respect and whose brain I admire.
And I know that for a healthy marriage the ratio of positive to negative comments/behaviours (and in this case thoughts) needs to be about 5:1. (Thanks to John Gottman’s fabulous research.)
So to keep my marriage healthy (and to take the heat out of my frustration) I have gradually been schooling myself to follow my internal head-buzzing, invisible eye-rolling, and potentially obvious pursed lips, with five reminders of his many amazingly lovable qualities.
His staunch belief in me, his amazing patience, his ability to soothe me, his desire for our marriage to grow and deepen, and his powerful love of our family.
To the world at large, the obvious signs of a Joy-Filled Marriage might be overt affection, powerful friendship, deep mutual respect and regard, shared dreams, and of course shared laughter.
But to me, after I’ve performed my little mental checklist, the sign is simpler. It’s the fact that he will do it again at the next ad break and still be blithely ignorant of how it annoys me.
In the meantime I’ll have had a quiet smile to myself at the thought of how little things can make a big difference in contributing to the Love Tank we both fill and draw from as we need.
That’s joy to me. That is a kind of intimacy as well as an exercise in choice – choosing to love unconditionally. If only until the next ad break, and we start all over again!
But that’s marriage isn’t it? A lifetime of little moments of joy.
About Our Relationship Space writer
Aussie-based Chris Owen, of Pink Apple, is a Marriage Mentor who helps couples refashion their ordinary marriages into Joy-Filled Marriages that Last a Lifetime. She can be found on Facebook sharing lots of useful, and sometimes amusing, resources for couples.