Perhaps it’s even left your mouth. We all have moments of frustration where we’re just about ready to throw in the towel.
Despite how frustrated you may be at times, throwing in the towel is probably not in your (or your spouse’s) best interest. All of us experience storms in life, but eventually they pass, the clouds disperse, and the sun comes back out.
Of course, there are those situations and circumstances that may be beyond repair. Our hearts go out to those couples dealing with very challenging issues, whether it be addiction, abuse, or any other severe difficulties. This would require nurturing through close friends and family and even professional assistance.
Interestingly enough, studies have shown that individuals and couples experiencing marital problems generally expressed a higher degree of overall happiness when they stayed married - despite their challenges - rather than getting divorced.
This goes to show that for couples who aren’t experiencing major challenges, divorce doesn’t really solve the “I’m just not happy anymore,” problem. Sure, marriage can be difficult - but, divorce is difficult too. However, your marriage can improve along with your overall happiness, it just requires a bit more effort and endurance.
“Marriage brings greater possibilities for happiness than does any other human relationship. Yet some couples fall short of their full potential. They let their romance become rusty, take each other for granted, allow other interests or clouds of neglect to obscure the vision of what their marriage really could be. Marriages would be happier if nurtured more carefully” - Russell M. Nelson, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Ensign, May 2006
So, how can we improve our marriages?
Here are some ideas that might assist in the nourishing and nurturing of your marriage relationship.
Talk with your spouse about what kind of marriage you want to have. Look at the needs and wants of your spouse and understand what they are looking for in your relationship together. Understand that they may be different to what you are looking for – that is where the understanding comes in.
Think about and share positive memories, making space for hope. If things are not what they used to be share some of the good memories you have had together and realise that there is hope if you are willing to work at it.
Share memories of when you overcame challenges together. Likewise remember how that when things were difficult, you were able to work together to overcome those challenges and it worked, you got through it. Also, whenever you get over an obstacle, especially in your relationship, don’t forget to celebrate. Always celebrate your victories.
Create small, meaningful rituals for when you part and come back together. When you make up, mark the occasion with a lunch or dinner or just spend an hour or two together and show your affection towards one another. Note it down in your diary and refer to it often as a reminder to continue to work to keep your relationship alive and happy.
Tell your children regularly what you admire about your spouse. You will find that as you constantly tell your children these positive things you will find it difficult to ever speak negatively of your spouse.
Is everyone aware of the powerful influence our marriages have on our children?
“Marriage … has to do not only with immediate happiness, but also with eternal joys. It affects not only the two people involved, but also their families and particularly their children … down through the many generations” - Spencer W. Kimball (1895-1985)
“The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother” -
A principle action that will assist in any marriage relationship is the principle of solemn prayer. Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire. Pray to the source of all goodness and the great fountain of eternal knowledge.
Pray to our God that knows all your troubles and difficulties, who understands your frustrations and is also aware of the outcomes. Pray for each other, husband and wife, pray for your happiness, pray for the strength to overcome your challenges. Pray for your children and your families.
“Pray for the love which allows you to see the good in your companion. Pray for the love that makes weaknesses and mistakes seem small. Pray for the love to make our companion’s joy your own. Pray for the love to want to lessen the load and soften the sorrows of your companion.”
Henry B Eyring – LDS First Presidency
Of course love is a key element in any marriage relationship, but if you want to nourish and nurture your marriage there other principles that are just as important like effective communication, enduring trust and total respect.
Love comes and goes, but respect endures, and provides the space for love to flow and prosper.
“You come to love not by finding the perfect person, but by seeing an imperfect person perfectly” — Sam Keen
And finally, 1 Corinthians, 13:7 - “Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints