Have you noticed everything these days has to be upgraded? Upgrade processes; upgrade products, upgrade services, and so on. It’s amazing isn’t it? One thing I noticed the upgrading process has in common is improvement. When you say “I’m upgrading the way I do my home budget”, you are actually saying you are improving your home budget. The “upgrading” process makes things better than they were, more profitable, more meaningful, more fulfilling. Similarly, with the passage of time, there is need to examine and upgrade the original foundations of your marriage and match them to the current times. If the marriage is under traditional values and you now embrace an urban lifestyle, that marriage may need an upgrade. The danger of ignoring the upgrading process is being declared irrelevant, being exposed to an unfulfilled life, a life where you cannot attain congruence anymore since the goals are no longer visible. Similarly, when the original foundations conflict with the present lifestyle, threats on marriages become common, frequent, and real.
Every marriage requires an upgrade. This process requires a critical self-examination with a determination to identify and eliminate redundant and retrogressive areas that cause hurt, hate, and increased frequency of missed opportunities in attaining congruence, which yields more happiness, and increased moments of delight. Marriages that do not change with the times face the severe tests and could inevitably end in separation or divorce.
What hinders most couples from reaching that point, of seeking an upgrade, is pride. They want to be seen as okay: they consider other relationships as more important than their marriage; It is like holding a clean cup, but refusing to drink from it because the inside is dirty. My challenge is “you have been in that marriage long enough, dare to upgrade it, dare to change how you handle situations, and determine to attain congruence, yield more happiness and increase moments of delight.
There steps to follow through the upgrade process are few and harmless.
First, deal with issues as they emerge – too often couples address things that are not a real threat to our marriage. We use so much energy addressing irrelevant things, leaving us drained and frustrated to handle the real issues. Many years ago, the “Doom” marketers used a comic strip of Batman killing a bothersome fly with a “semi-automatic”, while he could have used a “doom “can. In essence then we identify the problem, but the resources we use to address the problem is overrated, and we get frustrated because the problem still persists, regardless of what we do to address it. You probably could be using a “semi” instead of using a “doom” can.
Every problem encountered in marriage has a solution. I know that for a fact. But the couples have to keep their eyes on the issue and be patient in dealing with it. The solution is not always easy, and sometimes strategies have to be changed. The problem though, couples get easily destructed by “marriage actors” visibly present in every social gathering – if you see what I mean. Every marriage has its tests, and many marriages comprise gifted actors. In the process of acting though, they learn how to deal with issues, until they become non-issues. Leave the actors alone and if your marriage needs an overhaul, go for it. Identify the specific area that needs most work and start doing something about it. Part of it may be acting – that is fine- after all you have to start somewhere.
Make an effort towards your problem. If you do not move, that problem will remain there, and will keep bothering you, until you act on it or it wears your brains out and you die frustrated and a failure in marriage. If you think it’s your spouse who should act first, you’ve got another one coming. Don’t wait on your spouse, and do what you got to do. Keep doing the right thing – the light will dawn in him or her and join you eventually. You will be glad you started.
If you identify a problem, it’s your problem not your spouse’s, and it will never be your spouse’s until you bring it to their attention. Act on it in a civil and mature manner, like two people helping their best friend overcome a challenge. Don’t start shouting at your spouse how he or she will never change because when you do, you have set your expectation too low. Go for it with a high expectation – spouses dream too. You came into the marriage with dreams of children, houses, cars, big monies and all. Address them like your life depended on what action you take. Do not allow yourself to be misdirected by anything. Be specific to what the problem is, not the symptoms, not the late coming, not the dirty house – be specific.
Keep in mind the longer you take to address issues, the longer it will take to resolve them. You are better off identifying and talking about issues when they show up. There’s no benefit in waiting and bringing them during thanksgiving when your spouse suggests you visit their parents, or when your spouse needs a favor from you.
Secondly, be real –You cannot allow your marriage to degenerate this low and expect an easy fix. As I’ve always said; it’s hard enough for twins to live together, how about two strangers brought together by this strange thing we call “love”? How much easier is it for them? Yet when you know in your heart that even though my spouse is stubborn, I’m in it for the long haul – give it your all. True, some spouses demand from each other things/actions that are not feasible or practical. This brings frustrations and even pushes some spouses to some strange addictions. There was this couple, where the wife kept referring to how loving “other husbands” are to their wives, but the more she referred to “other husbands” the more agitated the husband would be, and understandably so. Marriage comprises two people, most of the times actors who show up there real colors after the show is over. Don’t accept to be fooled by what you see, and blindly drive your marriage to the rocks. Every marriage is unique, and should not be compared.
It always delights me when my hawk eyes notices some ‘things’ going on in some marriages. Some couples react openly and ask for help, others cover up their spouses like there’s nothing wrong in their marriage, and yet others go on quietly marinating on their cause of action “after the show”. Yet there are others constantly in a combative mood and you had better not be in their path. Be real, what is it you want of your spouse? Is it realistic, is it possible? Perchance one spouse lost a job, how do you work it out together? What do you need to adjust? Perhaps one spouse is not bringing home enough pork, reminding him/her to get another job, or sell the truck, or do nursing is not going to help, in fact, you may just be compounding the problem.
Be real – the fact that another couple solved their problem in a particular way does not mean yours will follow the same path. Be real and adjust solutions to your situation. I assure you the more realistic you are the more your spouse will see you as supportive and caring.
Finally, make majority of the decisions together. My view is if you want to do something, anything, share it with your spouse. Give your spouse time to digest your suggestion, don’t rush you decision on them. After a while, go back and ask if they thought about what you had suggested. This works wonders. You would rather be guilty of sharing too much information than not at all.
Merry Christmas and happy upgrading!