Keep the staleness out of your marriage


Published: Thursday, January 26, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 25, 2006 at 1:44 p.m.
Q: Nona, I love my husband, but lately I find myself thinking about what life would be like if I were single. I often feel like he has taken me and our marriage for granted. He no longer makes me feel special and I find myself receiving more compliments from my co-workers and friends than him on how I look. I feel so empty and it seems like the more I tell him how I feel, the more distant he becomes. What should I do?
A: Well, the first thing you must do is erase any thoughts of single-hood. You are a married woman who made a covenant with God that you would let nothing but death separate you and your husband.
Next, you must figure out what the root issues are in your marriage. If what you say is true, your husband's behavior is only a symptom of the true problem. Now, I am not going to assume what that problem is, but I encourage you to do everything in your power to figure it out.
While it is true that human beings can begin taking one another for granted when they believe they know everything there is to know about one another, or have done everything there is to do with one another, it is not a given that it will happen. As such, we must exercise our power to keep our marriage out of the "stale-mate" zone.
If your husband used to be very romantic and complimentary yet has changed this behavior through the years, realize that this does not necessarily mean that he loves you any less. In the beginning of a relationship we all put our best foot forward, expressing interest in the things that our partner likes but that we may dislike, and talking endlessly about nothing when we would much rather be sleeping or doing something "productive." But, there comes a point in the relationship when we forget how special the other person is and begin treating them worse than we treat an acquaintance.
What I would suggest to you is simple in theory, yet a little more difficult in practice. It is what I call the "Marital Law of Reciprocation." What I have learned in my own marriage is that, in order to grow together, my husband and I had to learn what makes the other happy, then do it without a selfish motive of personal gain. In return, we always received more than our fair share of what would make us happy.
Case in point, I love tenderness. Tenderness says to me, "I absolutely adore you and could think of no better way to spend this moment than with you." Tenderness is not pre-meditated. It is a character quality that I do not have to remind someone to "do" because tender is what a person "is." To me, there is nothing more fulfilling than for my husband to grab, hold and massage my hand while driving around town or look me deep in the eyes and tell me "I love you" in that serious and non-pretentious way.
However, I was frustrated for some time early in our marriage because I did not understand the law of reciprocation. I knew what my husband liked, but was not motivated to do it because, though he knew what I liked, he didn't do it.
One day we talked about it and I found out that he was dealing with the same emotional and mental struggles as I was. That is when we realized the importance of concentrating on your spouse. No matter what they do or do not do, you have to treat them as if they were meeting every need and desire you have. It is at this point, and only at this point, where you will be completely fulfilled.
So, in conclusion, love your husband as you wish to be loved. Compliment him, go out of your way to make him feel special. As I have said before, I firmly believe that we must all live the change that we wish to see in others. Only then will we see clearly enough to help guide them down the right path.
E-mail NonaCJones@yahoo.com. Jones is a motivational speaker in the North Central Florida area. Visit www.WTSWLG.Bravehost.com for more information.

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