Most couples strive for the perfect wedding day. They make sure every detail is spot on and every part of the ceremony goes flawlessly. After all, it should be a celebration of love and beginnings. Think back to weddings you’ve attended, or even your own. Such effort is put into the increasingly popular same-day edit videos, which highlight the best parts of your special day, all set to a song you love.
But what about the days after your wedding? No editing, just real life. A life that is not without struggle. It’s easy to think of a difficult marriage as ugly or embarrassing, but one psychologist believes otherwise. In his 30 years of counseling couples, he has learned that there is no right or wrong way to be married. Dr. John Gressel writes on Psychology Today, drawing from his own 35-year marriage, he believes that the idealistic view many hold of marriage is linked to the “ideals of youth.”
Though the start of a marriage, the so-called honeymoon period, is full of bliss, reality soon sets in and couples will realize that they cannot predict what will go on in their marriage just as much as they can’t guarantee their health or finances. Not having gone through intense struggles yet, they tend to face the challenges of life with increasing worry and it might even strain their marriage.
Dr. Gressel likened the two types of marriages to two trees. The first, younger tree, symbolizes a new marriage, fresh and full of life, so it’s easy to see it is beautiful. The second tree, the “gnarly one,” shows signs of aging and scars of what it has overcome through the years. This one represents a long term marriage. Over time, he writes, he’s come to appreciate the older tree, because it stands proudly in resilience, durability, and strength. He believes it is far more beautiful.
Thriving in a difficult marriage
Dr. Gressel clarifies that couples shouldn’t strive to have struggles or to fight, he hopes that taking a different perspective will help those who find themselves in seemingly hopeless situations stand strong. Bearing their scars with pride, growing and bearing fruit despite how they’ve been bruised.
Remind yourself of the word of “commitment,” says ProDad.com, and the lasting promise it holds. Vowing to be with someone through the “thick and thin” times of life doesn’t mean sticking with them through the pretty parts and then contemplating leaving them when things get tough.
To be clear, difficulties like abuse in marriage should not be tolerated in any form. The difficulties we are highlighting here are the testings and trials of life that you face as a couple.
When faced with difficulties, use it as an opportunity to grow together. Affirm your partner; refrain from blaming them. Be accountable for your own personal growth. Make your definition of love deeper and make your expression of it even more consistent each day.
READ: 42 Things people in happy marriages should NEVER do
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