We all have dreams. We all have certain desires that we want to see unfold in our lives. Sometimes in a marriage, the couple has the same dreams and desires, sometimes they don’t. Jose and I both have the same dream to have a Christ-centered home. I have a dream to have a musical family. He has a dream to have a hardworking family. All of our dreams, when based on righteous principles are good. The key is to be able to help each realize those dreams in a marriage and family. Most of the time this comes with compromise. We must talk about our dreams and be humble and open so that both in the partnership feel fulfilled. At times we may not be able or even willing to express what is driving a dream. When this happens is creates conflict in our marriage.
The best way to overcome conflict in a marriage is charity. What is charity? We are told that charity is the pure love of Christ, but what does that actually entail? There are 3 aspects of charity that we must remember: Love FOR Christ, love FROM Christ, and love LIKE Christ. Each of these has different actions tied to it. As we grow our love for Christ, we study about Him and get to know Him and His Atonement more. As we get to know Him and have our love for Him strengthened, we realize how much He loves us. This is not only seeing His love for our own selves, but for those around us. This realization opens our eyes and helps us to love like Christ. We are able to see others as Christ sees them. Are attitude and actions towards others change and become softer and more understanding. When we learn to love like Christ, instead of getting upset with our husband that he came home and went straight to the TV rather than saying hello or helping with dinner, we think “he must have had a stressful day and needs to destress”. We could bring him a drink of water, sit with him, and ask him how his day went. We look for the strengths in our spouses rather than always digging and focusing on the weaknesses (which we all have might I add). I don’t like when my husband focuses on my weaknesses, so maybe I should stop worrying about his weaknesses.
Wendy Watson stated, “the best-kept secret in many marriages is the strengths spouses see in each other…An interesting fact about commending your spouse is that the more you do it, the more you see in him or her to commend.” In response to this quote, Brother Goddard states in his book Drawing Heaven into Your Marriage, “What a wise design! Rather than re-working our partners to our liking, we are invited to cover their weaknesses with our charity! God is serious about cultivating our charity”.
How often do we hear women (and sometimes men) say that they changed their husbands or trained their husbands? Men are not dogs to be trained. A healthy relationship is a communion between two people willing to set aside their own desires and differences. Marriage is consecration at its best. A marriage is not just between two, however. A healthy relationship includes a 3rd party. This 3rd party comes from above. The following diagram shows a visual of how the couple comes closer together in their marriage as each of them humble themselves and turn towards Christ. I love the Spanish word for marriage: Matrimoni. It says it right in the word that marriage is between three people: MaTRImoni.
Marriage is not simple or easy by any means, but the formula is simple. Have charity and look towards Christ. I know that as we each apply those principles in our marriages, any marriage can work.