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Becoming the Marriage Magi

“I’ll give you all of me, and you give me all of you” John Legend promises his love in his latest wedding song. Although romantically poetic, those of us who have been married or in a long-term relationship for any length of time know that our best actions are not always reciprocated in the way that we feel they were given. Take for instance my most recent experience:

So there I sat at a busy intersection in the middle of rush hour with an overheated car, two crying babies, and an impatient five year old. Here I was trying my best to be the supportive spouse and everything had gone wrong. My day had gone pretty smoothly, before I found myself at the intersection. I had managed to clean the kitchen, bathrooms, do three loads of laundry, scrub floors, all in between nursing the twins. Then at 2:45 that afternoon, my phone rang. To my annoyance, my husband on the other end of the line, asked me to take a tuxedo back to the store from a wedding we had attended the previous weekend. To say that I was miffed is an understatement. Three hours and four jugs of water for a leaky radiator later, I finally made it back home. I had a very terse speech prepared for Mike the minute he walked through the door. However, when he walked in and laid his lunch box on the table, the words refused to come. His eyes were beyond weary and his arm was bandaged from cutting metal. “Babe, thanks for taking the tux back for me, you’re the best,” he said. My heart melted as I realized that he had had an equally challenging day, and if I could do something to lighten his burden, then I was okay with that.

“Love your curves and all your edges, all your perfect imperfections” Legend continues. Sometimes, the imperfections that we thought were endearing as newlyweds can become downright aggravating as time goes on. But embracing these “flaws” and giving 100 percent of yourself to their needs is so rewarding, because there will be times when your spouse is the only one giving 100 percent of themselves to you. It has been said that people fall into three categories in every relationship: givers, matchers, and takers. Givers tend to care for the needs of others, matchers keep score and make sure that they always receive something in return, and takers contribute nothing to the relationship and their main focus is themselves. Obviously, the most successful relationship is that of the giver. Feeling unappreciated and taken advantage of can derail the energies of the giver. When this happens, talk to your spouse about it (read my post “Five Ways to Handle Conflict in Your Marriage”).

No relationship can work without both parties making an effort to give emotionally and physically to the other spouse. Sometimes that means putting your phone or tablet down and just listening or recognizing when your spouse needs a hug. In short, be there. With the holidays, just days away and the New Year fast approaching, decide to make a conscious effort to give yourself completely to your relationship. Marriage is so much happier that way.

What are some ways that you give to your spouse, tell me in the comments below?

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