Spousal criticism…

Everybody has their own ideas about love and how to show it in their relationships. These are things people have naturally grown up with and thus, a man who perhaps gets home late everyday bearing flowers or gifts has grown wired to the idea as the way love must be shown. So is another man who chooses to get home early so he can spend time with his wife, yet never going home with any gift. What should be more important however is not how you think love should be shown to your partner/spouse but rather learning and focusing on how the other person needs and wants to be loved. Most often it gets communicated but we often are not alert or really listening so unable to see or hear it.

Criticism in marriage has often carried an overly bad image but not all spousal criticisms are aimed at undermining or belittling a spouse or targeted at destroying their self-esteem. Many times, some are simply small pleads for love…in the way the other person wants or desires to be loved. They are like guidelines trying to show a spouse how to do things in a way the other person likes. Not all of them are unnecessary complaints but rather genuine expressions of concern over how things should play out. At least that’s how it often starts, until when the plea goes unheeded too many times, and then it begins to graduate into something unpleasant.

I like the way T.D. Jakes puts it in the lyrics of one of his songs:

“If you want to love me the way I need to be loved, you need to learn to love me from MY side”

See? Not from YOUR side but MY side…what means and communicates love to ME. I’m sure as both partners develop a mentality of focusing rather on the other person, both will have their love needs met better than trying to show love just how you understand it and risk being criticized for it. Then also, there won’t be room for too many “unnecessary” criticisms or if you like, too many pleas or outcries for love that become unpleasant in the ears because of it being heard too many times.

Most people express love to another based on their understanding of what means love to them and as long as God has created us different, male and female, we are sure to hold different views of love and the exercising thereof. And we are sure to have misunderstandings even over our partner’s acts of love just because that’s not how we would love to be loved. We just can’t relate to their way of love; we want what we can relate to.

The way we want to be loved is usually the way we express love to others. It takes time to learn how to love someone exactly the way they want and not just how we feel love is to be shown. That requires a lot of patience and attention to detail and a great deal of communication on what works and what doesn’t work for each other. Otherwise, we will always battle with the issue of many unpleasant criticisms because we would not yet know what works and what doesn’t, and we will keep not being able to satisfy their needs.

criticism

“So you brought home your sheets and God knows you meant well. [But] You just can’t figure out, how did things still fail? Well, in the art of relationships, communication is the key. You both have different needs so understanding is a ministry. This time, start talking before you start giving so that you can see how much better a marriage is supposed to be”
–T.D. Jakes

T.D. Jakes again rightly captures it so well. And that’s a good foundation we must lay if we want to eliminate the unnecessary criticisms and experience ultimate joy and peace in our relationships and marriages.

Imagine the man who thinks bringing home gifts or flowers each day to the wife is what communicates love yet the wife receives it each day with smiles on her face but unfulfilled in her heart because deep down she wishes her husband knew what would have meant more to her than the flowers is he coming home early to share a lot more quality time with her. Over time, one wouldn’t need a magician to tell this could degenerate into something bigger and unmanageable when her constant pleas (imagine communicated) go unnoticed, misunderstood or taken for granted.

“We are trying hard, but we simply don’t know some of the things that matter most to our mate. We don’t “get” some of their deepest needs. We honestly don’t recognize their hidden vulnerabilities, fears and insecurities. So we are trying hard in the wrong areas. Or worse, we hurt them without intending to. So we get upset and demoralized that she doesn’t appreciate everything I do for her. Or he doesn’t care about me. We respond defensively, or out of our hurt – and the whole thing spirals down”
– Shaunti Feldhahn

So here’s the key. What works for you may not work for your spouse/partner, so begin to watch your partner closely to understand even what they are not verbally communicating but could mean so much to them. Those many complaints or grumbling expressions that worry you so much could merely be communicating a plea for love in a way you have closed your eyes on.

 

© Mark Gadogbe (McApple), 2017

Marriage & Personal Development Author

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Marriage quotes…

Hope you find these relationship/marriage quotes interesting…

Got a favourite to share? Please do!

 “Relationships don’t always make sense. Especially from the outside”
― Sarah Dessen

“I have known many happy marriages, but never a compatible one. The whole aim of marriage is to fight through and survive the instant when incompatibility becomes unquestionable. For a man and a woman, as such, are incompatible.”
― G.K. Chesterton

 “Marriage is not a noun; it’s a verb. It isn’t something you get. It’s something you do. It’s the way you love your partner every day.”
—  Barbara De Angelis

A great marriage is not when the ‘perfect couple’ come together. It is when an imperfect couple learns to enjoy their differences.
—Dave Meurer

Many marriages would be better if the husband and the wife clearly understood that they are on the same side.
—Zig Ziglar

Happy marriages begin when we marry the ones we love, and they blossom when we love and hold onto the ones we marry.
Tom Mullen

One of the great illusions of our time is that love is self-sustaining. It is not. Love must be fed and nurtured, constantly renewed. That demands ingenuity and consideration, but first and foremost, it demands time.
—David Mace

To get divorced because love has died, is like selling your car because it’s run out of gas.
Diane Sollee (smartmarriages.com)

 “When marrying, ask yourself this question: Do you believe that you will be able to converse well with this person into your old age? Everything else in marriage is transitory.”
— Friedrich Nietzsche

 

© Mark Gadogbe (McApple)

Image source:
www.status4ka.am

 

Getting more out of marriage

“The trouble with many married people is that they are trying to get more out of marriage than there is in it”
~~Elbert Hubbard

…but I think you can’t get out what you have not put in. If we want a lot more from our marriages we must put in a lot more. Show love and be loved back. Communicate better and you will get good responses back. It’s like a love tank that must be filled before we can draw from it.

lnc self-love tank

Like I said in my Valentine day post, “Happy marriages and relationships are possible! It’s all in our hands…it’s all in the effort we put into it. You can’t get happiness in marriage unless you put in happiness. You can’t reap love in marriage unless you pour in love. Marriage is empty from start…what you get from it at the end of the day is what you invest in it“.

May we find grace to keep pouring in love and not place too much unrealistic demands on our marriages!

Mark Gadogbe (McApple)

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Image sources:
http://cheryneblom.blogspot.com/2012/09/filling-up-empty-love-tank.html
http://lifencanvas.blogspot.com/2012/06/self-love-tank.html

Appreciate! …And do it verbally!

Some people are not very forthcoming with words…but you can’t build a strong healthy relationship without communicating appreciation verbally. They prefer to hide behind actions to communicate what and how they feel, after all, doesn’t “actions speak louder than words”? Yeah, they do most often…but they also sometimes hide the exact feelings we wish to express or just may not carry as much weight as words.

Sometimes, gratitude that is not expressed by words is just nonexistent. The more you fail to communicate your appreciation verbally the more likely your significant other may feel taken for granted, especially when s/he is not good at reading through your actions. Sometimes it may just be as frustrating as trying to read a person’s mind…so be verbally expressive with your feelings of appreciation. Remember “what’s taken for granted will eventually be taken away; then you end up missing most what you least appreciated”.

Appreciation is a great thing in relationships and must be done very often…even in honour of the little supposedly “insignificant” things. It’s as simple as “when you value someone, you appreciate them”.

When you appreciate your man, he surely will appreciate you in return…it’s like action and reaction, cause and effect. So always find the words to tell him he is a good and hardworking man who tries his best to provide for you and the family and he will surely also not focus on your “irrelevant” flaws. Every man wants an appreciative woman who sees and acknowledges how hard he tries!

Similarly, keep telling her she is the best woman, wife, mother and homemaker and she surely will not also call you unhealthy names that ends up doing so much damage to your ego.

The secret? “A person who feels appreciated will always do more than what is expected”. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary.

You can’t demand or command appreciation in a relationship/marriage when you do not give it yourself.

Learn it and earn it!

But hey, let not thy appreciation be false.

Cheers!

Mark Gadogbe (McApple)

BUILD A PERSONAL MARRIAGE LIBRARY

I realized very early in my life that one very important ingredient for a strong and successful relationship/marriage is a good resource base of knowledge and reference. Every marriage I believe must have something to draw upon for new knowledge once a while. On that ground I began building my marriage library even before the thought of starting a love relationship with someone’s “innocent” daughter crossed my mind.

I determined early I was not going to build my relationship and marriage after that of my parents…not that they did not have a good marriage whist it lasted but somehow, I knew I was doomed to fail if that became my only reference aside the Bible or the scanty once a while marriage sermons from the pulpit. Bible knowledge alone to me is not enough. It remains the number one and most important reference for every good Christian marriage though but there’s a wealth of other resources (in variety of formats) out there, mainly born out of people’s rich experiences of the institution that one can also learn from and easily relate to. As must be expected, there are varied perspectives presented by people on marriage and some quite skewed from Bible principles but I find it’s always better to have a broad spectrum of knowledge and then filter out what is good for one’s purpose.

The Good Book says “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…” as in Hosea 4:6 (RSV) and I believe by extension that, most marriages are becoming very mundane and stagnant (lacking growth) because they are not refreshed every now and then with new knowledge from good marriage resources. We must often review our relationships/marriages and ask the question “what’s new in my relationship/marriage?”. Why? Because whether you like it or not, every relationship/marriage needs constant renewal, creativity and attention to detail. And we need a great dose of knowledge to do that!

And like any successful business venture, one needs good preparation and grooming for both the start-up and operation. And that requires capacity for a lot of fresh updated knowledge to survive in a constantly changing business environment. And as long as the world keeps evolving, the dynamics of marriage will also keep changing from that of old age Bible day marriages. We must therefore acquire as much knowledge in order to adjust to and accommodate the changes as they come. And every passing moment people are publishing their experiences of the institution of marriage. But, somehow, I find many people just do not prepare enough for the marriage venture. All they believe there is to it is getting of age, locating just anyone, settling down with them and going through the motions. I find it a very pathetic way of going about something very important to all human survival as marriage. It’s important we acquire as much knowledge about things before we go into them. “Had I known” must not always come last.

Enough said. At this point, I think it is worth sharing just a few resources (books) that characterize my marriage library and wish to also recommend them as good materials for every relationship/marriage:

  1. How to choose a life partner: 165 questions to ask (Pastor Bimbo Odukoya)
  2. Are you the one for me? (Barbara De Angelis)
  3. Men are from Mars, women are from Venus: A practical guide for improving communication and getting what you want in your relationships (John Gray)
  4. What every man wants in a woman: 10 essentials for growing deeper in love (John Hagee)
  5. What every woman wants in a man: 10 qualities for nurturing intimacy (Diana Hagee)
  6. The five love languages: how to express heartfelt commitment to your mate (Gary Chapman)
  7. I love you but I’m not in love with you: seven steps to saving your relationship (Andrew G. Marshall)
  8. Why you act the way you do (Tim LaHaye)
  9. Help your partner say ‘yes’: seven steps to achieving better cooperation and communication (Andrew G. Marshall)
  10. Before you plan your wedding plan your marriage (Dr. Greg Smalley & Erin Smalley)
  11. His needs her needs: building an affair-proof marriage (Willard F. Harley)
  12. Every woman: a gynaecological guide for life (Derek Llewellyn-Jones)
  13. Marriage works: the ultimate guide to marriage (J. John)
  14. Make or break: an introduction to marriage counseling (Jack Dominian)
  15. Build a life-long love affair: Seven steps to revitalizing your relationship (Andrew G. Marshall)
  16. The act of marriage: the beauty of sexual love (Tim & Beverly LaHaye)
  17. At the heart of your long distance relationship: love deeply, live fully and grow closer together from near or far (Catherine Day)
  18. For better or for worse: lessons from old testament couples (SDA Church)

There you have it: just a few good books in my store that I refer to every now and then.

So here’s how I wrap up: do make it a life goal to at LEAST every year of your relationship/marriage acquire a good book or any other resource material on marriage and inject some new fire based on the knowledge acquired into your marriage and see your marriage grow and glow. Certainly, growing a relationship/marriage is work and never comes easy. So get serious with your relationship and marriage now before you lose it!

“A word to a wise is enough” the saying goes but I like to put it this way: “a word to a wise is never enough unless it makes sense”. I trust that you do find some sense here!

Cheers!