“Do you take this man to be your husband, to love, honor and cherish him, and to cleave unto him and none other so long as you both shall live?” “I do!” “By the authority vested in me, I now pronounce you man and wife, legally and lawfully married for the rest of your life. Till death do us part” And so married life begins for the happy couple.
Recently I attended a wedding ceremony. Prior to the ceremony, the officiator gave the happy couple some sage advice; “If you will always put the needs of your spouse before your own, you will have a long and happy marriage.” Let’s take a look at this advice……is it true? Is it possible to create a long and happy marriage using this advice as a guide?
My answer to this question is both “Yes” and “No”. I believe the foundation for a long and happy marriage must be authenticity. If you can be yourself authentically while putting his/her needs before your own; “Yes” is the answer. But if you cannot be authentic while placing his/her needs before your own…..the answer is “No”.
The biggest challenge in marriage is maintaining authenticity. We must feel free to reveal ourselves authentically to one another. Our innermost desire is to be loved for who we are. As Neale Donald Walsch wrote in his LILTTLE BOOK OF LIFE; “I want to have a friendship with God, and I want to have a friendship with my spouse and all my loved ones, of such quality that I can stand naked before them, mentally as well as physically and say; ‘This is it – there is nothing hidden, there are no hidden agendas. This is all of it.”
Authenticity in marriage brings transparency….telling the truth. It means feeling comfortable enough with one another to speak our truth knowing we will be loved even when we have differing opinions. Quoting from the LITTLE BOOK OF LIFE:
“The first level of truth telling is when you tell the truth to yourself about yourself.”
“The second level of truth telling is when you tell the truth to yourself about another.”
“The third level of truth telling is when I tell the truth about myself to another.”
“And the fourth level of truth telling is when I tell the truth about another, to that other – my truth, of course, not the truth. The truth, objectively, doesn’t exist, but I share my innermost truth about another, with that other.
“The fifth level of truth telling, when you get there, is when you tell the truth to everyone about everything. And if you can take these five steps, you’ve taken five steps to Heaven, because Heaven is not having to lie anymore.”
I have been married to Kermit for 51 years, and I believe one of the strongest foundations for our marriage is acceptance. In all our years of marriage, Kermit has accepted me for who I am. He has not tried to change me. He does not always agree with me, but he accepts me and loves me for who I am and in spite of my faults. I don’t recall of a single time in our marriage when he told me I could not do what I wanted to do. And I have done the same for him. “No, you cannot,” is not a phrase used in our marriage.
THE LITTLE BOOK OF LIFE goes on to say; “And by the way, I want to say again, that’s the largest key, if there is a key; I must stop looking to another for the peace and joy for which I have so long searched, and realize that that for which I have searched resides within me. My grandest joy and my greatest peace is experienced when I provide for another; in those moments, I am unlocking the greatest mystery and greatest secret of all time.”
So, back to my original question….Can one put the needs of another before one’s own as a guide to a happy marriage? What do you think? What is your truth?
For now, Earlynn’s just sayin’; “A happy marriage is a work in progress…not to be taken for granted, but to be nurtured with love.”
To order your copy of Earlynn’s book, Transformed, just click on the tab above to order your copy. Thank you. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo!