I would like to pose a question at the outset of this new year. Do you know why your spouse is the way he/she is? Do you know why they react or don’t react to circumstances you face? Do you understand their perspective when your reactions differ?
If you answered “no” to any of the above, you have work to do in your relationship. And this is a work that will be worth the effort. Have you considered the possibility that you may not know your spouse as well as you think you do. Many times we make assumptions about our spouse based on how we process things. But if you’ve been married more than a couples of years, you realize your spouse does not do things the way you do them.
Marriage is a promise to learn how to live and grow together for the rest of your life.
Maybe yours doesn’t look like you thought it would, and this can be a huge disappointment. But what you do with those disappointments is the difference between marriages which thrive or die. We pray yours will thrive.
Movies can also thrive or die. What makes the difference between a box-office hit and a box-office bomb? Good movies allow us to get to know the characters and what motivates them. The Greatest Showman is an excellent example–we love this movie! The characters, their stories, the music and the fact that it’s based on true events, make it sure to succeed.
Some elements of a successful movie and how can we apply them to marriage?
- Understanding the plot – Where is your marriage heading at this season of life? What are the priorities that dictate your next step? Communication is key to being on the same page when it comes to your current circumstances.
- Care for the characters and their outcome – Is your spouse and their happiness important to you? If not, you need to spend time rekindling your first love. You may have unresolved conflict or bitterness at play. This is a cancer to your relationship, and ignoring it is the worst thing you can do.
- Conflict moves the story forward making us want to keep watching – Notice that conflict is good for the story, but unresolved conflict isn’t. Have you ever watched a movie that left something important unanswered? How did it make you feel? If you are like me, that ruins the whole movie. We like to see things resolved, even if the ending is not the one we would have chosen.
- Subtexts are the unspoken points of the story line. We must learn to hear what our spouse isn’t saying to us on difficult days. Understanding them to the point where we can read them based solely on facial expressions or body language. This is a level of intimacy that allows us to love our spouse in ways no one else can.
- Musical Score- This provides the appropriate background to the action taking place. I like to think of this as the romantic gestures of our daily lives. Sometimes my husband needs me to do his laundry, which can be a practical expression of my romantic love for him. Sometimes he needs me to bake his favorite cookies. Sometimes he needs me to plan a night out on the town to a new restaurant he did not know existed. Sometimes he just needs me to show him physical intimacy at my initiative. Listening to the storyline and then choosing just the right romantic act is what adds depth to the marriage. Sure you could have a movie without music, but it would feel empty.
P.T. Barnum and his life is a story worth telling. He loved his wife dearly, but life became a circus. Literally! It took conflict and confrontation to help him discover that which was most important. I won’t spoil the movie for you in case you haven’t seen it yet, but I will tell you that it will impact you on all the above levels. It is an excellent movie and worthy of many Academy Awards.
What about your marriage? Would it be an award winner? There is still time to make your marriage uniquely yours…
“No one ever made a difference being like everyone else.” – P.T.