If you’re married and working toward a goal, sometimes living the principles can be especially challenging because deep down you have certain expectations of what your spouse is supposed to be doing.
Heck, it can be hard enough achieving goals with all the lofty expectations of what YOU are supposed to be doing!
At one time I had to come to terms with the fact that I was in another one of those “temporary seasons of imbalance” and decided to just hunker down and get through it. My husband agreed, and was there to support me, filling in gaps wherever he could, rather than getting frustrated that there were gaps to be filled.
What an example. I have often struggled to reciprocate that same kind of support.
He and I run through life at a different pace. I’m a sprinter, while he’s a distance runner. I burn out, while he steadily plugs along. So there have been many, many times when our mutual goal setting efforts have ended in shipwreck.
I’ve pondered this dilemma deeply, because it’s common among many couples. I’ve seen more than one relationship crumble under the weight of such differences. Sometimes I think it’s a wonder that we’ve made it through those times with our marriage still in tact.
Marriage requires adjustments and compromises. It might even require unplanned course-changes, which is why it’s important to establish your priorities early with clarity and resoluteness.
I’ve abandoned goals that threatened to compromise my top priority: my marriage covenant. My husband has abandoned goals if they’ve put a strain on our relationship. I’m not saying that is good, bad, or indifferent; I’m just saying that when your values, priorities, and ideals are in stone, then decisions, sacrifices, and disappointments can eventually be resolved with greater serenity.
(I understand some marriages need to end. But that’s a topic for another day, and probably for someone more qualified to address.)
Marriage also requires patience, and an understanding that we all have ups and downs (Law of Rhythm). Most of the time, I was up while he was down, or I was down while he was up.
So in your marriage, even if you’re both working hard to learn and understand the laws of success, you’ll learn them and apply them at different paces and in different ways.
When you’re in the groove, your spouse may struggle. When you’re spouse is on a roll, you may struggle. How, then, can you succeed as a couple if you can’t seem to get it right at the same time?
Count your blessings if the above description sums up your relationship. The Law of Rhythm states that everything in life is cyclical. We will have up days and we’ll have down days. When you’re on an up, go ahead and get a whole bunch of stuff done! Take advantage.
When you’re down, go with it and let it serve its purpose (as described in Hidden Treasures), with an expectation that your turn for an up day is on its way.
Don’t allow yourself to feel frustrated when the two of you can’t seem to make quantum leaps forward together. It is GOOD that you’re on different tracks, because if you both were to crash at the same time, who’d be there to pick up the pieces?
Allow yourself to feel the joy that comes when you say, “It’s okay, you can have a down day, and I’ll carry the torch until you come around.”
Imagine how that would make your partner feel. You’ve just turned a frustration into a blessing, which is a key skill for building a mindset for success. The goals you strive for will continue to move toward you as you show compassion to your spouse in his or her valley, and refuse to keep score.
Take responsibility. The minute you begin to fume and fuss over what someone else is doing or not doing, you lose power. Instead of passing judgment, be grateful for his/her companionship, and the opportunity you have to grow through the experience.
Find the good. Think on the positive aspects of your spouse. Think and speak about the good things, and the good will grow. Don’t expect everything to be fixed overnight. Some of our challenges have taken ten, even twenty years to resolve. What kept us going was a common belief that we’d eventually figure it all out. Some days I wasn’t so sure, and on other days I’m certain he wasn’t so sure. But there has always been at least one of us believing, or when perhaps if we were ever both in doubt, we didn’t speak of it because failure was not an option.
Move forward with faith, and if you are struggling now because of a conflict with your spouse, count it a blessing (Law of Polarity) and start looking for the seed of equal or greater benefit contained in the adversity.
“Never let a problem to be solved” [or a goal to be achieved] “become more important than a person to be loved.” ~ Thomas S. Monson
Marriage is not a 50/50 proposition. You don’t ‘divi’ up the responsibilities and then critique your partner’s performance on his/her share. It’s a 100/100, or perhaps even a 110/110 proposition.
Do what you can do, even if it means sharing the other person’s load. Even if it means carrying the whole load for a while. Sometimes it may feel like 150/20. Maybe it feels that way most of the time. But if you try hard enough, and are willing to see it, I’ll bet you can remember at least once when it was 10/130. We all take turns, even if sometimes that turn goes on for years.
Whatever the numbers are, how you let yourself feel about carrying more than your “fair” share may well determine your future success. It also may very well determine how quickly things shift.
But if you begrudge the load, you rob yourself of the joy AND potential prosperity (monetary or otherwise) that is waiting for you on the other side of the adversity.
Remember, through natural law, God’s universe responds to the feelings you emit. So for now, try feeling grateful that you are able to help today. What if, for some reason, you couldn’t help, even if you wanted to?
Things could always be worse (Law of Relativity).
So don’t keep score. Inevitably, there will be a day when you are the one who needs to be carried. Serve with joy here and now, sacrifice whatever is necessary in the short term to make it work, and you’ll both reap great benefits soon enough.
Nag not. Be patient. Allow those you love to grow at their own pace. I know, it may delay the prize, but you may discover that the prize without your relationships in tact may not be a prize at all.
And if your spouse isn’t on board in the least with the things you’re learning, you can still prosper; you can still succeed. Have faith in God’s ability to show you how to achieve your dreams without compromising your values, even if you’re the only one who believes in them.
As Wendell Phillips said, “One, on God’s side, is a majority.”
Related: What if My Spouse Doesn’t Think Positive? Originally published March 13, 2007