At What Point Does a Marriage Degrade into Settling?
The topic of this article is going to be very depressing to a lot of people. I once saw a parody picture of an older couple and the caption shows that the old man is basically just keeping himself from strangling his wife.
He couldn’t stand her and the only thing that’s keeping him from leaving her is his fear of loneliness, isolation, and feeling that his life is a failure. That’s supposedly where the joke comes from. It’s supposed to be a funny photo caption.
What I learned from that meme is that a lot of people are looking at their relationships as something that supplies them with what they’re looking for. If you’re looking to feel complete and happy, you jump into a relationship because that other person is supposed to complete you.
If you are looking for comfort and a sense of purpose in this world, you get into a relationship because that love from the other person is supposed to give you those things. What’s wrong with this picture?
Here’s the truth. Other people cannot give you what you, yourself do not have. You can only give what you have. It doesn’t make any sense to expect anything different from other people.
If you do not have love, how can you give somebody love? If you do not have trust, how can you trust other people? The same applies vice versa. After all, what is good for the goose is good for the gander.
Unfortunately, people are clueless regarding this. Seriously. Too many people miss the memo on this. That’s why a lot of Americans are under the impression that when they get married, sooner or later, it degrades into some form of settling.
I don’t know about you, but the last time I checked, when people say they have settled, they hate themselves. They feel that they are losers. They feel that they have done something bad and that their life has made a tragic turn. What started out awesome and full of possibility has turned into daily humiliation.
People don’t like to feel that they have settled. People don’t like to feel that they have taken second place in life. We all love to buy into the fantasy that we are number one and we came up on top.
Well, we all know that that’s not true. Somebody has to clean the toilets. Somebody has to pick the dog feces from the floor. Somebody has to take out the trash. Somebody has to dog trenches. There’s no shame in those occupations.
Unfortunately, we’re part of a generation and culture that idolizes everything where everybody has to be a member of the Kardashian family. We live in celebrity culture. That is our secular religion.
Given this environment, there’s no surprise that marriages are looked upon as personal gateways to self-happiness. In other words, you strip out everything that has anything to do with sacrifice, compassion, empathy, and living for others.
Instead, it’s all about me, me, and me. It’s all about what I can take. It’s all about taking care of what’s mine and getting a competitive advantage. It is no surprise that when people think this way, they feel that their marriage has degenerated into some sort of settling.
Let’s face it, your partner, regardless of how awesome and fat she was when you married her, will sooner and later get fat. Things will star to sag. The same applies to you. Maybe you have a nice tattoo of a dragon, but after thirty years, that dragon starts looking more and more like a Chihuahua.
Do you see how this works? If you don’t want your marriage to degrade into some form of settling or an unhappy compromise that you did, listen up. You just have to make one choice right here, right now. That choice is to be more courageous. Seriously.
Look at your marriage with open eyes. Understand that it is always a work-in-progress. Understand that there is no perfect relationship and that’s okay. Focus on what you have. Change your attitude regarding what you have so you can be happy and you can provide happiness to the other person in your relationship.
If you’re able to make that transition, your relationship would not only be able to withstand the ups and downs that life throws your way, but you will be able to feel happier, more complete, and more fulfilled in your relationship. This also leads to your partner feeling more complete. It all depends on your choice. Ultimately, it all depends on your attitude.