The Importance of Intention in a Marriage

EDITORIAL

Some spontaneity in marriage can be good — that surprise weekend getaway or a special meal your spouse prepares for you will undoubtedly make you feel loved and valued. Newlyweds experience that 'honeymoon' phase in the beginning where it can be easy to overlook quirks and habits of each other.

However, over time, with greater familiarity, many couples find it challenging to manage each other's idiosyncrasies. Habits, once endearing, become downright irritating. It is no wonder one spouse flies into a rage when the other fails to put down the toilet seat for the umpteenth time or the other is never on time for anything planned together.

If we really look at all the little things that a spouse might do that infuriates us, they can be linked to a few harmful thoughts that automatically come to mind. For instance, when your other half buys a luxury item when money is tight or forgets to help you return your library books for the third time — these incidents may appear insignificant, but they may snowball into major issues if not addressed. Try to put yourself in your spouse’s shoes and identify what their intention is. Did they purchase the luxury item as a surprise to you? Or forget to return the library books because they were swamped with a big project at the office? Giving your spouse the benefit of the doubt goes a long way and fosters appreciation.

The little things do matter and will not sort themselves out. There needs to be intentionality in a marriage. Couples need to be consistently mindful about how each other’s actions impact the other. Needs have to be shared in a calm manner and conflict must be resolved with skill. Love in a marriage is more than just a feeling or emotion — it is other-centeredness in our thoughts, words and actions for the good of a relationship. It's a constant work in progress.

© 2017 Elvira Tan/Focus on the Family Singapore. All rights reserved.

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