1385335_645064512193765_657176480_nFrom the Woman’s Side of Things… Have you heard of marriage being described as an institution? Or men calling their wives their ball and chain? It seems in our society there is an inner conflict regarding marriage. Obviously there is some positive about it or people wouldn’t get married. But I so frequently hear negative statements about marriage in general and spouses in specific.

I used to work for a newspaper where I was in a newsroom with a small group, usually just men, late at night putting the paper together for print. During this time all the men would make derogatory statements about their spouses and being married. I usually ignored it. One night I did ask them why they ever got married and whether they loved their spouses. I can’t remember exactly what the response was. I always wondered if this was how they really felt or if they were just piping in to bond with the guys.

I understand in all relationships there are times when one annoys or frustrates the other. And I understand sharing with our friends helps us work through our feelings. But why do I so frequently hear the derogatory and so rarely hear the positive? Why do I hear about the ball and chain but not the love you feel when you come home to a hug? This is why I thank a person when ever I actually do hear a compliment regarding a spouse especially if that spouse isn’t there.

It seems the focus is on the negative aspects, the complaints. Realizing that, I guess, it’s no wonder the divorce rate is so high. Perhaps our relationships would change, even improve if we started focusing on the positive. What would happen if for every complaint we also shared a gratitude for something about our spouses?

Think about what Paulo Coelho wrote on his blog about marriage:

I know the artist, Christina Oiticica. At this very moment she is physically at a distance of 8,000 kilometers, and at the same time she is in everything around me. That makes me happy: even after 29 years of marriage, the love is more intense than ever before. Never did I imagine that this would happen: I had been in three relationships that did not work out right and was convinced that eternal love did not exist until she came along – on a Christmas afternoon, like a present sent by a angel. We went to the movies. We made love that same day. I thought to myself: “this won’t last long”. For the first two years I was always expecting one of us to give up the relationship. For the following five years I went on thinking that it was just an arrangement, that in a short while each of us would go our own way. I had convinced myself that any commitment of a more serious nature would deprive me of my “freedom” and stop me experiencing all that I wanted.

Twenty-nine years on, I am still free – because I discovered that love never enslaves us. I am free to turn my head and watch her sleeping at my side – that is the photo I have on my mobile phone. I am free for us to go out, enjoy a stroll, go on talking, discussing – and occasionally arguing, as always. I am free to love as I have never loved before, and that makes a great difference in my life.

He had a rather negative frame of reference regarding relationships but realized how powerful love is and how he has so much freedom within the love. He realizes his good fortune and share that with the world on his blog. I would bet having that gratitude strengthens his relationship even more, and sharing it with others strengthens that gratitude.

It’s been seven years that I’ve had the blessing to be free to love like that. My love has been tested to extremes from which I’ve even surprised myself at being able to get through and coming out loving even deeper on the other side.

Relationships are freeing. There are many positive aspects. Primarily relationships are meant to enhance your experience of life. My marriage makes me feel even more alive. Being with my husband magnifies everything in my life. I consider myself lucky. Extremely lucky. And I want the world to know how thankful I am to have my husband, my rock. I delight in his love and care.

Happy anniversary my Rock.

The Woman’s Side of Things posts are written by the coach’s wife, Amie Durocher.

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