The Catch-22 of Marriage

Catch-22 is a dilemma or difficult circumstance from which there is no escape because of mutually conflicting or dependent conditions.

Too many marriages are stuck in the catch-22 of love.

He would be more loving to her if she would show him a little more appreciation and respect, and she would show him a little more appreciation and respect if he were a little more loving towards her.  So both individuals hold their ground and hold their grudges until the other lives up to the “deal” they have made in their own heads and hearts.  You can let that build up so long that it begins to erode at the very fabric of the relationship.  One of you must relent!  One of you must be the instigator of healing.  Who should it be?  The correct answer is both, but I am going to put it a bit more on one than the other.

There is equal responsibility here.  Too many partners in marriage are waiting for the other to fulfill their expectations.  Then, and only then, will you give full effort of love and devotion.  The problem here is, your spouse may be doing the same.  They may be waiting for you to meet their expectations;  therefore, neither of you will receive full devotion and love because neither of you can live up to each other’s expectations!  So where do you begin?

Husbands,  love your wives, but more than that, be loving.  All the more when you her to be unworthy of your love!  If you are waiting for her to earn your love by doing what you want her to do, or if you are waiting for her to “clean up her act” before you give her the love she needs, then what you have is not love.  It’s a business arrangement for your desires.  If the amount of cleaning, cooking, and physical affection determines how open you are to letting her know that she is loved, then you have put a price on what we call love.  What you have done then is prostituted her love.  Love is meant to be a free gift.  How then can we hang it over someone’s head to earn it?  If she is to know she is loved:

  1. Give her no reason to doubt it.  Guard yourself so she has no suspicious about “losing” your loving and attention.
  2. Give her every reason she cannot deny it.  Be proactive in expressing your love.  Figure out what kind of marriage you want, then do the things that marriage would do!  A great marriage awaits you and is simply waiting on you to do what great husbands do.

Wives, respect your husbands.  Let him know what you appreciate about him.  If you’re holding a grudge because he is not living up to your expectations, then read this next sentence carefully.  No husband ever does.  You stand at the alter on your wedding day thinking he’s so amazing and you can guide him along to keep him right in line with what you expect a great husband to be.  Then somewhere down the line he goes off the rails of your expectations, and instead of adjusting, you simply view him as a train wreck.  Each situation is different, but every marriage has expectations, and no marriage lives up them perfectly.  Husbands need to feel appreciated and respected more than they need to feel loved.  They need to feel confident and strong in the relationship and not walked over and beaten down.  You have the power to make him greater.   He is with you because you have great influence over him.  This influence is not power to make him “do” what you want, but you do have the power to make him “be” who he saw himself becoming with you.  As the old saying goes, ‘rising tides raise all ships.’  Build him up and watch your marriage rise to new heights as well.

The catch-22 has to be broken by someone.  Why not both of you?

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