Relationships are not always easy. Whether you’re trying to understand your mate or learning what makes your child tick, the drama and energy it takes can be frustrating. We’ve all been there!
Dr. Gary Chapman, author The Five Love Languages and The Family You’ve Always Wanted, shares about his own struggles during his early years of marriage. What he learned through the years impacted his own marriage and family.
“When we got married, I thought things would be great,” says Chapman. “What I missed was that my wife is very social. I was still in school and studied most evenings. I assumed she would sit on the couch and read while I studied. That was not the case. She wanted to be around other people. I also assumed that when I was ready to go to bed we would go to bed together.”
It didn’t take long for the Chapmans to experience extreme unhappiness in their marriage. Their response to the unhappiness was to point out each other’s faults.
“We were so angry that we spent a lot of time trying to annihilate each other with our words and actions,” Chapman says. “At some point it occurred to me that I had entered our relationship with a very conceited, self-centered attitude. I thought that whatever made me happy would make Karolyn happy. In reality, I spent little time thinking about my wife’s needs and a lot of time focused on my unmet needs and desires.”
Over time, Chapman realized he would need to do some things differently if he wanted to improve his marriage.
“At the lowest point in our marriage we were so estranged that we could not even talk about our relationship,” Chapman says. “That’s when I decided to take action. I decided to stop waiting on her to change. I changed my behavior.”
It started with making the decision to serve.
“Instead of talking at my wife and getting angrier with her at all that she was not doing for me, I began to quietly respond to my wife’s requests for help with laundry, chores and other things,” Chapman says. “In a few months, her attitude toward me had softened. I actually started feeling love toward her for the first time in a very long time. Instead of enemies living under the same roof, it felt like we were falling in love with each other all over again.”
The early years of the Chapmans’ marriage were rocky and seemed hopeless. But instead of ending in divorce, their marriage is healthy and thriving more than 50 years later. It’s all because one person chose to adjust.
One of the keys to a healthy family is asking yourself a question: Are you willing and ready to fight for your family by being the one to make a change?
Oh, wait—there’s more to the story! Read it here.