When it comes to past relationships, I failed miserably.
I had a hard time living with my ex because I didn’t really develop my own identity until I was in my early thirties. Before that, I literally did whatever it took to keep peace in my home, which means I catered to his needs; leaving my own needs abandoned.
When it comes to relationships, I am not really qualified to give advice, so this article isn’t about how to keep your marriage together.
I only advise on things I am educated in. For example, I wrote a book about real estate called Real Estate Madness.
As a former real estate agent who took every class I could get possibly get my hands on, I am very knowledgeable in real estate. When it comes to real estate law, or how the business is handled, I know my stuff.
I didn’t stay in the business because I realized it wasn’t what I wanted to do, but I could give real estate advice all day long and have complete confidence that I have advised well.
A book about breaking free… suits me well, don’t ya think?
There’s one thing I usually steer away from though, and that’s marriage advice. I’ve failed at being married in the past, so I don’t consider myself qualified to talk about that.
I married for the wrong reasons, married too young, and stayed married because I had kids. I remained married as long as I could, but eventually, I had to end it.
I forgive him now, which is what you must do to be able to move on with your life, but my ex was intentionally a jerk. So, I know firsthand what it feels like to realize you’ve married a jerk.
The man I am married to now, is the opposite of that in how he treats me.
He thanks me for dinner, instead of tossing it in the trash. He opens my car door, holds my hand down the stairs, and treats me like I matter to him.
He makes sure I’m comfortable in my environment. He helps to remove the stress of daily life by sometimes running my errands, doing the dishes, or helping out with the laundry.
He has also helped with the kids more times than I can count, even though he isn’t their father and isn’t obligated to do that.
So, I have seen both sides of married life; one where the marriage is a happy one, and one where it wasn’t so happy.
Even though my current husband treats me well enough to make me want to stay with him, we still have our moments of conflict.
Last night I was telling him I’m glad we didn’t have any children together when we first met because our children are almost grown now, which means we are almost done with raising kids.
He said to me, “But can you imagine what a power force the child would have been if we added my brains to your talents?”
I woke up this morning thinking, “Was he saying I have no brains?” LOL 🤪
Men stick their foot in their mouth. They say and do things without thinking. We typically don’t fight, but when it happens it is usually because he said something without thinking first.
Most of our arguments were either because of the things he said without thinking, the way he treats my children (a step parent has a confusing role to play), or in how he sometimes doesn’t back down even when I know I am 100% right.
It is during those moments I have to remind myself of who he is.
He is a good husband.
He loves me. He respects me. He is a man who shows integrity in many areas of his life.
Is he perfect?
No way. Far from it.
But despite his flaws, his good qualities outweigh his bad ones, and the good stuff is who he really is. I remind myself of these things when he fails to be the man I want him to be.
I remind myself that I’m not always the woman he wants, either. None of us are perfect.
The bad qualities are just side affects of his own negative mentality, but that doesn’t make him unlovable or unworthy of my forgiveness.
Don’t allow their flaws to stick in your mind.
Over time, we may choose to only focus on the negative aspects of another person; but if we do, it will hurt our relationship.
You see, men seem to have this internal need to be in charge, to be right, and to be heard.
Especially men in their 40’s and older because they have a war mentality.
They grew up with their fathers telling them to suck it up and tough it out, to “be a man,” and be “in charge.”
My husband was in the military for four years, and served in the gulf war. That war mentality affected who he is.
His dad taught him to have a “fight” mentality and that drove him into the military.
While it is true that real men do fight for their country, they sometimes bring that mentality home with them and try to use it on their wives and kids.
My response is, “Hum, yeah, it isn’t happening here in my house.”
In the military you have to have a war mentality to make it. But here in my house, that war mentality is a negative thing.
I would say, “Honey, you don’t take control here because this house belongs to me too. I’m the one that gave birth to these kids, and that domination thing doesn’t work with me. I’ve been there and done that with my ex, and it isn’t happening again.“
Do you see how different mentalities, and various mindsets can clash with one another?
My failed past relationships affect my current one. When I use a take charge attitude, it reminds him of his ex as well and he doesn’t react well. Things don’t go well when we remind one another of our past lives.
This can create moments of chaos, but that chaos doesn’t have to turn into permanent chaos.
Many men from that era have that same war mentality that drives them to say things without thinking, to dominate, retaliate, or even take charge where they shouldn’t because they think that’s how men should act.
No matter what age group you are in, a guys behavior may at some point, make you think you married a jerk.
And, believe me, he probably is– to some degree.
But, if you focus on that and dwell on it, you will fail to continue to notice the positive things about him.
Trust me, I know. I’ve been divorced.
In the end, all I noticed about my ex were negative things. His unloving behavior caused me to stop paying attention to his positive traits.
When a persons flaws become your main focus, it causes marriage issues.
While I am not an expert on marriage, I can tell what you what will cause a marriage to fail. And concentrating on a person’s flaws will do just that.
Focusing on the problem will not fix the problem.
Focusing on loving your partner is the only thing that will work.
LOVE is the answer- each and every time. Love works. Love never fails. But don’t expect your spouse to do all of the work of loving you.
Love yourself– first.
This is where I failed in my past relationships. I didn’t love myself enough to stick up for myself, to continue to pursue my own dreams, or have a life of my own away from my relationships.
Not loving and respecting yourself allows boundaries to be crossed. Don’t put yourself in a position where someone else is in charge of you. That isn’t how a marriage is supposed to work.
Your partner isn’t your parent. Love yourself enough to continue to pursue your dreams, go to school, and make plans for the future.
If you are not married yet and you see subtle signs of abusive behavior, domination, control issues, or a lack of respect- GET OUT NOW.
There is no reason to settle for such a person.
If you are already married and you’re seeing signs of negative patterns, you need to nip it in the bud first by loving yourself enough to not allow the disrespect to continue.
You can lovingly tell your spouse how you feel and make them aware that their behavior is negative.
As you learn to love yourself, keep in mind that just as you are not perfect, your spouse is also not going to be perfect.
Love your spouse, even when you don’t have as many reasons to love them.
Don’t allow their momentary behavior to become what you focus on. What they do or do not do is ultimately between them and God.
You don’t have to answer to God for them, nor do you have to answer to other people for their behavior.
Other people don’t have to like your spouse, accept your spouse, or even want to be around your spouse. They are not the ones married to your spouse.
You do not have to make excuses or look for ways to cover your spouses tracks. You don’t have to control your spouse, or look for things they’re doing wrong.
Let your spouse be free to make their own choices. But give them reasons to choose to love you, and forgive them when they mess up at that.
Your obligation in your marriage is to continue to love and forgive your partner. That is your one and only role. Love is what you owe them.
Don’t turn your head or look the other way when you need to speak up, but continue to act that out in a loving way until your spouse gets what you are trying to tell them; even if you have to say it a dozen times a day.
My ex was very manipulative about getting his way. I would panic when his behavior turned negative because I was trying to please him, and gave him everything he wanted as a result.
This ended up being bad for me because I never got what I wanted. Our relationship was all about him.
Your role in the relationship isn’t to give the other person their way all the time. You are not obligated to do everything your partner wants.
Your role is to remain calm, kind, and loving no matter how your partner acts or how negative they become.
If they act negatively, don’t react to it. Stay in a loving position because this is where you are the strongest.
What I have learned about my current husband is that he wants to be good to me.
I give him credit for that even when he does things I don’t understand. I allow that to be my main focus, and so far, it holds our marriage together and makes it work.
While I am not an expert on marriage, I am a person who tries very hard to see my husband’s side of things.
I can see where I’ve been harsh on him in the past. I can see where his flaws became my focus, and I use those times as building blocks to do better in the future.
This article isn’t about making your marriage last. I don’t know enough about that to advise you.
I do, however, know how to break free from bad habits.
In the past, my worst habit in a relationship was to stick it out no matter what. I turned my head, ignored too much, and was forgiving to a fault.
I was the victim because I was taught that forgiveness meant looking the other way.
Now I speak up and stand up for myself. I also let him know when something doesn’t feel right. I stopped the bad habit of being the victim. I refuse to play that role anymore.
To be quite honest, it works out well, too. I am happier and healthier now.
The good thing is, when my husband sees that he is wrong, he will make corrections. He will even apologize, compromise, and ask me what I want; which a lot of men will not do.
Sometimes it takes him a while to see it, but when he does, he works on resolving the issue.
Despite his constant drive to remain in charge, and dictate how things should go, he gives me the freedom to be who I am and to do whatever I need to do. He respects me and showers me with attention.
So, while he isn’t perfect, he is perfect for me.
I concentrate on his good qualities because no one is perfect in a relationship. If you have a good man, you will not find a better one; trust me.
I’ve been out in the dating world and the pickings are slim!
So, while my man has several bad qualities, his good ones outweigh the bad.
And, here’s the deal- I am the one who has to live with him for the rest of my life.
MY opinion of him is all that matters in the long run. I don’t really care what anyone else thinks. My parents, siblings, or friends do not have to live with him.
Why should I care what they think?
My children’s opinions do not even matter because in the long run they will be moved out and grown.
Ultimately my husbands behavior is MY business. And your husband or wife’s behavior is YOUR business.
Don’t settle for disrespect; but if they love you, and they’re trying to make things work, give them credit for it.
When it comes to your marriage, other opinions do not matter. Ultimately what matters is what you think of your spouse. What matters the most is your ability to give and take appropriately from one another.
People tend to try and find contentment in their marriage based on other people’s opinions, and that is the wrong approach to loving one another.
Don’t bring other people into your relationships because they will help your marriage fail.
Trust me, I know. My failed marriage was hindered by opinions, and our divorce was even encouraged by others.
Because he was choosing to be a jerk (and wanted to be that way and refused to change), everyone let me know they didn’t like it and several of them even told me I should leave, even before he became somewhat abusive.
Their opinion affected our marriage because I didn’t want to be married to a jerk. But I had kids with him, and honestly didn’t know what to do about it.
In the end, allowing other people to give me their opinions about my marriage, helped it to fail. It didn’t cause it, but it definitely encouraged me to move me in that direction.
I believe that we all need someone to lean on from time to time, but we need to be cautious about who we choose to fill that role.
All men, at one point or another, are going to come across as being a jerk. It’s inevitable for most of them because ingrained in their make-up is the drive to take charge, be opinionated, or just to be a know-it-all in general.
It comes across to us as being a jerk, because, well, it is. But to them, they are being what they think they were designed to be. In their minds, they are being men.
When our husbands come across as jerks, let’s cut them some slack. Not overlooking things that we shouldn’t, but allowing them to have a little grace as a result of our love and respect for them.
If we do our part in loving them, praying for them, and showing them attention; surely, that seed planted will grow into a healthy marriage.
If nothing else, at least you can say you did your part to make it work. Wake up each day giving your spouse a little room to be imperfect.
In the end, isn’t that what we all need?