Woman's Call to Courage

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by Dr. Gary Smalley
06/13/05

Courage is the inner commitment to pursue a worthwhile goal without giving up hope.

Many women have already given up hope that their marriages will ever be any better. When a woman's hope for a better marriage has faded, her attractiveness to her husband diminishes and the "life" of the relationship gradually declines.

Regardless of how discouraged you may be, however, it is never too late to rekindle your hope and bring renewed life into your relationship with your husband.

The first step toward increasing your courage is to commit yourself to pursue actively a more fulfilling relationship with your husband and to build a better marriage. One major roadblock to a happy marriage is maintaining unrealistic views of what a good marriage is. These unrealistic views begin in childhood and culminate with the wedding ceremony.

The growth and joy of marriage comes from modifying these views to become more realistic. And, yes, it is possible, and it can be done. That's what learning to love is all about. Couples who've been married for years have as much to gain in their relationship as do newlyweds.

While the first step towards increasing your courage is to commit yourself to an active pursuit of a better marriage, the second step is to commit yourself to endure the pressure that may come from your husband as you begin to pursue a better marriage, keeping in mind that his desire to enrich your marriage is probably far less at this point than yours.

Shortly after their wedding, Denise was shocked at the difference between Jerry's behavior as a husband and as a boyfriend. She became discouraged, but after joining a group of couples with whom I meet, she made a commitment to pursue a better marriage. For the first few months, she encountered increased pressure and resistance from Jerry. One day when she was sick, she tried to share her feelings of weakness with him, telling him how much she needed his comfort and help around the house. His offhand reply was, "Oh, com on, gut it upyou can do it." He went on to imply that his mother never acted that way when she was sick.

Jerry didn't change overnight. He continued with this behavior on several other occasions.

But the story didn't end with Jerry's sarcasm. Because Denise had made the second commitment, "to endure the pressure that may come from your husband as you begin to pursue a better marriage," Jerry has changed. He has entered into the same commitment to build a better marriage. He is becoming more and more sensitive to Denise and now takes an active part in assuming many of the household responsibilities. That alone has helped draw them much closer. He's beginning to respect Denise, her unique qualities, and her unique sensitivities.

You may or may not encounter pressure or resistance as you begin a more active pursuit of a better marriage, but it's important that you commit yourself to endure any pressure that may come. If you wait for him to initiate a better relationship, it may be a long, long wait.

Copyright 2005 Smalley Relationship Center


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