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After being married for six years, I reached a point where I honestly thought my marriage was over.
Issues and problems had been coming between us for years and I found that I was never happy anymore. There was so much hurt on both sides and I had no idea how we could ever get past any of it.
I’d been bouncing back and forth for years between wanting to leave and wanting to make things work.
Finally, I decided a decision had to be made. I couldn’t keep living in a state of limbo.
Though there was a lot of hurt between us, I wanted to make things work if we could.
Not long after I made that decision, I was listening to a talk by Zig Ziglar and he mentioned his book Courtship After Marriage.
It sounded like a great book that might help some of the issues we were having so I bought it and started reading it.
I Knew I Wasn’t the Problem but Hoped I Could Find a Solution
Courtship After Marriage opened my eyes like never before. As I read, I finally started to understand the underlying causes of most of our problems.
Before, reading this book, I was 100% sure that my husband was the problem and so frustrated that he wouldn’t change! I knew without a doubt, I was not the problem. So, it wasn’t my responsibility to fix things, it was his!
The further I got in the book, the more I read about fatal mistakes couples make that tear each other apart. Reading about those mistakes, I realized my husband was only guilty of 1 or 2 of them. I, on the other hand, was guilty of quite a few of them. As I read what each of those mistakes does to a marriage and the impact it has on the other partner, I can’t describe the shame I felt.
How Could I Ever Turn Things Around?
Once I recognized what I’d done, I was surer than ever that our marriage was over. How could my husband want to stay when I’d compromised our marriage the way I had? However, Zig was adamant that one of the biggest mistakes you can make in a marriage is threatening to leave or actually going through with divorce.
Especially when there are kids involved. He says there are very few cases where divorce is the best option for everyone involved. He has incredible advice for people in all kinds of situations to help you turn your marriage around. Too many people give up on their marriage when it really can be saved by following the guidelines given in his book.
In a marriage, both partners need to know they’re needed by the other. Zig encourages you to see your husband/wife as your partner in life. The one person you can always turn to no matter what happens. Just knowing that your partner is going to turn to you and count on you when they need something does a lot to make a marriage stronger.
Another thing Zig stresses is the importance of unconditional love from both partners. That means, no matter what happens, you remember what’s important and why you love each other. Zig says that most people would say there is nothing greater than receiving unconditional love but he would argue there is nothing more special than giving another person your unconditional love.
Instead of Looking for Love, Find Ways to Give It
“A big mistake most people make in their marriage is looking for love from their partner.” When I first read that in Zig’s book, I didn’t understand it. Of course, I was looking for love! Isn’t everyone?
However, Zig states that if you look instead for ways to give love, you’ll find yourself receiving more love than you could ever ask for.
It’s like the popular saying, “If you want a friend, be a friend.” If you want unconditional love, give unconditional love.
Zig brings up the example of a mother and her newborn. Mothers truly have pure, unconditional love for their kids. In his book, Zig states that love is only possible because a mother does everything for her baby. She isn’t looking to receive anything, she’s always looking to give. As a result, unconditional love for her child develops. What if you did the same for your husband? What if you were constantly looking for ways to make him know he too had your unconditional love?
How Can You Show Your Husband You Love Him?
I finished Courtship After Marriage and the way it changed my perspective on marriage still amazes me today. I had no idea a single book could make that much of an impact. If you’re struggling in your marriage, I would highly recommend reading it and following the guidelines Zig gives.
What I learned from his book helped me to firmly resolve that no matter what happens, leaving will never be an option for me. Instead of bouncing back and forth like I have in the past, I am always looking for ways to make my marriage better.
Zig also stressed the importance of unconditional love, but I realized I wasn’t even sure how to show my husband I loved him in a way that would make him feel loved.
Every person has different things that make them feel loved. Chances are, the things that make you feel loved are not what makes your husband feel loved.
Because of this, the second book I read was Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages.
What is a Love Language?
A love language is a set of actions that make a person feel loved.
The five love languages given in Chapman’s book are
- Words of Affirmation
- Quality Time
- Receiving Gifts
- Physical Touch
- Acts of Service
Your love language is the act from above that you must have to feel loved. Several might be important to you, but there is usually only one that you have to have or you’re in a constant state of feeling unloved and empty.
The book goes through quite a few examples of marriages on the brink of divorce that were turned around because the husband and wife finally started speaking each other’s love languages. I’ll be honest, when I read the chapter that discussed my love language and how to show someone who spoke it you love them, I cried. It was exactly what I’d been yearning for.
Reading This Book Helped Me to Understand Myself
I read The Five Love Languages hoping to understand how I could make my husband feel loved. At the same time, I gained an understanding of myself that I’d never had before.
Growing up, I never really felt loved by anybody. As I got older, I decided I must be unlovable. This was one of the biggest underlying problems in my marriage.
There was no question in my mind that my husband didn’t love me. No matter how many times he said he did or how he tried to show me, I didn’t believe him.
Reading Chapman’s book, I finally started to see all the ways my parents had shown their love for me. I could also see how my husband was showing his love for me and understood why he was so frustrated that I couldn’t see it!
The problem was, the acts of love they were making towards me, were not acts from the love language that meant the most to me. The one that made me feel loved.
Just recognizing this helped me to see I really did have the love I had always so desperately wanted. After that, when my husband said he loved me, I believed him.
A Year Later, I Can’t Believe How Far We’ve Come
The difference in our marriage is more than I ever could have imagined. My husband and I are closer than we ever have been.
Things still come up occasionally for both of us that cause hurt feelings, but they don’t come between us like they used to. Anytime something comes up, I remember why I married him and why I love him. It helps to put things into perspective and to keep from falling back into old habits that just tore our marriage down.
We’re still learning every day, but I’m so excited to see what the future has in store for us!
Have you read either of these books? Do you feel unloved in your marriage and unsure how to turn things around?
Let me know by leaving a comment below! I do answer all of them!
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