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Refocusing on commitment

October 18, 2014

A great idea…

In his book, Meanings of Life, R. F. Baumeister wrote, “Survey researchers in the 1950’s found that people tended to judge the self by its ability to make and maintain a marriage. By the 1970’s this was reversed: marriages were judged by the contribution to the self, including increases in self-expression, happiness, and well-being. In fact, if a relationship does not bring pleasure, insight, satisfaction, and fulfillment to the self, then it is regarded as wrong, and the individual is justified—perhaps even obligated—to end the relationship and find a new, more fulfilling one.”  

In other words…

We live in a world where marriage is constantly judged by what it can do for us. The philosophy that marriage should meet all of our needs and desires does nothing but put a terrible burden on our relationship. While marriage can be very rewarding when we steadily care for it, it is not designed to be the fountain from which our happiness springs.

How can you apply this…

The next time your partner irritates you, instead of dwelling on their flaws or what you aren’t getting out of the relationship, focus on what you can do to help your relationship grow. As you shift your focus back to what you can do to nurture your relationship versus what you should receive from it, you will find personal growth and the fruits of a strong, happy marriage.

To Find Out More…

about couple relationships, check out our FREE resources: The Marriage Garden or the Getting Our Hearts Right programs at uaex.edu/marriage, follow us at facebook.com/navigatinglife or contact your local county Extension agent. You may also like to read The Marriage Garden book.

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