A woman asked a common question. She said, “How do I know if I married the right person?” I noticed that there was a large man sitting next to her so I said, “It depends, is that your husband?” In all seriousness, she answered, “How did you know?” When you marry the right person, it does make a difference to your equilibrium.
Let me answer this question because the chances are good that it is weighing on your mind. Here is the answer.
Every relationship has a cycle. In the beginning, you fell in love with your spouse. You anticipated their call, wanted their touch, and liked their idiosyncrasies.
Falling in love with your spouse was not hard. In fact, it was a completely natural and spontaneous experience. You did not have to do anything. That’s why it’s called “falling” in love . . . because it’s happening to you.
People in love sometimes say, “I was swept off my feet.” Think about the imagery of that expression. It implies that you were just standing there; doing nothing, and then something came along and happened to you. How can you marry the right person when sometimes you are not even sure who you are?
Falling in love is easy. It’s a passive and spontaneous experience. But after a few years of marriage, the euphoria of love fades. It’s the natural cycle of every relationship. Slowly but surely, phone calls become a bother (if they come at all), touch is not always welcome (when it happens), and your spouse idiosyncrasies, instead of being cute, drive you nuts!
The symptoms of this stage vary with every relationship, but if you think about your marriage, you will notice a dramatic difference between the initial stage when you were in love and a much duller or even angry subsequent stage.
At this point, you and/or your spouse might start asking, “Did I marry the right person?” And as you and your spouse reflect on the euphoria of the love you once had, you may begin to desire that experience with someone else. That is when marriages break down. People blame their spouse for their unhappiness and look outside their marriage for fulfilment.
Extramarital fulfilment comes in all shapes and sizes. Infidelity is the most obvious. But sometimes people turn to work, church, a hobby, a friendship, excessive T.V., or abusive substances. But the answer to this dilemma does NOT lie outside your marriage. It lies within it.
I’m not saying that you could not fall in love with someone else. You could. And temporarily, you’d feel better. But you would be in the same situation a few years later. Because (listen carefully to this): THE KEY TO SUCCEEDING IN MARRIAGE IS NOT FINDING THE RIGHT PERSON; IT’S LEARNING TO LOVE THE PERSON YOU FOUND.
Sustaining love is not a passive or spontaneous experience. It will NEVER just happen to you. You cannot “find” lasting love. You have to “make” it day in and day out. That’s why we have the expression – “labour of love.” Because it takes time, effort, and energy. And most importantly, it takes wisdom. You have to know what to do to make your marriage work.
Marry the Right Person
Make no mistake about it. Love is not a mystery. There are specific things you can do (with or without your spouse) to succeed with your marriage. Just as there are physical laws of the universe (such as gravity), there are also laws of relationships. Just as the right diet and exercise program makes you physically stronger, certain habits in your relationship will make your marriage stronger. It’s a direct cause and effect. If you know and apply the laws, the results are predictable . . . you can “make” love.