In our last post, we discussed Step #4 of the five best first steps to save your marriage. Step #4 was “Be Consistent, Not Constant” and we advised you to be consistent in working together on the steps to save your marriage, but to be careful of overdoing it.
In this post, the final of our five-part series, we’ll discuss the fifth best first step to save your marriage:
Step #5: Go for Progress, Not Perfection
We’ve all done it. We all fell in love with this person that we thought was perfect, then became disillusioned, frustrated or resentful when they turned out to be….well, human. It’s the normal attitude of young love. What’s interesting, though, is that we’ve seen a similar attitude among couples who are working to save their marriages.
Once you’ve decided to work on the marriage together and you start having some hope, you suddenly go back to expecting your partner to be perfect. This is just as unrealistic, if not more so, than it was the day you fell in love.
It’s good to remember why you fell in love with your mate.
But it’s even more valuable to realize that you can love them for who they really are today. In fact, by working through some very tough times together, you can find out that there’s more there to love than you first expected. At any rate, that fairy tale mate wasn’t real when you married and isn’t real now.
Romeo and Juliet, Sleeping Beauty and Prince Charming, or you name your fantasy – STOPS WORKING. And, what you are left with is a partnership. This is where the real work of love takes place. This partnership is necessary. You must give up the fantasy, because, whether you like it or not, you are in love with a flesh and blood person and not the fulfillment of your dream.”
We’ll take that one step further and we tell you this from our own hard-won personal experience:
That flesh and blood person, with all their flaws and faults, has the potential of becoming the fulfillment of a new dream.
Don’t pursue a total, 100% makeover of your spouse. Don’t ask for perfection. You won’t get it and you can’t be it, either. Instead, acknowledge and celebrate (even just to yourself) all of the little signs of progress. When you can do this, and value those little signs for what they are, you are well on your way to not only saving your marriage but transforming it.
We’ve done it and we wish it for you as well.