We cannot do it all. We have all tried to be super people and take no help from anyone, but it is not an enviable state of living. It is also not a state of permanence; no one can be on twenty-four seven without very real burnout occurring.
The most common complaint about significant others that I hear is that they seem to not care what their spouse is doing. They seem to not be aware of all of the work their partner accomplishes on a daily basis, nor do they ever acknowledge it.
One of the greatest strengths of being part of a partnership is having a partner to share the weight with.
Now, the first thing you must ask you is do you have a partner or something else? Is your significant other perhaps more like your child, parent, friend, roommate, colleague or boss? Or are they actually your life partner?
It may seem silly, but ask yourself if they help elevate you to a higher level than you would be able to achieve independently? This elevation can be performed in a multitude of ways, but regardless of how, the end result must always greater than what you could have completed independently.
A strong marriage requires a mutual level of respect for one another’s goals. A supportive spouse will willingly make personal sacrifices to help you attain your personal goals.
For example, if you have decided that you want to make your goal to lose weight a real thing, does your spouse adjust in order to support you? I am not saying that they physically have to be beside you for your 5 a.m. runs, but do they sacrifice having junk food at home, to help you with healthy eating? Do they offer to put the kids to bed, so that you can sneak off to that pilates class at 8 p.m.? Are they supportive when you reach small milestones and cheer you along?
Or do they do absolutely nothing at all which would inconvenience them in the slightest? Do they even seem to be aware of this big life change you are trying to undertake?
Your spouse should want to help you achieve your goals and their actions do not necessarily have to be groundbreaking, an “I’m so proud of you,” as you wriggle out of a warm bed, to go for a jog before work can be immeasurably gratifying.
Being in a committed relationship should elevate your life, not keep it at status quo or even worse, degrade it. You should become a better version of yourself in your relationship, not someone who is simply trying to survive.
The beauty of a strong spouse is that they will be able to support you when your cards are down and vice versa. There have been numerous times throughout the years that myself or my partner have not been at our best; we have seen each other at our worst, but gotten through it and are stronger for it.
Perhaps your goal is to go back to school to attain your Master’s degree. What does support look like for you to undertake this large endeavour? Will they agree to do more around the house, so that you can allocate more time for school? Will they pay for more of the shared expenses, so that you do not have to take out a large loan for books and tuition?
Or will they tell you that you are too old to go back to school? Will they ask you what the point of this is? Will they ask you why you are putting your family in financial strain for a personal dream which will lead to nothing?
The one secret ingredient to a successful relationship is sacrifice and accommodation. Personal sacrifice to support the other is what makes a couple better together than apart. Of course, everyone loves to ogle at the Instagram posts of the elaborate gifts some spouses receive on holidays, and sure, it is toxic to compare, but remain grounded that what works best for you and what you need from your partner.
Having a partner who is reliable, trustworthy and stable is better than any ridiculous gift you could receive on some Hallmark holiday. Your partner might have traits that drive you up the wall, which is life, but those are not the focal points of a good relationship.
My partner is stubborn, perpetually late and cannot multitask, but what I need is the reliance, trust and stability, so I can overlook those things. I have absolutely no issues with someone being fifteen minutes late to dinner because I can catch up on my reading or writing while I wait. However, I have an extreme issue with someone whose actions I cannot trust when I am not around to police them. I am not a watchdog, I cannot be around you every moment of every day, nor am I interested in that type of existence; I need someone who I can trust much more than someone who is always on time and that is what I need for a good relationship.
We all are capable of certain compromises in life. What you are willing to compromise on and what I am willing to compromise on are completely different, but not any better or worse. Basically, you need to find a partner that balances out your bullshit and greatness, but do not compare it to someone else’s compromise list.
You need a partner who will sacrifice comfort for your greatness and vice versa.
You need a partner who will take the passenger seat for a while because right now is your time and vice versa.
You need a partner who knows that every day in a relationship is not 50/50, but that the average of all the days equates to an equal balance.
You need a partner who will root for you, push you and cheer for you to become the best version of yourself. You want someone who wants your success as much as you do.
Figure out what sacrifices you need from your partner. Layout and be clear what support looks like for you. Listen to your spouses needs as well and see what they need.
Marriage is not meant to be easy, it is meant to be inspiring, challenging and uplifting, very much like life.