You Belong to Me
One thing that has really gotten me into trouble in
my marriage is thinking that I somehow own my wife
or have any real claims on her. Now, before you
take that the wrong way, please understand that
Im talking about a very subtle thing here. I
dont actually think I own my wife
the way you own a piece of furniture or a car. What
I mean is that I have believed at some level that
being married means she somehow belongs to me, and
therefore I can expect certain regular benefits
from her. How many popular songs have helped us
think of our mates this way? Youre
Mine and You Belong to Me and
When I Make You Mine?
When we get married we are supposed to unite
with another and become one; we share
resources and we feel that our wives are somehow
extensions of us. We take pride in their appearance
and accomplishments and feel down when they fail or
feel bad. Marriage, we are taught, is all about
feeling that you are one with your
spouse. But, becoming one with another person can
be full of pain unless we have the right
understanding about it.
The only way to become one with another person
is to become truly one with yourself.
Its a paradox: the key to becoming united
with your loved one is to become a more loving
person, one who is complete and strong alone.
Learning to love that way requires that we give up
expecting our spouses to complete us, make us feel
better on demand, or provide services in the
kitchen, bedroom or anywhere else. I have
experienced firsthand how destructive those
expectations within a marriage can be.
Every time I think my wife somehow owes me sex
or affection it seems to push her away and ends up
making me feel more alone and incomplete. Its
not the asking thats the problem; its
the idea I have that shes mine that creates
the trouble. If something is mine I can control it.
If its not Ive got to let goand
thats the hardest thing for me to do
We have to understand that the fundamental
contract of marriage is one that is founded on free
will. If our women cook our dinner, have sex with
us, or even show up happily for another day of
marriage we can give thanks for their presence.
Truly, they dont owe us anything.
Its great to be a couple and to have a
lifelong companion, friend and lover. But, give up
the notion that your spouse belongs to
you. The belief that your spouse is
yours will feed poison into the veins
of your marriage.
* * *
Chains do not hold a marriage together. It is
threads, hundreds of tiny threads, which sew people
together through the years. - Simone Signoret
G. Friedman is the author of Straight
Talk for Men About MarriageWhat Men Need to
Know About Marriage (And What Women Need to Know
About Men). For
many years, Marty Friedman taught corporate
managers how to create good relationships at work
before tackling male/female relationship
issues--and applying what he learned to his own
marriage. The founder of Men in Marriage, Marty is
regularly interviewed on radio and television, and
talks to organizations and individuals from a
unique, inspirational and humorous perspective.
Find out more at www.meninmarriage.com
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