Ways to Make Your Marriage Happy

Ways to Make Your Marriage Happy
The online posting of this essay is dedicated in loving memory of Rabbi Jacob J. Hecht, whose yartzheit is on Tu B'Av, by his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of Benz's Food Products, Inc and Congregation B'nei Avrohom

When a husband and wife give gifts to one another in a spirit of friendship it creates between them feelings of comradery, affection and closeness. Giving includes a full range of behaviours from giving a material gift to giving the gift of kindness and everything in-between. Cheerful giving attracts, and selfishness repels. This is a simple formula, but it's implementation is not always so easy. Successful giving requires that you know how your spouse thinks and knowing this sometimes requires effort.

A husband brings his wife a thoughtful birthday gift. After opening the box she begins to cry. The startled husband says to his wife, "I thought you wanted a new toaster!" She replies, "yes, but not for my birthday!" She bought him a beautiful designer tie because she loves clothes. He doesn’t like clothing. For him, dressing is just a chore, especially formal attire. She was hurt that he didn’t appreciate her gift. He bought her an exercise bike because he knows being overweight is unhealthy and that her weight bothers her. She is insulted that he is calling attention to her weight and she may even conclude that he is bothered by her appearance and is being critical of her. She always makes it a point to ask him detailed questions about his day at work. She very much appreciates it when he asks her. However, he gets irritated when she asks. He just wants to forget about work when he comes home, and feels by asking, she is being insensitive. The lesson to be learned from all this is- Successful giving is measured not by the giver, but by the receiver. It is the receiver that has to be happy about the gift, not the giver.

People have what I call "love buttons." These are particular acts that make a person feel good. Everyone has different triggers. Triggers could be visual, auditory, or kinesthetic, etc. If you want to be a successful giver, make sure you push one or more of your partner's "love buttons." Pushing a "love button" makes your partner feel appreciated, understood and cared for. One person may feel appreciated, understood, and cared for if they are taken to a pleasant place like a park (visual trigger), another person receiving a tangible gift (kinesthetic trigger), another person smelling the aroma of exotic perfume (olfactory trigger) and another person giving them the gift of carefully listening to them talk and speaking kindly (auditory trigger). It is important to learn what your partner really wants, that is, what are their "love buttons ."

Some couples find themselves in a cycle of negative behaviour. They are both angry, blaming and resentful towards the other. These hostile feelings can, unfortunately, become chronic, lasting many years. This then becomes the "big test" of giving because the person doesn’t have a natural feeling to do so. No other person has as great an opportunity and responsibility to perform selfless cheerful giving with your spouse as you do. How one treats their spouse not only may make the difference as to whether the relationship succeeds or fails, but also underlines the basic success or failure of one's personal life.

In these times there are many destructive forces that are alienating people from each other and breaking-up families. Now, we have to work harder and smarter. The most potent immunization medicine for safeguarding a healthy and satisfying relationship is selfless cheerful giving.

The more a husband and wife live by this value the healthier and more satisfying their relationship will be. If there are children in the home, they too will also directly benefit by the peace and harmony that will be found in the home.

Sit with your partner. Take a pen and paper and write at the top, "I feel appreciated and cared for when you . . . " List those actions your partner can take that make you feel appreciated and cared for and then exchange the lists. Try to do at least one item each day as a gift to your partner.

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