Everyone who watches television or reads the Internet knows about Jon and Kate Gosselin and the marital troubles surrounding their family. I admit, I devoured every story energetically and watched as the rumors took a toll on Jon and on Kate. It’s important to realize in the wake of their marital troubles that they can teach me a few lessons as I strive to be a better wife and friend.
Quit acting like a dictator
Instead of acting like a dictator, I must remember that I married to have a partner in this game of life. My husband isn’t a child and isn’t someone who needs a woman to rule over him to make him a better person. At the same time, my husband isn’t my indentured servant either. Being is parent is different than being a wife and a friend. My job is never to confuse the role of my husband with anything other than being my husband.
Being a dictator just leads to resentment and rebellion. I remember when I was a kid and my mom would tell me to do something I didn’t want to do. I either resented her authority while I did what she asked me to do or I just flat out rebelled and didn’t do it at all. Marriages should be built on partnerships not parent-child relationships and certainly not subservient roles.
Quit being defensive
Instead of being defensive, be willing to admit that I can be wrong. I am not the world’s foremost expert on every subject and I know there will be many times when I am wrong. It’s never easy to admit that you went full steam ahead into something and your way wasn’t right; what makes it worse is when someone else knows you’re wrong. You have two decisions: you can admit that you were wrong or you can throw up the roadblocks and defend your actions to the very end.
Being defensive just leads to tension and strife. For instance, my husband may decide that it’s not worth the hassle of arguing because I never admit that I’m wrong and things won’t ever change. He feels like he’s been beaten down and no matter what, he won’t ever win. Keep the lines of communication open – be willing to admit when you’re wrong, be willing to accept and try new ideas based on suggestions that your spouse makes.
Quit being divisive
Instead of being divisive, be quick to listen and understand the other person’s perspective. Being patronizing and argumentative is destructive. What person wants to be in a loving, committed relationship with someone who always finds some fault and assigns blame to you no matter what the circumstance? I stopped watching Jon and Kate Plus 8 after Kate flew off the handle when Jon bought a new showerhead and didn’t use a coupon.
In order for marriages to be successful, you have to pick and choose your battles. You have to look for ways to turn negativity into something positive. Constant negativity can be just as divisive as arguing, fighting and patronizing one another. In the whole scheme of life, most things are too trivial to tear another person down over. I don’t need to be right badly enough to make my husband feel completely worthless over forgetting to do something I asked him to do. I would rather look for ways to be supportive and encouraging than to go to bed knowing that I asserted myself over the entire house and I managed to beat him into submission. Instead of being divisive, look for ways to build him up. It’s a hard world out there and it’s not hard to get beaten down every time you walk out the front door to go to work. Don’t waste time arguing over small, insignificant matters; it’s us against the world not us against each other.
Instead of holding on to the petty things that make me angry, remember the gentle and kind things my husband does for me every day. I made a commitment to love, honor and cherish him no matter what, including the storms and hurricanes that inevitably come into any relationship. It is so easy to forget why we fell in love and got married but it is hard to stay angry when I remember all the good times and why I fell in love with him. It’s especially hard to stay angry when I consider all the ways I fail and he never holds a grudge against me.
Embracing love somehow has a way of making the mistakes and trials not seem so difficult. By embracing love, I take hold of the person who means the most to me and we get through things together. Remember what the words of those wedding vows truly mean and try to rekindle the romance that brought you together in the first place.
No one is perfect in this world. No one makes the right decisions every single time and sometimes we have to go to our spouse with hat in hand and ask for forgiveness over some mistake. Sometimes it’s something small and sometimes it’s something life-changing, like an affair. I used to think that if my husband ever cheated on me then it would be over. Now, after ten years, I don’t know that I could throw away a relationship that has been great, satisfying, scary and trying all at the same time.
If we are to treat each other in the way we want to be treated, I couldn’t possibly shut the door on my spouse when he messes up. I might be hurt but I think I owe it to him to forgive and to work through any situations that come into our lives. We owe each other the spirit of forgiveness because that helps to heal and repair hurts in the relationship. Embracing forgiveness means getting through the good times and bad times and the for better or worse.
Jon and Kate are obviously going through very rough times in their marriage and to make matters worse, they have children who are watching every decision they make. To say one person is at fault over another would be foolish; relationships depend on both people being equally committed to the same goals and values. While I hope things are not too late for Jon and Kate to work through the issues in their relationship, I know I can use lessons from their situation in order to make my marriage the best it can be.