Are you in an arranged marriage? Perhaps you couldn’t stand against the will of your parents in choosing a spouse for you. Or you were so confused that you had to consult a match-maker in order to start a family.
Are you in a marriage that was created as a result of an unwanted pregnancy? Your parents wanted to protect the family name or you just wanted to save your face. Or, was it the very kind aspect of you that hated to raise children outside of wedlock that pushed you into saying “I do”?
Are you in a marriage that you wish you had stuck to your decision of leaving at the dying minute; maybe a month to the wedding, one week to the wedding or even on the wedding day, but out of the shame of walking out on all your guests or out of pity on your spouse’s family, you just decided to go through with the wedding anyway?
Or are you in a marriage where you literally forced yourself or should I say ‘convinced yourself’ that getting married to that person was the only option for you? You had many reasons to back out and you wish you had, yet you chose to stay.
In fact, your closest friends and relatives questioned your decision but you chose to ignore them for reasons best known to you. Perhaps age, wealth, shelter, or even blackmail, led you into ending up with someone you never thought you would.
Well, whatever category you may fall into right now, this piece is for you. No matter how much hatred, hurt or regret you feel inside you, finding love in that relationship is still a possibility. Follow me step by step as I take you through six possible ways to bring love into your home.
Change Your Perspective and Mindset
Everything we go through or make to happen in our lives is centred on just one thing; mindset. It’s either your mindset or the mindset of the other person/people in the picture.
Basically, mindset is really what prompts our actions and reactions. So, if we can change our mindsets, our perspective, our point of view, then we can change anything, including our loveless marriage.
Now, the first step to finding love in your marriage is to change your perspective or mindset about that marriage.
No matter the reasons you think might have brought you guys together, which displeases you so much, you guys are now together and it’s your job and the job of your spouse to make things work between you two.
Even in marriages that were planned, wanted or borne out of love, many of them still have reasons for hating each other, a few years down the line.
Making it work is a personal thing. Once your perspective towards the marriage starts changing and you begin to see it as ‘your life’ and not ‘your mistake’, definitely you will start doing things (nice things, good things, and lovely things) to make it work.
For instance, one way to see things differently in an arranged marriage is to see your years after the wedding as your time of dating your spouse.
For most couples, dating and courtship is usually an interesting and fun time for them.
You can also choose to see it in that light, and as you get to know your spouse better, you might suddenly find yourself enjoying your marriage and convincing yourself that this is the best person you could ever have met and spent the rest of your life with.
Resolve that Divorce is Not An Option
Divorce is never the best option. As a matter of fact, it’s a very complicated option. Divorce is like a stubborn and permanent scar from a deep wound; its effects never really leave one’s life.
So, before you start considering divorce as an option, think twice. Also, the more you keep seeing divorce as an escape route, the likelihood of you gradually pushing your marriage to a breaking point, is inevitable.
Focus More on Your Spouse’s Strength Than His/Her Weakness
Marriage is supposed to be a life-long event. And if you spend every day of it seeing the bad sides and weaknesses of your spouse, you will end up being a very bitter soul.
It’s very frustrating to wake up every morning, feeling like you are stuck with a dummy or an over pompous ingrate as a spouse. The more you focus on the worse sides of your spouse, the more miserable your marriage will be.
When we nurse feelings of regret or hatred towards a person, particularly a spouse, we tend not to see their positive sides and what suffers is our relationship with that person.
Your spouse might even be making great efforts to please you or make the relationship work, but since you have tagged them ‘the wrong spouse’, you will never get it right. You will always see negativity in everything they do.
So, in order to help both your own mental state as well as your relationship, you have to learn to focus more on your spouse’s strengths. In just a matter of time, if you consciously learn to direct your mind towards the best parts of your spouse, you might find yourself genuinely loving who they really are.
List Out The Good Things You Have Noticed About Your Spouse (Strength and Strong Points)
Perhaps your case is that of deep regret for knowingly following through with a ‘wrong marriage’ or being forced into it for the sake of an unwanted pregnancy (what the Americans call a shotgun wedding), and you don’t find anything good about that person you call your husband or wife.
You can still start from somewhere. Get a pen and a paper and list out all the good things you’ve noticed in your spouse or at least their strengths and strong points.
Of course, you don’t need to list the bad things; I know you can say them even in your sleep.
Now, after you’ve genuinely listed out those strengths and good things, or at least one or two things you like about your spouse, you can make it a point of duty to read them to yourself every day, precisely every morning.
And as you begin to focus on these things, during the day or week or month, as your spouse begins to relate those scanty positive sides towards you, you might find a reason to begin to appreciate them for who they are.
This kind of feeling can grow to a point that, the bad person you used to see in your mind’s eye, can gradually metamorphose into a nice and near-perfect person.
And you might begin to ask yourself why you hated them so much in the first place.
For each new strength or for each new thing you seem to like about your spouse, you can always keep adding it to the list. Also, be aware that carrying out this seemingly simple task, might be one of the hardest things you will ever bring yourself to do in your lifetime; especially settling down to draw up the list.
And if you succeed in drawing up the list, it might feel terrible to want to go through it every day and much more upsetting to keep finding new things to add to the list, when your spouse does nothing but piss you off.
But if you’ve taken out time to even read this piece, then I strongly believe you can do it. This recommendation is not just a theoretical suggestion but a practical one that has helped many couples re-align their relationship styles.
Do Not Assume You Love Someone Outside Your Marriage
Another mistake a lot of married people make is that they assume they are in love with someone else outside their marriage.
The media has not helped at all in this aspect. Most of what we see on television or social media are works of fiction and if you try to pattern your marriage after someone else’s fictional thoughts, then I bet you are headed for doom, you can’t love one person and be married to another.
How do I know? Love is a choice. You choose to love who you want to love and it is only proper that once you are married to a person, you choose to love that person.
That is the only way things will ever work. Else, you will keep feeling you are ‘trapped’ in a marriage with one person when you should love another.
And if you let such feelings build and continue, infidelity would creep into your marriage. Stop telling yourself that things would have been much better if only you had the opportunity to marry the person of your heart’s desires.
Actually, you don’t know if things might have been worse. You can’t vouch for the next person. So, appreciate the ‘wrong relationship’ you think you are in now and make it right.
Make Positive Confessions
Instead of always complaining and making negative confessions about your marriage, you can channel that energy into making positive confessions. Scripture tells us in Hebrew 10:23 that we should hold fast the confession of hope without wavering.
List out the qualities you desire in your spouse and begin to confess them. For instance, say to yourself at least two times daily;
“My husband/wife is caring and loving. He/she is the best anyone could ever dream of and I’m so blessed to have him/her.”
Confessions are prayers we hardly take note of. Negative confessions are dangerous prayers against yourself, but positive confessions are great and rewarding prayers. These confessions may not be fulfilled instantly, but they eventually come to pass. Make making positive confessions a habit today.
Now, you may also ask, “What if I’m doing my best to make it right but my spouse seems not to notice or my spouse is not changing for the better?” Well, I got good news for you; things like these are contagious.
Your spouse also has the feeling of rejection, being unwanted or being a mistake because it’s what you’ve been acting and passing across directly or indirectly, since you got married.
You don’t expect him/her to suddenly get it right and turn 360 degrees once you have a change of heart. It might take them time, but eventually they will get it and things will begin to flow.
But it requires a high level of patience and perseverance on your own part. A person you keep showing love to for 365 days of a year, no matter how stony hearted would eventually come around at some point.