11 Things to Give Up to Get More From a Marriage


Posted by Ana Waller

Here are the top 11 things to give up, to get what you desire from your marriage.

Marriage is a tricky cake to bake. But once you have all the proper ingredients in the perfect amount, you can have one healthy and joyful married life. For once, it’s safe to say, happy marriage is not a myth. Most of us forget that to achieve something we need to give up on certain things.

And surprisingly ‘these things’ you need to give up are not useful to any individual in any relationship, be it marriage or otherwise. Some of these are going to be things that will help you improve yourself as an individual.

For a marriage to flourish, its necessary for both the partners to work on their personal issues and make a joint contribution to the marriage to bloom. Once these toxic aspects of a relationship is removed, your marriage life will be smoother, saving it from culminating into a divorce.

Here are 11 things to give up, to get more from your marriage:

1. Abandon unrealistic expectations
Marriage should be like an empty canvas where both of the partners put in colours to create a new masterpiece – let the marriage grow into what it is supposed to be. Unrealistic expectations have high chances of suffocating a relationship as most of them are unachievable and based on irrational ideas about the other person.

It is necessary that a marriage is based on expectations which are possible for the other person to fulfill without having to compromise too much on their parts. When the expectations get unattainable, both the partners fail to stand up to themselves which lead to added up resentment and bitterness in the marriage.

2. Give up controlling each other
When two dynamic individuals interact in a relationship, it is inevitable for them to have clashing perspectives and value system. What is necessary here is a sweet balance between individuality and conformity. If you always stick to your own ideas, principles and values strictly disregarding the other person’s opinions, you are simply being toxic in the marriage.

All you need to do is make sure that you do not control your partner just because they are having a personality distinct from you. Control kills love and creates a hostile family environment.

3. Give up on possessiveness
No matter how long you are married to each other, your partner is not your property. You need to let your spouse breath freedom. Give him/her the space to grow.

Once you have a strong foundation of trust, you will be easily able to free yourself from wanting to possess your partner. Possessiveness will only make it more difficult for your partner to be his/her authentic self.

4. Stop criticising
Give up on the toxic habit of criticizing your partner for all his inabilities and adversities and start appreciating every small effort on his/her part.

Be vigilant of every small effort your partner puts in the relationship and do not forget to compliment him/her for pulling off something which might even seem insignificant.

A few sweet words for your spouse can take you both a long way in the journey you started together.

5. Give up the need to fix your partner
Instead of savoring, loving and praising one another, nurturing the existing relationship, we waste our precious time and energy seeking perfection, in ourselves and in our partners.

Every human beings have his/her vices which make them who they are. Just as their potentials, their adversities too make them seem more humane. A relationship is not about ‘fixing’ or ‘mending’ those flaws in your partner. Instead, your work is to accept each other the way you both are and make a few adjustments here and there.

A true bond is not about how perfect you both are but about how perfectly you handle each others imperfection.

“When you stop expecting people to be perfect, you can like them for who they are.” ~ Donald Miller, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years

6. Give up your jealous behavior
A competent and self-confident person is incapable of jealousy in anything. Jealousy is invariably a symptom of neurotic insecurity. – Robert A. Heinlein

The root cause of jealousy is insecurity. Neither of the partners will feel jealous if they work on their individual insecurities. A relationship based on emotional intimacy, understanding and transparency will not bread jealousy as two individuals in such a relationship consider themselves a team rather than two separate individuals competing with each other.

7. Give up blaming each other
Most of what happens to us is in our hands, no matter how much we want to circumvent this fact. It’s easier to project your mistakes and loopholes on an external factor – your partner, as it gives you a chance to escape accountability. Start taking responsibility for your own actions.

The more you be egoistic about your faults and project it on to your partner, the toxic your marriage gets. You have to stop yourself swirling in the path of guilt tripping and blame shifting with your partner.

Tell everyone you know: “My happiness depends on me, so you’re off the hook.” And then demonstrate it. Be happy, no matter what they’re doing. Practice feeling good, no matter what. And before you know it, you will not give anyone else responsibility for the way you feel-and then, you’ll love them all. Because the only reason you don’t love them, is because you’re using them as your excuse to not feel good. – Esther Hicks

8. Give up the need to always be right
Remember when you and your partner first started dating? Remember how beautiful and how lovingly you spoke to one another?

Back then, you focused more on how this person made you feel and how you made this person feel, instead of focusing on whether this person was right or wrong. A relationship is not an exam – there’s no need to evaluate each other’s actions and mark them every time.

Common courtesy plays a big role in happy marriages. People who are permanently married are polite to one another. They don’t want to hurt one another’s feelings, and they don’t try to make the other one feel humiliated. People who are married for life are extremely kind to one another. Frank Pittman

9. Give up on being clingy
Self-reliance is a very celebrated characteristic in an individual, no matter you are single or not. Marriage of-course means being there for each other, being supportive of each other, emotionally catering for each other and understanding each other. These does not included being clingy to each other.

There will be times when you will have to take control over your own self to cater to yourself. Being clingy makes your partner suffocate on the relationship. Take your own control over yourself, sometimes, for a change.

10. Give up your emotional baggage
The past has no power to stop you from being present now. Only your grievance about the past can do that. What is grievance? The baggage of old thought and emotion. – Lao Tzu

When you let your past influence your present, you lose your chances of making your future a better place to live in. Letting go of your past, slowly, each pain, each negativity at a time, helps you expand your future horizons.

Our past experiences, especially the negative ones, hold us back from living in the moment and making the best out of it. Once in a while let go of the fear and embrace change for a optimistic life tomorrow.

11. Replace attachment with love
What we all end up confusing is, love and attachment. Attachment comes from a place of fear, anxiety and insecurity while love is pure, free of bitterness, kind, and selfless. Love is ready to detach and let go if the relationship between two people becomes toxic and detrimental to the healthy growth and evolution of both parties. Attachment on the other hand loves to latch on to negativity, feeding on pain and pessimism.

In the beautiful words of Deepak Chopra,

Love allows your beloved the freedom to be unlike you. Attachment asks for conformity to your needs and desires. Love imposes no demands. Attachment expresses an overwhelming demand – Make me feel whole. Love expands beyond the limits of two people. Attachment tries to exclude everything but two people.

Partners try hard not to let their marriage get toxic but somehow, unknowingly they end up killing everything beautiful about the bond. Never disdain your intuition. If you feel something is going amiss, something is off, immediately take notice and discuss it out with your partner. If nothing works out, it is not necessary to keep dragging a dead marriage. After all, your mental health, peace and well being is more important than anything else in this world.

If you are not happy with yourself, you can never be happy in any relationship.
The real act of marriage takes place in the heart, not in the ballroom or church or synagogue. It’s a choice you make – not just on your wedding day, but over and over again – and that choice is reflected in the way you treat your husband or wife.- Barbara De Angelis

If it’s true that marriages are meant to last for life, why is it that so many people get divorced? What do you think is the key ingredient to make a marriage work? You can share your insights in the comments section below.

A version of this post was previously published on Themindsjournal.com and is republished here with permission from the author.

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