Marriage is a beautiful, intimate union between two individuals expecting a lifelong commitment and companionship. Marriage is meant to formalize the rights and responsibilities two people in it hold towards each other. Sharing a life with a fair share of these responsibilities helps the couple navigate through life. It helps societies and groups grow in an organized fashion and facilitates the bonding between them. Various researches suggest that married partners have a strong impact on each other’s health and wellbeing. However, there are many issues that need to be dealt with to make this relationship one of the best for any individual.
Avoid Competition and Advance Cooperation
It is not uncommon for couples to go through power struggle. Despite it being a stage in marriage, you can surely learn to get past it. A power struggle, however, differs from competition in a marriage. In the current day where competition is equated to success, marriage is quite different. Marriage in itself is a partnership that is exactly the opposite of competition. Some couples find it hard to celebrate their partner’s success and may feel envious. This signifies the presence of some unresolved personal insecurities coming into play, which can have a highly negative impact on marriage. It can result in the marriage becoming a breeding ground for resentment and unhappiness. Imagine, if the very event that should be an achievement for a couple becomes something to be sad about. But worry not, follow some of these tips to foster cooperation and avoid competition with your spouse.
• See yourself as a team. Achievement of your partner becomes your achievement
• Get inspired rather than envious. See what your partner is offering you to learn from their achievement
• Know that you have some great strengths and so does your partner. Celebrate each other and help your partner grow
• Identify your difficult feelings and have an honest conversation with your partner about it to solve the problem
• Build your self-esteem by introspecting and finding your self-worth that does not get hurt by your partner’s success
• Try developing and expressing gratitude for your partner. Appreciate, congratulate, and celebrate their success
• Try taking your partner’s perspectives and make an effort to know how they feel. Help each other succeed with a deeper connection
Equity Rather Than Equality in Marriage
These two words look very similar, however, they have a very deep difference in meaning. Trying to keep a score on who does what makes marriage hard; marriage should not be competition but rather a partnership. Equity means having a sense of fairness and being impartial. So, let’s suppose if we try to create equality in a marriage it can turn out as if one partner spends an hour doing laundry, the other should spend the same amount of time doing some other chore. It can actually create an atmosphere of conflict where each partner will be counting what they did and how less the other partner contributed. Instead, if a couple develops an atmosphere of equity they will be fair and responsive towards each other. Each partner will have a sense of fairness and bring their best to the table. One spouse may cook very well and agrees to cook for the family while the other partner agrees to keep the home clean. So, rather than both of them doing everything, they may agree to do certain things and see how their relationship works best.
Work Status and Challenges
Couples may have a hard time dealing with the challenges posed by variability of work nature, routine, and schedule. These challenges need to be worked out for a marriage to work better.
When Both Partners Are Working
Today, a lot of couples have both partners working. Both partners can have a great understanding and a brilliant relationship, however, they may face various challenges as well, which may include having less time for home maintenance/ chores, difficulty in taking care of children, having less time for themselves and each other, and role confusion. How to mitigate? Prioritize tasks, do what is important and urgent first. Divide responsibilities according to your work schedules and feasibility. Self-care should be a priority so take breaks, make sure you get some me time no matter how short that is. Take some time out for each other and spend some quality time together. Go on vacations when possible and have fun together.
Both Partners at Home
There are some couples who stay at home because they are either unemployed or retired. These can be young and unemployed partners or old and retired couples. They may have a lot of time on their hands, which could lead to some serious challenges. Finances could be a major problem in such couples that could lead to conflicts between them. A lack of work life for both partners may challenge their sense of self and purpose. A lack of routine and daily goals may create mayhem and chaos. There could be a feeling of less personal space and boundaries as there is no time apart. How to mitigate? Start looking for individual pursuits utilizing your strengths. It may also help you get work and improve finances. Have some time apart every day, and utilize that time to connect with yourself. Start your day with some daily goals and try to plan and work towards them. Divide responsibilities and chores to avoid role confusion that may come with staying at home. Look for opportunities to work.
Working Husband with a Homemaker Wife
Homemakers make the majority population of women in Pakistan as only 25% of women in Pakistan are employed. Thus, couples with the husband being employed and wife being a homemaker are pretty common in Pakistan. It has its pros including a clearer role assignment and home being taken care of. On the flip side, it has certain problems that are commonly encountered by such couples like, financial issues, wife having less autonomy and financial independence, husband being overworked, wife being overworked but unacknowledged, etc. How to mitigate? A homemaker can develop skills or use her existing skills to work. She can have her own startup; it will improve her financial independence and autonomy. She can have her own hobbies, social circle and activities to spend a quality time. The husband can share the burden by helping with some chores. Most importantly, both spouses should appreciate and acknowledge each other’s contributions in the relationship.
Working Wife with Stay-At-Home Husband
Given the culture and society based gender roles, a couple with a wife working and husband staying at home or unemployed can bring up multiple issues like, conflicts related to finances and home responsibilities, role confusion, self-esteem issues of husband, power struggle between the couple, etc. How to mitigate? Support your working spouse by taking more responsibility at home, try to find your skills that can help you work and contribute to family finances, help your spouse gain their confidence in themselves, and help them start something that they like. Working spouse should have activities other than work and home chores to have some relaxing time.
Management of Family Finances
Finances are a major part of a marriage as a couple uses money to run a household and raise a family. Marriage being a long-term relationship requires commitment, smartness and effective planning. These characteristics play a huge role in planning for a safe future. For a secure tomorrow, happy couples tend to plan a good budget.
For an effective budget, couples need to differentiate between their wants and needs. Bills, food, and water, for instance are the needs of a person, whereas eating out, buying expensive clothes, going for an extravagant vacation may count as the wants. If a couple unanimously agrees upon their needs and keep a small portion of their income for wants, they will certainly be left with more money for savings. Writing down the budget and mentioning all the expenses from the income can help you see where the extra money is being spent. This will help you have a greater ability to manage your finances in limited resources.
A step ahead of budgeting is saving, and that too with a purpose. Having a purpose to secure the future of the family by saving the money can be really helpful. Moreover, it helps a couple bond better as they have a mutual vision and a goal to achieve. Savings in a relationship can reduce stress between partners as a lot of conflict that comes between couples may stem from financial issues. Therefore, having spending income as per your needs and saving a good amount can help you prevent and deal with numerous problems.
Building compatibility with your partner will come with cooperation and not competition; it is the key to lead a successful marriage. Applaud your spouse on their success and develop yourself as an individual to deal with the complex issues and jealousy that my creep in. Remember, you are partners not competitors. HH
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