Sunday, June 3, 2012

How to Love a Fiance (even when it's hard)

This topic requires careful consideration and discussion, but I think the principles involved are helpful for anybody and everybody in their relationships.

Figuring out how to balance regular life with wedding planning has been a struggle for Z and I. I'm more focused on the immediate deadline of the wedding celebrations, and Z is more concerned about our long-term sustainability, which two goals are sometimes at odds with each other (for example, when I take work off frequently to work on wedding details). Meeting both of our goals has been a logistical and emotional challenge in our relationship, and we're making some meaningful, happy progress on it; these are some of the principles that have been led to our success.

Be willing to sacrifice.
Prioritize together.
Respect and love each other's differences.
Be selfless and compassionate of your partner.
Focus on the positive and remember your progress.
Be willing and quick to forgive.
Realize that you will naturally have some friction with everyone you're close to; your relationship depends on how you handle that friction.

Continue reading if you have the energy for a longer-winded how-to expansion of the preceding ideas. :) And feel free to comment if you have any additions to this list or similar experiences!

All of these work together and overlap in their applications. If you are selfless and full of love, individually and in your interactions with each other, the rest will follow. Making sure that you communicate honestly and be patient with each other also makes a significant difference. If you want to be happy and satisfied, do things to make your partner happy. Make sure that they know that you love them even when you disagree with each other; learn to speak their "love language" so that the message gets across. My dad's advice was, "Make sure you agree on the important things; if it's not something important, then it doesn't matter if you disagree." For me, it helps to remember that both Z and I are full-fledged human beings, each with a full and complex history and with nontrivial opinions and desires; if I want my desires to be respected, then I need to offer that same respect to Z (be willing to sacrifice and compromise!). An important lesson that Z learned during his time as an LDS missionary was that there are often many ways to be right (a "my way or the highway" approach most often results in lonely failure and selfishness).

Here's a great quote from LDS President Gordon B. Hinckley in 2003:
I have long felt that the greatest factor in a happy marriage is an anxious concern for the comfort and well-being of one's companion. In most cases selfishness is the leading factor that causes argument, separation, divorce, and broken hearts.
It's a great talk, and he says this in talking about loyalty to your spouse. If you consider it all together - love, loyalty, sacrifice, selflessness - it paints a very doable, happier version of marriage than we often see. So these are my ramblings and thoughts as Z and I work together to build a happy engagement-almost-marriage. Getting close to wedding day! And we're growing closer and more harmonious every day.

1 comment:

  1. What you said is true. It reminded me of this blog entry. He's no Hinckley, but I liked his thoughts: