Cleaving is a gradual and ongoing process in marriage. It doesn’t happen at once, as it requires time and effort. It involves the journey of becoming “one” as a result of understanding each other, making a conscious commitment, and allowing yourselves to navigate the process of marriage together.
This takes time because conflicts are bound to arise at some point. There’ll also be a clash of interests, and it is important to differentiate between a lack of compatibility and the inability of both partners to compromise and sacrifice at certain levels.
To foster a thriving marriage, here are 5 mindsets that every couple should embrace, these mindsets should be cultivated both as individuals and as couples:
- We are a team
You need to understand that you and your partner form a team. You’re not in competition against each other or working in opposition.
I remember a time back in secondary school when I was asked to join a mixed football team, because I used to act like a tomboy, I decided to play football with boys and girls.
I wasn’t very good at playing football in a group setting, aside from the times I played with a partner at home. During the match, I suddenly realised that I was tackling and dribbling my team members. They were puzzled, asking me, “Why are you tackling us? You’re supposed to focus on tackling the opponents.” I was confused, as all I wanted was to keep the ball to myself. I couldn’t stand seeing other people play the ball without it coming close to me. Whenever anyone came near, I’d dribble past them. Eventually, I had to leave the field because I didn’t understand the rules of the game.
This is how it is in many marriages; you are competing with your partner, fighting against them, and you’re finding it difficult to understand that both of you are two different people who would always clash. Clashes in marriages don’t indicate that you’re not supposed to be together, they reflect the challenges that arise within a marriage and the process through which couples are meant to grow, adapt, and bond together.
Having a “We are a team” mindset will assist you in viewing each other as allies rather than enemies, going through the learning process together.
- No other force is greater than us
You must have this mindset that no other person, whether it’s social media, spiritual authorities, friends, in-laws, neighbors, colleagues, or anyone else, should come between you and your partner.
If you begin to favour the opinion or preferences of others over your partner, you’re inviting trouble. It is always better to have a united mindset where both of you fight for each other and set boundaries for outside interference, to prevent them from making a mess of our marriage.
Even when there are issues from external forces, you should remain steadfast and show that the bond between the two of you is unbreakable.
- We would disagree to agree
You must get very comfortable with having disagreements with your partner. It is an opportunity to get to know each other better. Therefore, don’t shut down your partner and dismiss their opinions by saying things like, “Don’t argue with me,” “You don’t respect me,” or “You’re too opinionated.” Sometimes, just listen, except when your partner becomes excessively heated or aggressive.
There is nothing wrong with having healthy arguments, as it can contribute to understanding each other better and gaining clarity on various matters. Mind you, the goal should not always be about trying to win the conversation, instead, the focus is to ensure that you both feel heard and that the right things are done.
- We remain kind always.
There will always be disagreements between you and your partner, but they shouldn’t be an excuse to become harsh or evil. You should desist from seeking revenge or resorting to harmful tactics during your interactions.
Just because you have a misunderstanding does not mean you should practice silent treatment for two weeks. It’s a sign of immaturity. If you didn’t learn effective conflict resolution skills while you were growing up, you may find it very difficult to attempt to deal with issues in your marriage.
Never think that it is childish to be the first person to initiate a process of reconciliation. It takes strength to make a marriage work, knowing that you and your partner emerged from different backgrounds. Don’t neglect your responsibilities or cut out compassion towards each other during difficult times. These attitudes will cause deeper decay in your marriage.
- We commit to knowledge and growth.
Whether you like it or not, you will always have the time to learn about yourselves. You should approach your marriage as a continuous learning experience and remain open to being a student of your partner.
Your partner grows daily as they get exposed to new people, social media, and new life experiences, and as they come into different phases and seasons of life. It is important to actively invest time and effort into learning together.
How do you learn? You can learn through reading books, seeking coaching experiences, attending programmes or retreats, and engaging in couples’ hangouts. These activities will provide opportunities to deepen your bond and understand yourselves, your values, temperaments, mindsets, goals, beliefs, love languages, apology languages, and any other matters or skill that contributes to becoming better partners.
Remember, love is not all that will make your marriage work; it is the combination of love and the skill set you choose to cultivate and bring into your home that will make a positive difference.
I hope this helps you.
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Wishing you a fantastic journey in your marriage.