Be ready to compromise and to forgive
There will be many disagreements in your married life. Marriage has many difficulties and trials that are inevitable when two human beings live together in a life-long union of the greatest intimacy, with all the changes in mood and temperament that the varying conditions of life occasion.
Self-sacrifice is one of the standards of measurement for true love. Self-sacrifice is opposed to selfishness. Selfishness means wanting your own way always. It makes you a dictator.
Self-sacrifice must take the form of compromise. This compromise does not surrender in matters of moral or spiritual principle, but does surrender in disputes over the use of money, leisure time, or material things.
If you always insist on having your way, on doing what you want, on buying what you want, on going where you choose, without considering the desires of your partner, there is selfishness in place of love. Such selfishness is the basis of all impatience, and anger is the fruit of impatience.
A happy marriage depends so much on cooperation, self-sacrifice, sacrifice, and understanding that whatever is gained by insisting on rights will be lost in peace and good will.
So never talk about what you have a right to do against the wishes of your partner. It is difficult, if not impossible, to bring peace into a home where either the husband or the wife is stubbornly insisting on some right against the judgment or wishes of the partner.
You cannot force a person to be a good companion. That must come from the person’s own desire and from his freedom from external tasks and worries. Rather than just laying down the law, you would do far better to show an interest in each other’s work and to make some effort, even with all your own responsibilities, to help each other with it.
The partnership of marriage requires give and take. There are still husbands who feel that only men are entitled to freedom of movement and outside-the-house contacts and associations.
Either they are very jealous men, who unreasonably fear that they might lose their wives’ affection if they permit them to mingle with people outside the home, or they are simply the dictator type, who feel that women should be subject to men and to their duties as wives and mothers, and that they should ask for nothing in the way of relaxation and recreation.
This is not normal, but it is something wives should accept patiently. They can use any reasonable means to correct the condition. Anger, resentment, and bitterness will not accomplish anything; rather they will serve only to harden some husbands in their unjust attitude.
If your husband has a kind of tyrannical temperament – if he thinks he knows it all as far as you are concerned – you will not change his opinion of his superior wisdom merely by butting your head against his will.
You must have a full measure of respect for the judgment and wishes of your spouse. Use spiritual motives to accept with peace the tyranny you cannot avoid without war.
If your husband insists on making all the decisions, no matter how intimately you may be involved, then only by the grace of God, combined with a constant effort to cultivate patience, prudence, and tact will you be able to solve your problem.
Furthermore, you accepted him “for better or for worse,” and when “the worse” comes out in him, remember your promise at God’s altar. Be thankful that you have a good Catholic husband, if that be the case, who does not, with all his faults, make it difficult for you to live up to your Faith and to save your soul.
Self-sacrifice must take the form of forgiveness. Forgiveness means the sacrifice of anger, bitterness, resentment, and revenge against your partner. There is no marriage in which forgiveness is not sometimes required, because there are no perfect human beings on earth.
It is inevitable when you live with another person day after day that at times your feelings will be hurt, and you will think that your rights are abused. So do not be too sensitive, and do not feel sorry for yourself.
A nagging wife never wholeheartedly forgives, because she never lets her husband forget his faults and defects of character. A husband who bears grudges against his wife and enters into moody silences for long periods of time is too selfish to forgive from his heart.
The causes for disagreements are usually very trivial. If you have misunderstandings, do everything possible to straighten out these domestic problems as soon as possible, and try to keep harmony.
Balance your accounts every day: if you quarrel in the morning, try to be at peace by nightfall. If you have failed, admit the mistake, and your spouse should forgive and forget.
You need a technique for handling the differences that so often lead to explosions of temper in marriage. Try to discuss your differences with calmness and understanding and settle them through reason tempered with good will and love. Without these elements, no disagreement can be solved.
With the help of God and your good will, love, and understanding, a solution can be found for every difficulty.
Accept each other’s faults
The state of being in love is not a sufficient guide to the new life of marriage, as a pagan, secular world would have us believe. The implications of the vows of Matrimony become clear only gradually.
When you were married, each of you had to choose first the interests of the other. This choice could not be accomplished in a matter of days. When you began to live as one, you discovered in yourselves faults of temper and character of which previously you may not have been aware. Even to this day you will find these faults your stumbling blocks.
Your chance of happiness depends on your sincere determination and your capacity for self-sacrifice to get them out of your way. Learn to accept each other’s faults with patient love. Do not brood over them. If you do, you will pile one thing upon another and make mountains out of molehills.
Forgiveness is especially a necessary part of your relationship. If you see a fault in your spouse that you consider serious, and which makes you unhappy, be patient and bring it up to your partner in a kind, prudent way.
Be ready to accept correction for your own faults and failings. If you have complaints about your spouse, begin the process of correction by examining and correcting yourself. A case cannot be settled on the basis of one spouse’s complaints alone. The principal fault may be found on one side only, but you should not take it for granted without self-examination and humble self-improvement.
You must dare to put aside your petty personal pattern, your peeves and fears, and in humble trust and prayer beg the help of God, offered to you in the sacrament of Matrimony.
Make unpleasant experiences fewer. There will be numerous occasions when even loving personalities verge on hatred. There will be spells of boredom and dreariness that even real love does not dispel. There will be days and nights of weariness, discouragement, unhappiness, and almost despair.
Remember that you have enough help to assure you of improvement. Both of you are working for the ideal marriage, and both of you are eager to find ways of making your life happier.
If only you cooperate, God will give you innumerable graces -those particularly conferred by the sacrament of Matrimony – actual grace and sanctifying grace. This means a real lift to progress at the very moment you need it most.
Punctuality exacts self-discipline and detachment; it often asks us to interrupt some interesting, pleasant work in order to give ourselves to another kind, perhaps less attractive or less important.
However, it would be a great mistake to esteem our duties and to dedicate ourselves to them according to the attraction we have for them or according to their more or less apparent importance.
All is important and beautiful when it is the expression of the will of God, and the soul who wishes to live in this hole he will every minute of the day, will never omit the slightest act prescribed by its rule of life. -Divine Intimacy
“Did you ever bewail losses and mistakes in an exaggerated way, out of all proportion to their magnitude? We have all done so….” Fr. John Carr, C.SS.R., Helps to Happiness
Review: The volumes are so thick and worth the price! Both the black and white volume with its intricate pencil illustrations, and the volume with its bright wall-to-wall colors, have equal appeal each in their own way. It is a sturdy paperback, and will last in a house full of kids. Shipped quickly.
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