Do couples that share meaningful interests together become happier because of the sharing. . . or do happy couples just naturally share meaningful things together?
by James Hess. last updated: February 7, 2014
When I was a young Sergeant in the US Army I used to lead hiking and climbing missions for training my troops. Many times my soldiers set out full of joy, excitement, and physical oomph! A feeling of being trapped on a mountain can start to happen when those emotions fade as the real work starts.
US Army Specialist Murphy and US Army Specialist Taylor were a young couple that were in my squad. They were an unhappy couple who had plans for marriage. I knew that they could have “spirited arguments”, but I had to be a part of it to really get the full picture of just how much they attacked each other… on a daily basis.
I decided to see what would happen when I allowed them to take some leadership of the operation as a twosome. It wasn’t pretty!
“Give me that map . . . You Always screw up directions” she said to him.
He could rebound quickly, “Well, I’m not on my period so I’ll keep a cool head when it’s time to engage our enemy troops.”
I know they were really mature!
I let the insults go on on like this for a few minutes before I took squad leadership away from them. I did that because both of them started hurling insults about how “stupid” the other was.
Playful jesting can work within a marriage, but when it leads to contempt-filled communication like hurling hurtful insults at each other, intervention is needed.
They threatened to tear down the cohesion of the whole team–and the same is true for marriages that become defensive too!
An unhappy marriage does not refresh or feel encouraging to the point that despair becomes overwhelming. Many unhappy married couples see that the only way to ever be happy again is to get a divorce.
A divorce can be like an air lift off the mountain with your spouse. But, it will only air lift you to the same place on another mountain with the same “stone walls” around it.
There will always be a climb to undertake. And, backing off of the mountain can be just as difficult. A down-grade slope of any mountain can cause a slip and plummet danger as well.
Only change the things you can change in an unhappy marriage
Here’s steps (with things to consider) you can take to reach the joy of a “mountain top” marriage.
- Write all your ideas down for how to regain your happiness in the marriage again.
- List and identify the over-stressful, aggravating and truly difficult things that cause unhappiness (debt, bad communication, po*n addiction, and infidelity, etc.)
- Share your list with and encourage your spouse to do the same.
- Choose battles wisely. Avoid what can be avoided.
- A little Godly gentleness can go a looong way! Turn around those little things that irritated the harmony of your relationship by learning how to better relate to the needs and situation of your marriage partner.
- Happiness is not always being right all the time. You can be happy, or you can be right. Seldom in marriage can you be both . . . without a microbe of compromise.
- Identify what can’t be avoided, or fixed . . . and accept them for what they are. Instead, focus on the things that can be good for bringing happiness in the marriage.
New life can happen when you limit the frustration of the things that cannot be helped. That life can grow when you direct your energy into shared interests, like mountain climbing.