Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Don't treat your spouse as your equal!

Until the late 1950s, women were not treated as equal to men. Male supremacy had existed since time immemorial. The Women's Liberation Movement started in early '60s, basically with women demanding to be free from oppression and male supremacy. The movement's stated goals were to let women have freedom, equal opportunity and control over their lives. They wanted to be accorded with equality to men.

That movement succeeded and the ideology has made its permanence in our modern world. Many women have risen to lead in high level positions in the political, commercial, social and scientific arenas. 57 Russian, American and Chinese women have gone into space as astronauts. Women today work as hard and contribute as much as the men in the workforce. Nowadays, it is a woman's right to be treated as equal to man.

As one who advocates strong marriages, I don't agree that men should treat their wife as their equal.

I do not treat Michelle as my equal - I will NOT!

Treating her with equality in our early years of marriage did not produce good results for us.

Michelle and I labored through many situations where we were unhappy and dissatisfied with each other. Since I was treating her as my equal, I expected that she would respond with equality. She did not always do that. In the midst of some of those quarrels, we struggled to value each other and ended up fighting with derogatory thoughts of each other. Careless and hurting but untrue words were spoken and we had to deal with the pains of bearing and recovering from those words. 

Then I decided to look for help. I was desperate for someone to help Michelle and I rise above the immaturity and differences. After all, we loved each other.

I am glad I had a good friend, Paul, who even though was a bachelor all his life, knew truly what it takes to build a great marital relationship.

He said this to me, "Steven, if you want to live well with Michelle and enjoy your marriage, neither of you must have any selfish desires. Instead, agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help the other get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand."

Seeing that I was not exactly getting what he meant, he added,  "All that I am saying to you can be summarized like this - value Michelle more than you value yourself!"

That was as clear as it can be articulated. 

Looking back, I realized that for all those times when we quarreled or disagreed, we were basically fighting to defend or secure our "rights". Those actions did not add to valuing the other person more than our self. Exerting and demanding to have our rights are really selfish actions.

So if I have to value Michelle more than I value myself, how can I ever treat her as my equal? 

Instead, I must treat her as more than my equal, that is, to treat her as one whom I must always hold in higher esteem than myself. She must be the one whom I want to please and give of the best in me, the one for whom I will be willing to sacrifice my life for.

This principle is rather easy to articulate but can be very difficult to execute. It takes lots of practice to get better. It takes perseverance and unwavering belief too.

Along the way, I learned another practical idea. 

If I wanted to be treated as a king, I must treat Michelle as a queen. And if Michelle wanted to be treated as a queen, then she must do all she can to make me a king. We can do this only if we value each other more than our self.

Michelle and I do not treat each other with equality anymore. She is a Queen to me, and I am her King. Through perseverance and practice, we now value and hold each other in higher esteem than our self. It is now part of us to want to please the other more and more. And that is why we are truly enjoying our marriage more than ever.

My sincere advice for those who want to have a blissful and enjoyable marriage is this - Do not treat your spouse as your equal. Value him or her more than yourself!

Doing just that will make you a better lover right away.


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