You Have the Marriage You Want

August 31, 2016

in Uncategorized

A friend and I were discussing troubled marriages, and he said, “You have the marriage you want.” I see some exceptions to that, especially given our inability to change our spouse, but for the most part, I think he’s right.

You Have the Marriage You Want

You Have the Marriage You’re Willing to Have

A good marriage takes a lot of work. I happen to think the results are worth the effort, but some folks don’t seem to agree. They would really like a better marriage, but they’re unwilling to invest the time and energy it would take. 

If your marriage situation never changes, you or your husband may be limiting your marriage based on a lack of will to do what it would take.

You Have the Marriage You Think You Deserve

We generally have an internal idea of what we deserve. This is shaped by our life and all too often has nothing to do with what the Bible says about us. When we have better than we think we deserve we may react with fear. We think we’ll be punished for having something we don’t deserve, or we expect it to be taken from us. At best we live in fear, which means we can’t enjoy what we have. More often we sabotage what we have before we pay the price for having it. Of course, this is usually done subconsciously. 

If something goes wrong every time your marriage improves or is on the verge of improving, you or your husband may be limiting your marriage based on what you think you deserve.

You Have a Least Common Denominator Marriage

Some couples only have in their marriage what both of them think is good, right, safe, or acceptable. Both have the power to veto any change or improvement. Depending on what you both want this can work okay, slightly limit your marriage, or completely cripple your relationship. When a couple lives this way there’s an unspoken agreement to have a least common denominator marriage, and any attempt to change that will be strongly opposed by the other spouse.

If your marriage seems small, you and your husband may have decided to make it small by each excluding many things.

~ Paul – I’m XY and I want to live my marriage to the max!

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Andrew Budek-Schmeisser August 31, 2016 at 12:21 pm

Slab City, California? There HAS to be a story there.

I think you’re mostly right here, but there are some limitations, though they may fall outside the bell-shaped curve. My wife wanted someone like her father, a man who worked hard and was a traditional head of the family. I didn’t realize this; I tried to be something along those lines but was hilariously unsuited to step into shoes like that. She wanted ‘Father Knows Best’; she married Rambo.

So I guess what I am trying to say is that preconceptions and expectations play a very big role here, and that effort won’t overcome them; counseling might. But sometimes we have to live with falling short in the most important things to our spouse, and trying to make up for it (and I do) in the ways we can use.
Andrew Budek-Schmeisser recently posted…Your Dying Spouse 201 – A Patient’s PrayerMy Profile


Paul Byerly August 31, 2016 at 5:41 pm

@Andrew Budek-Schmeisser – Rambo knows best, does he not? You are correct we can only bend so much, even if we try.

Slab City is what’s left of barracks of the Marine Corps Camp Dunlap. It was abandoned after WWII and the building slabs are all that’s left. In the winter several thousand RVers show up and call it home. No services, no real city, just a makeshift thing. The concept fascinates me.
Paul Byerly recently posted…Are You Harnessing Critical Mass in Your Marriage?My Profile


Distilled Animal Spirits September 3, 2016 at 10:05 am

The you have the marriage you want statement strikes me as untrue. You may be fortunate that the spouse you chose evolves to want similar enough things out of life and marriage that you align and you should count your blessings.

If, however your spouse doesn’t understand the chasm, is uninterested in learning, sharing, growing with you then the statement is false. There are just too many marriage dynamics and too much free will for the statement to be anything other than mostly false.


Paul Byerly September 3, 2016 at 10:52 am

@Distilled Animal Spirits – Yes there is some of that, but I think many use that as an excuse to not do the hard work they could do. Which is why I think “You have the marriage you’re willing to have” is the truth for most folks.
Paul Byerly recently posted…Critical Mass: Powering Up the FunMy Profile


Distilled Animal Spirits September 3, 2016 at 12:30 pm

Well, there are many considerations. Spiritual, children, financial. I can assure you I work hard and attempt to learn. I will forever mourn the death of desire in my marriage.


Jerry Stumpf September 3, 2016 at 10:28 am

Over many years, we become more like our “preferred marriage”. It takes time for many bits of criteria to surface.

In the first several years, we do not actually know each other. Then kids come along and we have new issues to face. When a couple becomes “empty nesters” they settle in to seeing each other through a more accurate lens, especially when hey work to understand each other all along the way.

Good stimulation for discussion.
Jerry Stumpf recently posted…What do karate and your marriage have in common? No, not fighting! The answer will amaze you! My Profile


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