I was talking with a friend the other night, and she told me how difficult the first year of her marriage was, and how close they got to calling it quits. But, then she talked about how they found some information about a certain personality test, took it, then read up on the dynamics of their various dominant personality traits. They learned that their individual responses to each other in stressful situations was stressing them out even more.
And, you know, it doesn’t even matter what test it was, or what number or diagram they fit into. They sought out help, they stretched themselves to learn, they admitted that they each played a role in the spiral down, and then they turned the corner and started to understand each other better.
Man! Do I love to hear that kind of story! They were brave, and generous, and could sacrifice a bit of themselves for the sake of the other. They will probably look back in a decade or two and laugh about that first year. Bravo!
So, I’m pretty sure that’s what we’re supposed to do: Unpack that extra baggage, sort through it, then ship as much as you can off to dump! Whatever baggage is left, you learn how to deal with or be more patient with. And forgive. That’s the work of marriage.
Incidentally, if you decide not to do the work, or you decide you can’t do the work, you’re really just putting off having a healthy relationship. That’s no fun! Also, if you decide not to do that work with your partner now, you’ll still have to do it with someone else later. Whoever you’re with, you’re still going to be you, and you (and I) are all part of the problem.