How do we go from the marriage we have to the one we want to have? We die. We die to our self and our desires and our direction and we learn to live for the marriage. Note I did not say to live for your bride, but to live for the marriage. What’s the difference? A great deal.
Like you, your bride is imperfect. She has fears, wrong desires, and motives that are not pure. If you live for her, for what she wants, for what drives her, you have just moved from being controlled by one selfish human to being controlled by another selfish human. A great marriage comes not from doing what you want, or what she wants, but what is best for the marriage.
God says that when we marry the two become one. I realise that “1+1=1” does not work in math, but God says that is mystery and secret of marriage. When both husband and wife devote themselves to what is good for the marriage, great things happen. We can do what we don’t want to do, and we can do what we know our bride does not want us to do, if we understand that the result is good for us as a couple. This means that I sometimes do what I would like to do, sometimes do what she would like to do, and sometimes do things neither of us would like to do. Decisions are made based on the long-term health of our marriage, and if we are both living this way, we are both expected to sacrifice as much as is needed.
Living this way also means that “keeping score” is pointless. If I have sacrificed more this month, so what? That is what was needed, so I did it. Maybe I had to die to this month, or maybe I was in a better place to sacrifice this month. If I am dead to myself, and living for my marriage, the only score that matters is how my marriage is doing. If it’s getting better, we both win, if it’s not, we both lose.