A couple of times this month I’ve told you about my 2014 Marriage Upgrade Challenge: spending the whole year trying to make yourself and your marriage better regardless of what your wife says or does.
What I am looking for here are some early adopters.
You see, I am convinced that if either spouse works steadily on their marriage, there is a better than 95%* chance they will see a significant improvement within a year.
If I had proof of that, I suspect most of those reading this blog would be willing to try it. Thing is, I do not have proof. My hope is that a year from now I will have dozens of you saying, “It worked! I put consistent effort into my marriage, and it got a lot better.” I will then use those “testimonials” to convince more people, both men and women, to work on their marriages. (My evil plan has been revealed! Bwahaha!)
How will this happen? I don’t have a secret plan, and I am not going to sell you anything. The goal is simple: be nicer, be more generous, and give more grace. You don’t have to be perfect; you can completely blow it at times and it will still work. Some of what needs to be done will be true for all marriages while other things will vary depending on you, your spouse, and your situation.
My part in this is to make suggestions, help you learn what it will take to make your marriage awesome, and to cheer you on. Your part is to do the work and brush yourself off and get back to it when you mess up. Your wife’s part is nothing – this is all about you.
*A better than 95% chance? I know many are thinking, “You don’t know my wife. Nothing I do will result in any change in what she thinks or does; it’s hopeless.” A very who think that are right, but the majority are wrong. Even the angriest, stubbornest, most selfish people will be swayed by twelve months of being treated better.
What if you are in the 5%? A few of you will try this, do a half way decent job (which is all it takes) and a year from now there will be no change in your wife. If that happens, I think you have still benefited. You made an effort to fix your marriage – an effort going well beyond what most ever try. You’ll be able to say to your wife, and anyone else, that you tried your hardest. You can tell your wife you’re not perfect, but you have proven there’s nothing you can do on your own to change your marriage. You can then push for the two of you to get help, give her an ultimatum, or whatever else seems right. You can do those things knowing you did your best to fix things.
Even if your marriage does not improve, you will improve. You will be a better, stronger, more self-confident person. I think you will be happier and less driven by the thoughts and opinions of others. Regardless of what happens next, you will be better prepared for it, and you will not be a victim.