Posts Tagged ‘honour’

For the “solution driven” individual it can be frustrating to face something you can’t change.

In a long-term relationship, focusing on such areas develops points of contention or disappointment rather quickly. However, that same focus put in the right place can be a vital key to breakthrough and change. The choice, really, is between contention and disappointment or real and significant change. You just have to know where to focus. As it is commonly said, it’s better to go through life with a key than a crowbar.

To get you thinking, here’s a mini-list of things you can’t fix, complete with better targets for your focus:

You can’t fix what’s already happened but you can nurture something beautiful from what you have. Find the good in your spouse in every situation, and find ways to affirm it with your words and acceptance.

You can’t fix a person’s past but you can help them “become” the best version of themselves. You are your spouse’s greatest fan or critic! Encouraging them will inspire much more change than condemnation.

You can’t fix a another’s opinion but you can study your own perspective in the light of their ideas. Be willing to take correction from your spouse, just like you wish they would from you. They understand you better than anyone, so their perspective is valuable to you.

You can’t fix anger in someone else but you can see past it to their wounds. Understand “hurt people hurt people.” In such times look for their hurt instead of reacting to their anger, and you’ll find you can respond to their need instead of distancing yourself with defensiveness.

You can’t fix a spouse’s weakness, but you can lead in improving yourself. It’s your responsibility to love your spouse, and improve yourself, and not the other way around!

You can’t fix what a person gives you, but you can serve them more generously still. You’ll find whatever you give your spouse (eg. encouragement, criticism, time, acts of service, affirmation, silence) your spouse will naturally be inclined to reciprocate. It’s almost guaranteed!

Lovers would do well to put their focus on what they can fix: themselves.


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So, you have read our posts (post #1 and post #2) on becoming the best version of yourself for the sake of your spouse but you may be thinking, “You’re missing the point, s/he is the one that needs to change, not me!”

If this is you, your spouse is probably putting undue pressure on you by the way they act. You’re undoubtedly right in that it’s unfair (“I didn’t sign up for this!”), you’re right that you are worth more than their behavior communicates to you, and you may even be right that between the two of you they have the most glaring faults.

However the practice of becoming the best version of yourself is STILL the answer to YOUR situation. It’s honestly the best option, and a very powerful one.

Here’s why… Your spouse is likely a well-intentioned human being that has difficulty in being the best s/he could be in certain areas, despite how much they desire to be and do better (kinda sounds like you and I, incidentally). But it is human nature to want to please the ones you are closest to. It is most likely they already know their errors and desperately want to change. They’re just looking for a chance.

This is where you come in. Create a vacuum: aggressively show your mate how YOU are changing deep and significant aspects of YOU, becoming the best version of yourself for THEM. This almost always creates an upward cycle of change and improvement in the relationship, as love always wants to respond to initiative.

Set the bar high for yourself and don’t say anything about them. Demonstrate your character and courage. The lure to join you in improving themselves for your sake will become almost irresistible.

The upward focus you will create is the exact opposite of what happens when you both point fingers and blame. The downward spiral of accusation and resistance to personal change happens when both partners come under attack, get defensive, dig in their heels and place the blame on the one they committed to love. The cycle of blame and the cycle of positive change both have tremendous pull and gravity in a relationship, and they both begin by a single choice.

Make a choice to change you. Love will see that your spouse will follow, because this commitment to be the best version of yourself really is for their sake.

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Habits are a necessary part of life, including living in a long-term relationship. You would do well to break some habits that work against you (see here), and to replace them with some that will work for you. We believe this is the second of the “couple things” that will make your marriage better over time.

When you commit to “increase” (click here to see our last post) in order to become the best version of yourself, you are really committing to develop the following habits for the sake of your mate:

1. Continually think “responsibility” not “excuses.” Adopting a victim mentality has yet to benefit a marriage. If you don’t aim to “own your stuff” (the consequences of your choices and behaviour) you’ll blame your stuff on the person closest to you, to the detriment of the health of your relationship. Therefore it must be owned. After all, your spouse has enough of your imperfections to compensate for as it is, and they’re trying to find reasons to honour, or love and respect you. Help them out!

2. Continually think “behaviour” not “identity.” When you’re making changes to yourself for someone else’s sake, you have to remember you’re aiming to change the way you do things, not who you are. Otherwise you end up resenting the changes and they ultimately don’t stick. You’re trying to become the best version of yourSELF, not someone else. You are trying to establish patterns that make up for, or work around, your personality weaknesses or character flaws for the sake and sanity of the person you married. They married you. Become the best you there could be.

3. Continually think “action” not “intention.” Your plans don’t change how a person feels about you. Your behaviour does. What will give you more results than just about anything else you can do in a relationship is concrete changes in your actions – unasked for and un-nagged about. Know this, your spouse fell in love with who you are, s/he married you because they believe in your plans and intentions, and s/he will fall in love with you over and over when you prove to them they made the right choice.

Habits are powerful. Once they are made they become self-perpetuating. Put the creation of these habits on the front burner of your agenda. These habits will drive your commitment to be the best version of yourself – for your partner’s sake.

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I think I may have overheard some of your thoughts from our last two posts on honour. (Click here to see our last post.) When faced with the challenge of finding new ways to honour your spouse, you’re confronted with the problem that you believe they’re not really worthy of your honour.

This could either be because “familiarity has bred contempt” or because they have done something or acted in a way to let you down or hurt you. You started out promising to put them first, honouring them as you should, but they’ve become in your mind, to whatever degree, unworthy. Or you’ve ended up unmotivated to give them the honour you once did.

But choosing to honour is still the answer. Honour says, “You are more than this. I believe better things about you than what you have shown me. I still believe in who you are.”

Action that communicates this kind of honour gets results. We don’t need people to pat us on the back, congratulate us and honour us when we’ve accomplished something. Where we really need it is on the journey.

To honour someone truly is to look past the irritating behaviours, weaknesses and faults to see the person behind all that, to brush away all the debris of life and really witness his or her journey. To honour is to believe in them, to support them en route, not because they have accomplished or are perfect, but because you’ve chosen to believe that they can, and are becoming someone great.

Once you have chosen this perspective, you begin to see your spouse’s inherent value. They are worthy of honor based on who they are as opposed to what they have or haven’t done.

Turn it around for a second. Wouldn’t you wish your partner to see you and honour you for who you are, and not base their treatment of you on what you’ve done? Refuse the temptation to say, “Yeah, but…” and start there.

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The concepts of “honour” (click here to read our last post) and habits, or routines, don’t mix. The first time he holds a door open for her, wow – the emotion (!), but after five years of marriage she may not even notice.

There are two habits here: he opens the door (habit 1) and she doesn’t notice (habit 2). Actions that were uplifting at one time and made you feel special tend towards becoming unnoticed and devoid of effect. The original power that honour had in a relationship tends to wane.

But this can be changed, and any relationship can be restored to a place where gestures of honour make an impact and bring joy again in your marriage:

Habit 1 – Break the habit of doing things for your spouse “just because” that’s the way you’ve always done them. Do them with a renewed sense of honour and appreciation. Better yet, begin to establish a new set of behaviours and choices where you honour your spouse according to what he or she needs in this season. Create new honour.

Habit 2 – Break the habit you have of not noticing what’s already there in your relationship, and the attention that your spouse honours you with. Whether they are doing it out of habit or not doesn’t matter. Just stop, notice the gesture/effort/sacrifice, and appreciate it for what it is. As she walks up the sidewalk to the door, notice that it’s YOUR house she’s coming home to – she chose YOU! As he leaves for work – it’s YOU he’s providing for. As you snuggle before you sleep, it’s YOU they share a bed with. Create new appreciation and express it!

Stop letting honourable actions from developing into a “same old, same old” routine. And in the meantime, notice afresh what’s already there, and what IS being done to honour you.

How could you do this, today, in the area of sexuality, or with your spirituality, or perhaps in relation to your parenting, or finances? Start there.

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CoupleThingsBlog is all about the “couple things” that make a marriage great. The first of those things is a commitment to honour each other. It sounds simplistic but honour is the one characteristic that defines the start of a love relationship, and it’s the one characteristic of those with vibrant, happy marriages years later.

To honour is to put your spouse in first place. It’s to put their deal ahead of yours time and time again and in a myriad of ways. It’s doing this in a way that they notice and continue to notice, which means it’s a continual development of how you treat them. To honour each other in marriage is the adventure of seeking out fresh and powerful ways to serve your spouse’s interests over your own.

Honour existed in abundance at the beginning of your relationship as you placed each other first in your thoughts, actions, the way you presented yourself, and the treatment you gave them in private as well as public. In marriages that continue to get greater over the years, you can see honour still characterizing each other’s behaviours: the vehicle door he opened even though it’s raining and the smile she flashes in him in return, the standing up for him when he’s posed an uncomfortable question at a party, the making of his favourite meal with love and care, or the vocal appreciation of her beauty and abilities.

Think of honour as preferential treatment. You decide to do it, warranted or not, and in that choosing is untold nurturing power for your love together.

How do you do it? Think, how would I treat a celebrity, or politician, or inventor, or someone who is worthy of great respect in my home? Ask yourself, isn’t this person I married, the one who gave me their heart, worthy of the same? How have you taken him/her for granted? Start there.

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