Work on your marriage


Work on your marriage

Warrick Lattibeaudiere

Sunday, October 18, 2020

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PEOPLE may look on with an eye of envy at people married for decades, wondering why they can't have a marriage like that, too.

Those successful at this institution will tell you it doesn't just take work, it takes very hard work. And rightly so, since nothing valuable or worthwhile comes without a price in this life.

Individuals may feel broken, especially if they feel their mate is not matching their effort in the relationship. This was the concern for one reader. What principles, though, are worth remembering?

Identify and highlight the pros

It is so easy to see faults. Some people remark that the years before marriage are better than years after. This may feel and be true, but really shouldn't be so. Partners, however, get greater value from each other when good is often highlighted.

Take some time and make a list of the good things in your marriage. You may be surprised.

It doesn't mean the bad must not be addressed, since this can become a sore point that festers, but remember bigger than the problem may be how the problem is dealt with: Cultivate a mild tongue and speak without raising your voice.

Try the sandwich approach

Time has a way of allowing individuals to get used to, or familiar with each other. But there is a thin line between this and taking each other for granted.

Get into the sandwich approach of wrapping the advice for a partner to work on a quality into two slices of commendation. In this way, by commending twice as much as you give a suggestion, your partner would not see this as you nitpicking.

Find things on which to commend your partner. Build each other up. Let commendation be a way of life.

I do

Both should want the marriage to work and work to make it work.

A person's words should carry weight, meaning the marriage vows should not be put aside for flimsy reasons. After all, mates did promise before God and man “til death do us part”.

Try hard at fixing what needs fixing, bearing in mind that leaving one relationship for another may just be switching one set of problems for completely new ones.

Keep putting in; let your actions speak for you.

The greatest sermon, remember, is one that is seen. When one mate observes the other's good conduct, it may push one to reciprocate more.

Show interest in each other

Each mate should be seeking the advantage of the other. In fact, many couples agree that this is an elevated principle that has saved marriages.

No doubt, one person was drawn to the other before marriage by the vested interest shown in each other. Keep doing this. Remind each other of it, and try to do things together as a couple. In this way, love grows with greater moments to cherish.

When the marriage is toxic

Clearly, if there is physical abuse and endangerment to one's life or marital infidelity the innocent party should not be criticised for walking away from what has become a toxic arrangement.

In this case, your health and life ought to be factored into such a decision. You may have to be careful also and may need help to walk away, since your life may come under threat from an abusive and controlling mate.

Marriage takes very hard work, so endeavour to work very hard on your marriage, especially when it hasn't grown toxic.

Warrick Lattibeaudiere, PhD, a minister of religion for the past 23 years, lectures full-time in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Technology, Jamaica, where he is also director of the Language, Teaching and Research Centre. E-mail him at

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