In the past, I have written about the importance of enjoying your loved ones while they are alive. I think it is important to have interval check-ins when we ask ourselves, “if my loved one (parent, child, spouse, sibling, friend, etc.) were to die tomorrow, would I have any regrets?” Today, though, I asked myself, “If my marriage were to end today, would I have any regrets?”
I am a firm believer that we mourn our loved ones in unhealthy ways when we are unable to get past our regrets. The things we regret include:
@ Not spending enough time with them
@ Not telling or showing them how much we loved them
@ Not being honest or genuine with them
@ Not being present, savoring the time you had with them
My new question, (“If my marriage were to end today, would I have any regrets?”) is about relationships that can be severed by our actions or the actions of others. In this situation your regrets may include the above and more:
@ Not giving enough to the relationship
@ Taking too much
@ Not hearing the other person
@ Not valuing the other person
@ Giving too much to the relationship and not enough to yourself
In either situation there is a chance of bitterness, but it is most prevalent in the latter.
Having this question in mind prompted me to have a conversation with my husband. We began by talking about others that we knew that had gone through a divorce. We discussed how they are handling their emotions in the aftermath. We talked about the difference between those that were blindsided by the separation, those that believe in the sanctity of marriage, and those that made the choice to leave.
In an attempt to help my husband understand how a person could be bitter and have a hard time moving on I expressed how I do a routine check-in on whether or not I am having fulfilling relationships with my loved ones before any of us die. It was in that moment that I realized there was difference in whether I was giving enough to a relationship that could end in death versus a relationship that could end in infidelity.
In other words, if my husband were to die and I had given my “all” to the relationship and not enough to myself my regrets would be different. While I might have a harder time catching myself up to be a member of society as something other than my husband’s wife and my children’s mom, it might not cause the bitterness that I would feel if my marriage ended in infidelity.
In courting or marital relationships presence, support, time, and, loving actions are very important aspects. Balance, though, is just as important. Balance is the giving and taking with your lover; giving to them and allowing them to give back. It is also the ability to care for your lover and the family between you, while continuing to value and care for yourself.
I believe that if you can answer this question, honestly and create the proper balance within your relationship you will not only alleviate most of your chances for bitterness if it ends; but you will also increase the joy within your relationship now.
So, I leave you with this question, “if your relationship were to end today, in infidelity or otherwise, would you have any regrets?” If yes, make a plan to correct that regret now and increase the joy in your love life.