A healthy marriage starts with two healthy people. What we mean by that goes beyond eating right and exercising, though those are still two very important things. More importantly, it means thinking the right way about your marriage, learning to self-soothe, practicing good self-care, influencing your partner, and being emotionally, mentally, and spiritually healthy.
We’ve touched on this over the previous four blogs, which on the surface were about improving relationships but really focused on how being the best YOU inevitably makes your relationship great. Your marriage can’t be healthy if only one of you subscribes to that mindset. As they say, it takes two! And
If you’re both healthy and being intentional about all of the above, you’ll understand your partner better, you’ll communicate better — and the result will be a healthier marriage.
So … to purposely beat a dead horse — a great marriage begins with a healthy you!
How do we become healthy people? (check out the illustrations above)
A good place to start is with this thought: Is my personal value and my identity based on who God says I am and who he has created me to be? How you see yourself will have a lot to do with how you see others and your relationship as a whole. Our real value and identity comes from God and most of us know or refer to this as self-esteem, right? If you have good, balanced self-esteem, then you’re going to feel good about yourself, your relationships, and the world around you. If you have low self-esteem, you’re going to constantly think negatively about everything — yourself, your place in the world, your relationships, etc.
But we also must look at our level of self-esteem. It’s not as black and white as “high” or “low” self-esteem:
- Healthy self-esteem is “realistic” – I am equal to others.
- Pride is “unrealistic” – I am superior to others.
- Unhealthy self-esteem is “unrealistic” – I am inferior to others.
When evaluating this to our lives and relationships — especially our marriages — do you compare yourself positively with your spouse, or do you tend to evaluate yourself as superior or inferior to them? It’s a great question to ask because a sign of maturity is the ability to give to others and to meet others’ needs. BUT, we can only give to others when we have a balanced acceptance of ourselves.
Check out the following criteria: (original author unknown)
Humility is not the same as humiliation — Humility is recognizing who we are as created by God. It is being contented with who we are, acknowledging we are God’s children who have worth and are loved even though we have gone astray and may not “feel” loved or worthy. Humility is also accepting our strengths as well as our weaknesses. Humiliation, in contrast, is a sense of shame and embarrassment and being discontented with who we are.
Self-denial is not the same as self-degradation — Self-denial is a biblical concept; self-degradation is not! Self-denial means I am willing to put off my sinful, selfish desires and behavior. It does not mean that I am going to put myself down and psychologically annihilate myself.
Unworthy is not the same as worthless — We are, as sinners, unworthy of God’s love, mercy, grace, and forgiveness. But we are NOT worthless. We have been bought with a price and are of immense worth and value to God. With God’s value of who we are in our mind, we can desire to be who God wants us to be — a reflection of his image!
Self-love is not the same as selfishness — Selfishness is an attitude and behavior. It puts my needs before your needs at your expense. Self-love is an attitude and behavior that considers you and your needs to be as important as mine but also means that my needs and feelings are as important as yours.
Self-worth is not the same as self-worship —I have value because of who created and redeemed me, not because of who I am and what I do. My significance is because I’m a child of God. I recognize my importance to the kingdom of God. My personal value isn’t inflated or exaggerated. I hear, see, and feel myself in relation to God and his plan.
All we are saying here is that your marriage can’t be healthy if you aren’t healthy, too. Focusing on yourself and trying to be better than you were yesterday or a week ago isn’t selfish when the result is a healthier, more connected marriage.
We care about You and Your marriage!
We want to be sure you have the tools to communicate better in your marriage. Plus, YOU are the best way we know to spread the word to more people. Forward one of our blogs to a friend today!
Did we leave anything out? How are you trying to be healthier? What benefits has that created in your marriage? Please send us a quick email and help us keep this conversation going. Mike@MikeandSusanDawson.com.