Portrait Of Loving African American Couple In CountrysideWhy did you get married?  I got married because I wanted a partner to join me on this journey we call life, and I wanted to start a family.  That’s it.  I don’t have some deep, complicated reason for wanting to say “I do.”  I really just wanted to find a good person that I love and trust to spend the rest of my life with.

The question I asked myself before I got married (and still ask myself on a regular basis) is, “is my relationship making me a better person?”  Don’t get me wrong; I definitely think that I am responsible for creating and cultivating my own joy and I take complete ownership of becoming a better version of myself.  However, I truly believe that any relationship I am in, particularly the one with my husband, should be contributing towards making me a better person.

What exactly do I mean when I say, “make you a better person”? I mean:

Does your spouse encourage you? 

Does he or she challenge you?

Does your partner help you strengthen your weaknesses and make good use of your strengths?

Does he or she tell you what you need to hear even if it’s not what you want to hear?

Does your spouse do and say things to help you become better in every possible way. 

Does your marriage make your kinder, more patient, more giving, etc.?

If you feel like your marriage and your spouse don’t make you better, and may even bring out the worst in you, don’t dust the issue under the rug because doing so could cause irreparable damage to your relationship. To be in a life-long commitment with someone and feel like they are not helping you become a better person is really not what marriage is all about.  After all, part of the joy of marriage is growing with someone and feeling like the relationship is mutually beneficial.

In a marriage, both parties should continuously ask themselves if the partnership is making them better people. If the answer is yes, keep doing what you are doing and enjoy the ride.  If the answer is no, there is hope to change things but the issue can’t go un-addressed.

We should all do what we can to make ourselves better people, but we should also be invested in whether or not the person we married is growing and becoming a better person, too.  I think one recipe for a healthy, happy marriage is one where each person is working on improving him or herself, while actively doing their best to make their spouse a better person.