Most people think about losing weight when they think diet. But actually the purpose of a happy marriage diet is to gain health. In many cases a diet is about losing weight, sure; but that’s because losing weight will make you healthier, and… happier. In fact, if you drill down to the root desire for a diet, whether it is to address a current physical ailment, or to avoid one, the root desire is to be… happier.
The marriage diet I want to propose to you is to make you happier
A diet is a prescription of what you will take in, what you will eliminate, and what you will moderate. Is that a fair description? And, we can add that it is a design to accomplish specific, or general goals. So, lets use that for marriage. And, as anyone can tell you with confidence, before you go somewhere its a good idea to know where you are going. So let’s start with goal setting.
Happiness is both the direction and goal of marriage.
Marriage is all about happiness.
I am well aware of the ‘puritans’ telling us to take things more seriously, but I am quite serious when it comes to my marital happiness. Everything we do within our marriage should move us towards happiness; that’s the direction. And everything we do in marriage should set us up for future happiness; that’s the goal.
like most things in life, marriage is not exactly intuitive. That means that we inadvertently do stupid things, sometimes. Sometimes we forget the direction, we forget the goal, and we include things in our marriage diet that makes us unhappy.
Make your marriage diet focused
What are you presently including that makes you unhappy?
What could you add to make you happier?
I like the idea of starting by making a list. Then, prioritize the list. Then focus on the top one or two things to work on. Otherwise, most people will get overwhelmed, and end up forgetting about their marriage diet altogether.
A list should begin with two distinct columns. You can pick one or two items from either column, or both. Its tempting, I know to pick more than one or two, but it is not advisable. Things always look easier that they are, and you want your diet to be a success, so you will use it again later. If you fail, you will just say it didn’t work, and get all discouraged. So, let’s approach this by setting yourself up for success.
What do I need to eliminate And What do I need more of
The biggest poison in marriage is what i call over-familiarity. But you can’t really put that in the eliminate column because it manifests in so many ways. So, let’s break it down further. Here are some ways that over-familiarity manifests
- Being sloppy
- Making fun of
- Expecting (I know this is vague, but you can apply this as you wish)
Then there are some things which are like termites. They undermine the very foundation of your marrige
- Flirting with others
- Having friendships with members of the other gender
- Talking about your relationship with friends or counselors
Some things that are like high potency vitamins for marriage. It is too easy to forget to take our vitamins, get some fresh air and sunshine, or go to the gym. But our marriages need these to be happy.
- Intimate talk (not sexual)
- Unexpected favors
- Sincere flattery and encouragement
The last part of a diet is keeping track. This is an easy thing to do. Keep a little 3×5 card, or put a reminder on your smart phone. Set it for every couple of hours to make sure you remember.
As you can see, it makes a lot of sense to get started on your marriage diet. Don’t put it off! Marriage is a right now kind of thing. You can have the greatest marriage of all time if you put your mind to it. That’s what I have! And, I want you to have that too. That’s why I started The Marriage Foundation!