Too many couples quickly forget or never internalize the concept of for better, for worse. When their relationship becomes difficult, as all relationships do, they start to question whether it is working for them. Their lack of enjoyment in the relationship leads them to wonder if there might be something better out there for them.

There is great wisdom in seriously contemplating the marriage vows, “for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish...”. Taking these vows seriously means that you choose to love each other in good times and bad. It means that you rise above the pettiness and refrain from punishing your partner when you feel hurt or upset.

Too often we tend to take the focus off our need to work on our own issues by focusing instead on what our partner should or should not be doing. Consider, are you looking for your relationship to make up for your dissatisfaction with yourself or with your life? I frequently have clients state that they just want to be happy. They want things to go back to the carefree dating days, where they were always excited to see each other and happy with each other.

Maybe it is the getting to know each other part that is appealing rather than the living together day after day. Things are fresh and new and you are usually on your best behavior, trying to impress each other. What happens to spoil the perfectness?

Reality has a way of bursting our illusion that our partner is only kind, generous, thoughtful, and sexy. We discover that they are also mean, selfish, thoughtless and off-putting. This does not mean that you have chosen the wrong person, or even that your partner has suddenly changed. The reality is that none of us are two dimensional. No one has only positive traits. If you think that your partner is not going to drive you crazy at times, you haven't known them long enough.

We want to absolutely do our best to always treat our partner from the best in us, but the expectation that our partner will always make us happy simply leads to frequent disappointment. It is not your partner's job to make you happy and it is not your job to make them happy. You each must choose to be happy.

When we reach a point in our maturity where we understand that it is okay for our partner feel the way they feel, think the way they think, and be who they are, it becomes easier to love them in spite of their flaws. And don't we all want to be loved in spite of our flaws.

We can separate ourselves from our partners feelings, we do not have to have a bad day because they are having a bad day, we do not have to be offended because they do not agree with us or they are grumpy. We can be a true support to our partner when we can maintain our equilibrium at those times when they may not be able to maintain their's.

Remember, if you choose to behave lovingly toward your partner, especially when you least feel like doing so, those loving feelings will most likely return. I agree with Tom Mullen, "Happy marriages begin when we marry the ones we love, and they blossom when we love the ones we marry"

Author's Bio: 

Susan Derry, B.Ed., M.S.Psy., R.P.C., C.P.C.
Professional Counselor & Life Coach
Co-author of Marriage Prep: Beginnings a downloadable marriage preparation course
Co-author of Intimate Sex: Manual for Lovemaking, a sex manual for couples
Offers a free Nurturing Marriage Ezine