Eliminating “Should” from Your Marriage


Words have the unique ability to shape a marriage. At some point, we have all seen our partners walk away with renewed confidence after we used words of encouragement to build them back up after a bad day. On the other hand, we also know the pain that can come from speaking harshly during a disagreement. Out of all the words that I have used in my marriage, the word “should” has proven to always bring at least one of us down. While it seems innocuous enough at first, this one word has the power to send you into a spiral of negative thinking that chips away at your ability to revel in marital bliss.

My Problem With Should

We all have an inner dialogue that serves as a gentle nudge to become our greater selves. Yet, I recently discovered that most of my thoughts went something like this: 

“Should I be washing dishes instead of snuggling on the couch?”
“I should be writing more blogs during my baby’s nap time.”
“Should I be further in my career by now?”

As you can probably see, this constant questioning of myself and what I believed I should be doing slowly began to chip away at my self-esteem. Social media also didn’t help. Whenever I felt down on myself or frustrated with work, I’d log onto my accounts and there it was-tons of reminders of how great everyone else’s life is going. Yet, we all know that everyone puts their best face forward online. So, then I began to wonder if everyone else was caught up in this trap of comparisons. You see, living under the constant belief that I should be doing better was making forget to appreciate all of the good things in my life. 

Our Problem with Should

While tearing myself up with thoughts of what I should or should not be doing was one thing, I found this mindset creeping into my marriage. I’d talk to my friends about our marital problems (I know, I know, bad choice), and they would return my vents with vehement advice like, “You shouldn’t tolerate that,” and “You shouldn’t do things like that.” While hearing my woes backed up with sympathetic rants from my friends gave me temporary pleasure, I discovered that it only made me look at my marriage with negativity. Instead of giving an opportunity to strengthen our marriage with forgiveness and understanding, I began to think about all the ways in which my partner should be doing better. Needless to say, it wasn’t long before all of this negativity made it clear that I needed to change.

Choosing Acceptance Instead of Should

When I saw my marriage begin to struggle, I knew that it was time for me to think about my true priorities. Throughout the past couple of years, I had forgotten to find joy in the simple things that truly make life special. Instead of thinking about what either of us should be doing, I began to focus on simply appreciating the moment. You see, every moment we spend with our spouse is an opportunity to deepen our love, and it is sometimes those little moments that give us the biggest opportunity to improve our relationship. When my partner leaves dirty clothes on the floor, speaks out in frustration or fails to live up to one of my random expectations, I just think about how neither of us are perfect and how beautiful it is that we have chosen to love each other unconditionally. Since I’ve adopted this mindset, we laugh more, we support each other, and my husband has even made an effort to offer me the same gift of acceptance.

Feel the Freedom of Unconditional Love

Letting go of the word should has transformed my marriage, and it has led us to a much deeper, stronger relationship that transcends our worldly disagreements. You can feel this freedom today by embracing the concept of unconditional love that comes from choosing to be content no matter what happens in your marriage. You and your spouse both came into the marriage with flaws as well as strengths, and contentment is a choice. By following this simple concept, you can delete that should-list and begin to enjoy the freedom that comes from total acceptance-of yourself and your spouse.