How to keep love alive?

Bear each other’s weak points

When my mother-in-law was a young wife, she had to live with her mother-in-law, which was not easy on her. Once she quarreled with her husband and left to her mother’s place. But being a wise woman her mother did not say, "Ok, your husband is a villain! It serves him right! Stay here and let him suffer!" Instead, she said, "Either you divorce and come back to live with me permanently or you return to your husband and ask to forgive you." It helped my mother-in-law to understand that a small quarrel didn’t worth all those troubles. She came back to her husband and had lived with him for fifty years.

Many people get bored with monotonous life with one person. It’s very important to remember the first good feeling you had when your love was new. With time, this joyful feeling becomes dull and usual and is taken for granted. Therefore, you should try to keep and refresh it.

My husband and I have been married for 11 years, but to us it has been like one day, as if we got married yesterday. The longer we are together the better we understand each other. We know each other’s character. We know that if one of us is grumbling, another one should just wait and have patience and after awhile things will be all right again.

Even the "passionate" aspect of our relationship has not weakened but got stronger. You know that after a wedding ceremony a couple isn’t obligated to have the fast on Wednesdays and Fridays during a whole month as it usually happens. That is why this month is called a honeymoon. Elijah and I didn’t have any experience in this side of love, we felt shy before each other; so instead of spending a wild honeymoon, we took walks and drew pictures. Now we think, what the fools we were – we should have occupied ourselves with better business! We behaved like teenagers, not 26 year-old adults. Today our intimate relations are more close and mature.

Nevertheless, it’s not passion that holds people together, but love and patience. We all are different in character and have some strange sides. Arrogance and vanity are big problems, difficult to fight with, but these qualities are parts of painters’ and art people’s nature. Of course, we both try to overcome our imperfections, but it’s not the easiest thing to do; therefore we have to accept some weak points of each other. You’d better compromise and preferably it should be a wife who must be concessive, because man is the head of a family. Forgive each other’s shortcomings, for instance when your spouse says something painful being in a bad mood. Your ability to forgive is vital, no family can survive without it. You know that your partner loves you, don’t you? And yet, sometimes just one small phrase can hurt you so much that you cross out everything positive that you had with your spouse. Among all petty situations, you should preserve something that is most important between you and your beloved one.

You need to be wise in relationships with those close to you. You need to concede, which is probably the most difficult thing. From the outside it seems like it should be easy, but it’s not, because we are used to pitying ourselves. We tend to think that we are so smart, nice, and good-natured; that we are loved by many people and only our spouse does not appreciate us. So, don’t pity yourself, at least, learn not to...

It is very important to be the first one to say "sorry" and to reconcile. It’s much more difficult for me to say "sorry" than it is for my husband, though I’m wrong more often. For instance, I can say something wrong and initiate a quarrel. Elijah is the first to ask for forgiveness simply in order to stop our arguing and to restore the peace. While quarrelling, I often think that the question that is being discussed is most important, a matter of life and death. My husband is wiser than me, therefore he is able to say, "Please forgive me. I love you and I’m wrong – I will never do it again." After such words I usually realize that the whole mess wasn’t worth one thin dime, and it should have been me to say "sorry" from the very beginning.

Sometime a mutual understanding can come through the help of children. When our daughter Masha was having a flue or some other sickness, our priest always told us, "Both of you must confess". I should admit, Masha fell sick quite often, right after me and my husband had quarrels. It had a sobering effect and made us understand that accepting and forgiving each other was much easier and healthier than seeing our child suffering. Can parents calmly watch their child suffer from fever and cramps knowing it was caused by their own wrong behavior?

Often parents of one of the sides are the source of the conflict. This is because parents "know" that only their child is right. Not every parent is wise enough to see his child’s mistakes, and parents can provoke some problems unintentionally.

Elijah’s and my parents are quite wise, but we often quarreled because of them. His parents would say to him, "You’re bright and talented, and yet, your wife does not feed you all right and does not care for you, she loves only herself and her art". Of course, such words make a person feel abandoned, he thinks, "Why, indeed, I am that good…" Or the man’s parents can make biting remarks to his wife and vise versa. Even if you try to ignore it and think it over, the resentment builds up and later the emotions spill out. On whom? On the person that is most dear to you. Unfortunately, we had such situations. My husband would ask, "Why do you put it on me? It was my mother that said such words to you, not me, I did not hurt you!" – "Yes, but she is your mother!" Of course, I understood that she was an elderly person. Probably she just wanted her son’s attention... Now I know that one has to be patient with his/her spouse’s parents, be ready for compromise even to the prejudice of him/herself.

How do you get resources for this self-sacrifice? You realize that this woman is not just an old person and a stranger to you, but she is your husband’s mother. Do you love him? Think that he couldn’t become the person he is without his parents, they built up his good qualities. So if you love your spouse, you should love his parents as well, love and forgive.

We all are highly preoccupied with ourselves. It is not pleasant to hear, "You are so short! Perhaps you should not do painting. Let Elijah paint and you go ahead and make jewels". Or, for example, in the presence of his parents someone may say that my works are better than Elijah’s. Do you think such words make his mother feel good? As her daughter-in-law I am obligated to wash, cook, clean, take care of our baby, that’s all. In her eyes, I should be in the shadow of her great son. But I guess, a woman should accept this role; if she wants to be wise she can play up to these rules. A woman should admit that her first part to play is a part of mother, hostess, laundress and housemaid. But then you can find some spare time to silently move aside and paint, paint and paint some more...

Yes, everybody has weak points. Nevertheless, there are much more positive qualities within us! We need to bear the weak sides of each other and be grateful to people close to us for all the good they do.

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Painter Olga Motovilova-Komova

Painter Olga Motovilova-Komova

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See also
Nothing should be higher than love (Writer Maxim Yakovlev)
We could not activate love by our own efforts (Igor Gagarin, Archpriest)
Your spouse is the delight you pay no heed to (Irina Rakhimova, psychologist)
The Third person is needed in a family (Vladimir Gurbolikov, journalist)
Talk to each other! (Svetlana Shvetsova, psychologist)
I give in my habits (Andrew Klyashtorni, businessman)

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