Going by my own experience in marriage and also the experiences of many people to whom I have spoken, what we are going to talk about is so common… focusing on your own mistakes, instead of those of the other person.
I can’t count the times when, in my marriage, I looked at my husband and saw him as a ‘monster’ who ruined my life. To be honest, it wasn’t my life he had ruined, just the fairytale I believed in. But, to me, it felt like he had ruined my life. I’d have conversations with myself about the horrible things he was doing and saying, and friends, I was convinced I was living with a monster.
I should take time to clarify that, my husband wasn’t abusing me or anything like that. The things that annoyed me about him and made me label him a ‘monster’ were actually very small things, which are typical to men. He threw things over a floor I’d just finished to tidy up, refused to change the channel when I asked, expressed himself in a less sensitive way than I would – the usual things a newly marriage couple has to face. But, because of this idea I had that marriage had to be a fairytale, he seemed like a horrible person to me. And, the more he refused to change, the more I felt maltreated. ‘Oh poor me, I could be so happy with someone else, living my fairytale, but here I am stuck with this reality!’
Telling you about it, I even feel stupid. This was such a naïve way of thinking, not to mention it was a huge injustice to my husband. He loved me, he went out of his way to please me and make me happy, but all I could see were the things he was not – things that were insignificant. While I was focusing on his mistakes, I missed out on his qualities. “Moti,” you may say, “you are describing my life, right now. My husband is to me a monster, who has ruined my life completely. How do I turn that around?”
Well, let me tell you what happened to make me turn around. One day, I came face to face with another reality. I will never forget the day when that reality hit. We had gone out with friends and my husband was having such a good time, laughing, happy, like he had no care in the world. During that time, I kept thinking, “Oh, he’s so happy. When was the last time I saw him laughing like this?” I kept searching and searching for a time I had seen him this carefree and happy with me, and I couldn’t remember it. That’s when the truth hit me. “My God! To him, I was the monster who ruined his life!”