John Kasich said that the Republican Party would be better placed to win the general election if each candidate would promote their own strengths rather than knocking their rivals. But in this contest of the candidates, there is only one winner. Everyone else will lose. So, a mentality of the 'Law of the Jungle' takes hold.
If, on the other hand, government was run through more cooperative efforts, then an airing of differences of opinion might actually be productive. The candidates could reason out what the best strategies would be since everyone would be a winner and be rewarded for the collective effort.
I don't know whether this approach could work in politics. But this should definitely be the model at work in our homes. Cooperation and respect. In problem solving? Of course. But what about our general interactions with each other? What if one partner finds the other weak or lacking in an important strength? Are you or your partner always truthful? What should a couple do with this?
How can you be respectful when you don't respect each other? What about being loving when you don't feel that your partner is lovable? Should love and respect in a marriage be dependent on feelings?
Philosophically, one can argue that the nature of a marriage is to provide unconditional love and respect. If you behave according to a sacred bond, then the love will flow. I think that there is a lot of wisdom to this approach. If you treat your spouse as you should, simply because they are your spouse, then love will flourish.
However, two personalities will often conflict. Some traits we may admire but others we may dislike. So, what is a couple to do? Here are some great starting points:
- Grow by listening to your partner's comments: work on becoming more consistent and admirable in those areas that are most important to them.
- Recognize where growth is more difficult for your partner and be patient and understanding. Look for the good in your partner's growth and give positive and encouraging feedback as often as possible. Let them know that you appreciate their efforts.
- Ensure that you not only express your commitment to your partner but that you also demonstrate it consistently with your actions as well.
- Focus on those areas that are most important for you and your partner and don't waste time and energy on those things that are really trivial in the scheme of things. For example, is it SUCH a big deal that your partner squeezes the tube of toothpaste in the middle? Buy a second tube and store it separately or LET IT GO. Much better for both of you to invest your efforts on larger issues: happy times spent together, shared career and/or financial goals, accommodating relationships with the in-laws, etc.
After all of this, how do you measure what is or is not important? Perhaps the following can be a guide; it's rough, but it may do the trick: imagine that you passed away and you're listening to your partner eulogize you. They are describing how you were as a spouse. What memories of you would you want your partner to carry with them and what impression would you want the mourners to leave with?
In a way, this approach is very superficial but it can be surprisingly effective: looking at the bigger picture of the mark we make on others and the legacy we leave behind can help us pinpoint that which is most valuable in life. Ultimately, what is truly important is that you and your spouse benefit in positive, enriching ways by growing together in life and marriage.