A Harmonious Marriage Isn’t Complicated

Alex Chen
4 min readJun 16, 2024

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Recently, I attended a workshop on traditional Chinese culture, and the teacher talked about how nowadays, so many couples have conflict. He then said,

“A harmonious marriage isn’t complicated. All you need to do is blame yourself more and appreciate them more.”

In other words, conflict arises because we focus on other people’s faults. There are two simple ways to solve this problem. One is to blame ourselves more. Two is to appreciate them more. This isn’t just useful for marriage, but for all relationships.

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First, let’s talk about blaming ourselves more. If you think about it, no problem is ever 100% one person’s fault. It takes two to argue. Even if they are more at fault, if we start criticizing their 80% fault, what will they do? Naturally, they’ll get defensive and criticize our 20% fault. This is natural human sentiment. Least to say that from their perspective, they probably think that we are 80% at fault and they are only 20%.

Moreover, chances are that we have the same faults as them, as well as many other faults. If someone criticizes us, but they have the same faults (even if to a lesser degree) and many others, what would we think? “You’re not much better than me. You have no right to criticize me.” This is also natural human sentiment.

But if we apologize for our 20% fault first, if we soften up first, then they will soften up and apologize for their 80%. After all, everyone has a sense of shame. When people see a virtuous example over and over again, eventually, their sense of shame will arise, and they will change for the better. When we take all the blame, they will feel that’s not fair to us, and they will take part of the blame too.

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Also, if we can humbly accept their criticism, then they will also become willing to accept our criticisms too. This is natural human sentiment and also karma.

Second is to appreciate them more. If our mind is always holding thoughts of how they offended us or how they are wrong, then whenever we see them, we will be unhappy and treat them negatively. This, of course, will harm the relationship. If we instead fill our mind with thoughts of their contributions, kindness, effort, and good points, then we will start to view them in a positive light, and we will naturally be kind and harmonious towards them.

Try this out: when you hold a thought of gratitude towards someone, can you feel angry or upset at them? You’ll notice that when you’re feeling grateful, you can’t feel negative emotions at the same time. Thus, if we want to feel happy and give the other person positive energy, which then influences them to feel happier and give us positive energy in return, we should strengthen our “gratitude muscle.” For example, we can write down things we are grateful for towards the other person (and daily life in general) every day in a journal.

Photo by Gabrielle Henderson on Unsplash

Some people say, “They were so caring and loving at the beginning of our relationship. But then they changed and became unappreciative and uncaring towards me.”

Again, this is focusing on others’ faults. We can ask ourselves, “What is my part of the blame?” Chances are, they aren’t the only person that become less appreciative and loving; we are probably the same. If we didn’t became less appreciative and loving, if we didn’t become demanding or controlling, then they probably wouldn’t be like this today. If we have the same problem as them, then we don’t have any right to blame them or demand them to be better. We have to lead by example. We need to start showing more appreciation and kindness to them again, and then they will feel like they should do the same to us. This is natural human sentiment and karma.

The difference between conflict and harmony lies in one thought. Is your thought one of blaming others or blaming yourself? Is your thought of appreciating others or demanding others?

Originally published at https://www.weeklywisdomblog.com on June 16, 2024.

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Alex Chen

Passionate about self-cultivation, happiness, and sharing wisdom.