ON Verge Of Divorce

I Was On Verge Of Divorce, until One Simple Question Changed Everything

For years, my wife and I struggled. I’m not exactly sure what initially drew us together, but our personalities didn’t quite match up. And the longer we were married the more extreme the differences seemed. Our fighting became so constant that it was difficult to even imagine a peaceful relationship. We were on the edge of divorce.

One day things came to a head. We had just had another big fight on the phone and my wife had hung up on me. I was frustrated and angry. I had reached my limit.

The next morning I rolled over in bed and asked, “How can I make your day better?”

As much as I hated the idea of divorce, the pain of being together was just too much. I was also confused. I couldn’t figure out why marriage was so hard. Deep down I knew my wife was a good person. And I was a good person. So why couldn’t we get along? Why wouldn’t she change?

In the depths of my despair powerful inspiration came to me. I can’t change her. I can only change myself.

That night, as we lay in our bed, inches from each other yet miles apart, the inspiration came. I knew what I had to do.

The next morning I rolled over in bed and asked, “How can I make your day better?”

She looked at me angrily. “What?”

“How can I make your day better?”

“You can’t,” she said. “Why are you asking that?”

“Because I mean it,” I said. “I just want to know what I can do to make your day better.”

She looked at me cynically.

“You want to do something? Go clean the kitchen.”

She likely expected me to get mad. Instead I just nodded. “Okay.”

I got up and cleaned the kitchen.

The next day I asked the same thing. “What can I do to make your day better?”

Her eyes narrowed. “Clean the garage.”

I took a deep breath. I already had a busy day and I knew she had made the request in spite. I was tempted to blow up at her. Instead I said, “Okay.” I got up and for the next two hours cleaned the garage. My wife wasn’t sure what to think. The next morning came.

“What can I do to make your day better?”

“Nothing!” she said. “You can’t do anything. Please stop saying that.”

“I’m sorry,” I said. “But I can’t.” I made a commitment to myself. “What can I do to make your day better?”

“Why are you doing this?”

“Because I care about you,” I said. “and our marriage.”

The next morning I asked again. And the next. And the next. Then, during the second week, a miracle occurred.

As I asked the question her eyes welled up with tears. Then she broke down crying. When she could speak she said, “Please stop asking me that. You’re not the problem. I am. I’m hard to live with. I don’t know why you stay with me.”

I gently lifted her chin until she was looking in my eyes. “It’s because I love you,” I said. “What can I do to make your day better?”

“I should be asking you that.”

“You should,” I said. “But not now. Right now, I need to be the change. You need to know how much you mean to me.”

She put her head against my chest. “I’m sorry I’ve been so mean.”

“I love you,” I said.

“I love you,” she replied.

“What can I do to make your day better?”

She looked at me sweetly. “Can we maybe just spend some time together?”

I smiled. “I’d like that.”

I continued asking for more than a month. And things did change. The fighting stopped. Then my wife began asking, “What do you need from me? How can I be a better wife?”

The walls between us fell. We began having meaningful discussions on what we wanted from life and how we could make each other happier. No, we didn’t solve all our problems. I can’t even say that we never fought again. But the nature of our fights changed. Not only were they becoming more and more rare, they lacked the energy they’d once had. We’d deprived them of oxygen. We just didn’t have it in us to hurt each other anymore.

I not only love my wife, I like her. We’ve learned how to take care of each other, and, more importantly, we’ve gained the desire to do so. To have a partner in life is a remarkable gift.

I’m not saying that what happened will work for everyone. I’m not even claiming that all marriages should be saved. But for me, I’m grateful that my family is still intact and that I still have my wife, my best friend, in bed next to me when I wake in the morning.

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