by Elliott Kronenfeld

The biggest threat to marriage todayprobably isn’t Godlessness, sexuality run amok, loss of morality, the media, the right wing, or the left wing … It might just be the ego.

Your ego, an old-school term, is that image you hold of yourself in the best light possible. It’s your pedigree, your achievements, your education, wealth and status, and all your positive attributes expertly crafted and maintained, for an emotional economy that trades on ego value.

A marriage, unfortunately, is one place in which an ego is not very well suited. It’s hard to show your spouse your whole self without having your ego bruised a bit. But when marriages hit a rough patch, and you begin to grow cold toward your spouse, it’s ultimately your ego you protect and serve.

“Love one another” does mean getting some ego-stroking at times, but it also means letting go of your ego in favor of your marriage. It means suffering through times of not getting what you want, how you want it, and when you want it, in service to having and creating a lasting relationship with someone. When you need to “have it your way, right away”, it’s probably your ego talking, and you’d be better off heading to Burger King.

When you survey your personality and you see something in the “need” category, then watch out.  For example, if you need to be right, or if you need to be stylish, or if you need tobe on time, or if you need to be helpful – yes, even needing to be helpfulcan end up being an ego trip! – be careful.  These are the things you inadvertently promised to put aside when you got married. And putting aside your ego’s “needs” is a hard thing to do.  I could say the same thing this way – loving your spouse is a hard thing to do.  At times, these two actions are truly one and the same accomplishment.

What do I mean?  I mean this: when you got married you probably said something like “I promise to love and cherish…” And not many people include riders on their vows, such as, “unless I’m right”, or “unless he/she is late”, or “unless my helpful nature goes unnoticed”.  Be mindful.  Loving one another is not a guarantee that your spouse will see you the way your ego likes to be seen, or honor you the ways your ego likes to be honored.

Truth be told, marriage is that place, hopefully, where you are loved despite not really being that person your ego thinks you are.  AND you learn to love someone else despite his/her inability to love you in the exact ways your ego needs to be loved.

If you are looking to work on your marriage/relationship and would like assistance, contact Elliott at

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