From Ideal Marriage, Tikun Olam (#684) by Rabbi Avigdor Miller
It’s not easy to become rich, it’s not easy to become famous. Anything good requires work. And of course the sheleimus (perfection) of marriage requires labor. But it should be understood beforehand, that’s your purpose in life.
How important it is that before the chupah the chosson and kallah become aware that their purpose is to bring out the best from each other, which means that they’re going to have fulfillment in life. Not fulfillment of good times, of romance, like people sometimes superficially think, but fulfillment in what Hashem made the world for, and the world was made to change your middos (character traits) more than anything else.
All the mitzvos are for the purpose of changing your middos
All the mitzvos are for the purpose of changing your middos. You must hold back your desire to eat if there’s a concern in kashrus. How many times do couples have to restrain themselves when there’s some question in hilchos nashim (family purity laws)? How many times do people have to give up certain pleasures in going places because it’s not permitted? Lo nitna mitzvos elah l’tzarif nehenas habriyos: the purpose of mitzvos is to refine people, to purify them. Mitzvos are for that purpose; you’re saying no to yourself.
When a woman is in a bad mood and she wants to say something nasty to her husband, if she remembers her purpose in life, she’ll say no, I won’t say that word. I’ll just say words of encouragement to my husband when he comes home from work. He has plenty of excitement at the office; why should he have more at home? Therefore she soothes him with words that are like healing medicine on his spirit when he comes home.
When a husband comes home, he knows his wife is busy all day with the children and her nerves are frayed, frazzled. So he doesn’t complain and criticize, instead he compliments her how well things are being managed at home. Little by little these people are improving their own characters and they’re bringing out the best in each other.
Climb the Ladder: Make an extra effort today to express something positive to your spouse (or another person who is important in your life).