Thursday, August 12, 2010
Here are my thoughts...
There are a variety of factors that contribute to a successful marriage. Love is obviously a key ingredient. Friendship is another important aspect of marriage. A shared faith in God. Living by similar values. Trusting one another and being trustworthy. Respect for each other as individuals as well as respect for the marital relationship. Understanding that the marriage is the primary relationship in the family. The parent-child relationship comes second to that marital relationship. (This is especially important if your spouse has children from a previous relationship. Read more here.) Spending quality time together. Being honest with one another. Physical intimacy - yes, holding hands, kissing, cuddling, etc does count! Patience. Empathy. Communication. Working together well.
The biggest issues married couples face: Parenting. Money. Sex. Household chores. In-laws. Those are the biggies. Behind every marital "hot button" there is a hard-wired belief that is usually the root of the problem. The topics listed above often provide the battlefield for a couple to argue about their differing values and needs. Many points of conflict in marital relationships come down to each spouse wanting to feel loved and wanting to feel valued as a person. The desire to be loved is one of the strongest human needs.
Why are some marriages successful, why others fail? There are so many different ways to answer this question and I'm not sure what the "right" answer is... Sometimes two people just aren't compatible. Sometimes people fall in love and get married so quickly, they haven't really had time to get to know each other a the deepest level. Sometimes one or both partners are too immature to truly understand what it means to be married. Sometimes marriage just doesn't work out. To me, successful marriages all seem to have three basic things in common; 1) friendship, 2) love, 3) acceptance. Marriage is hard work. It takes two people to make a marriage work. You must make a conscious commitment every day to love your spouse - especially when it is hard to love them.
Can you divorce-proof a marriage? I think it depends on the marriage. If you are on the same page with your spouse about committing to each other, loving each other, and supporting each other through thick and thin; then, yes, I think you can divorce proof your marriage. If you are in a physically or emotionally abusive relationship it is not healthy for you, or you children. My advice to married women is to consciously choose to put your marriage up on a pedestal - understand that whatever difficult situations are going on in your relationship, your marriage is safe and untouchable up on that pedestal.
What's your advice on how to make marriage work? I love to hear from you. Let's start a discussion.