A friend of mine recently asked what makes a healthy and successful marriage. This is a huge topic and one which has fascinated me for a long time. I was going to write one blog on the topic and realized that one could write a book on the subject and barely scratch the surface. So I’ve decided to share a few thoughts in this blog and explore further in future ones.
Let me start by saying that I’m not a marriage therapist or counselor but over the last few years I have enjoyed asking older couples who have been married for many years for their tips, and I have been a listening ear to dear friends who have had challenges in their lives and marriages and through listening, observing, being a trusted friend and from my own marital experience, I feel I have learned lots! I would like to share some of the things I’ve learned from them and my own personal experiences.
On the way to our honeymoon, my husband and I sat on the plane next to a gentleman who after hearing we just got married asked, ‘Are you happy or married?’ I remember laughing and thinking what a silly question that was… It’s a question that I’ve never forgotten because of its oddity but also because he assumed that we can’t be happy and married at the same time! Of course it’s possible, it just takes a great deal of work. 🙂
The quality that stands out for me in contributing to a healthy marriage is kindness. It is inevitable in a marriage to have conflict and the way that we address one another when we are in a state of anger or defensiveness is of utmost importance. I know that it takes practice to develop tact and wisdom in what we say but when we remember that our words have an effect for a lifetime, we will be more wary and cautious about what we say and how we say it. It’s easy for me to be kind when I’m happy with my husband, but of course it’s much harder when there is conflict. I find it is more challenging to remain calm and collected with my words but I find that over the years I’ve learned to be more disciplined in the use of my tone, language, tact and patience. It may be tempting to fire back in moments with reactive statements but when we pause and think first before we speak and ask ourselves, ‘Is what I’m about to say kind? Is it true and is it necessary?’ then respond. The other question we might ask before using our words is ‘Will it bring me closer to my spouse or will it hurt us further?’ I’m sure our response will be more dignified, more tactful, kind and more thoughtful, and ultimately more effective if we pause and reflect first.
What have you found has been helpful in making your marriage healthy and happy? What have you found has been detrimental? I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences.
Quotes of the Day: “There is no more lovely, friendly and charming relationship, communion or company than a good marriage.” ~ Martin Luther(published in Birds of Love gift set) “Kind words are the music of the world. They have a power which seems to be beyond natural causes, as though they were some angel’s song which had lost its way and come to earth.” ~ Frederick William Faber