Thursday, August 2, 2018

What makes a marriage work?

I am getting to an age when friends and acquaintances are separating; and in the middle of a heated argument with my own husband, I can't help but wonder, are we safe? We certainly love each other, but what really makes a marriage work?

I didn't witness a model marriage growing up, and even so, marriage and relationships are so intimate. You can't learn one (or judge one for that matter) from the outside. Truth be told, more than a decade into it and I still have little idea about marriage, but I do have a couple theories.

I now understand why people are delaying marriage until later in life, because as far as I can tell, whether or not you grow together with someone you meet in your early twenties is kind of a crap shoot. Is it still the same perfect fit as the day you were married?

That fit changes so much over the years, especially once children make an appearance. Responsibilities, priorities, and interests shift throughout the seasons of life. During silly marital spats (or even sizable disagreements), I find comfort in the big picture - babies, jobs, and other circumstances change, but the essence of the person next to you does not. You are creating a tangled history with this person - one that will be intertwined with highs and lows.

There seems to be a single thread woven throughout my own marriage, and so many others. It's the thread that says, "I am highly committed to your growth as a person." There is nothing more powerful than supporting your spouse's goals and desires, and standing alongside them through those hard, mucky parts. It seems that the deeper you are willing to go, the less likely your relationship will unravel.

After years of marriage, most people will describe their relationship as stronger now than on their wedding day, but there's no quick way to get there. It's through tremendous commitment and openness that we make a happy marriage, and often a better version of ourselves.

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