May 04, 2008
How to Stay Married & Love It
Perhaps from the beginning of time, a “good” marriage was defined as one that created or cemented alliances—in other words, benefiting the community as a whole—rather than pleasing the individuals. In the past, a “successful” marriage might be seen as one that brought financial benefits to one of the partners, or one in which either partner was strong enough to endure heavy work or the woman capable of bearing healthy children. The goal was survival. .
The definition of a “good” marriage has drastically changed. Marriage still provides an effective institution for meeting practical financial needs and the opportunity for begetting and rearing children with the optimum emotional support of a father and mother. Increasingly, however, it must also be a relationship in which both partners feel loved and experience emotional and spiritual communion as well as sexual gratification.
And with these new expectations came greater chances of disappointment. With few exceptions, marriage had never before been asked to provide emotional safety, deep spiritual communion or equal partnership. The new demands for these qualities strained to the breaking point the old model of marriage as an exchange of practical services.
Never before in the history of mankind had marriage been asked to meet more than the most basic of needs. In the mid-19th century, marriage as an institution began to flounder. From today’s perspective, the enormity of the problem was that we didn’t know how to re-create marriage to meet these greater requirements. The resulting upheaval—the avalanche of open dissatisfaction with the quality of many marriages—was seen by many to be a failure of marriage itself or a mistake in an individual’s choice of partner. These failures were not recognized as a crisis of growth brought about by inadequate understanding or knowledge.
The naïve belief that we should automatically, without investment of effort, just know how to create a satisfying marriage is left over from the dark ages of a simple exchange of survival needs met. It doesn’t require very much training to exchange basic needs. It’s time to admit that, as a whole, we don’t know how to “do marriage”…not in a way that allows us to give and receive the depth of love and respect that is now the universal expectation.
Fortunately, tucked away in quiet corners of our nation, individual researchers and inquisitive think tanks (those blessed souls who have done their best to just be observers, learners, and evaluators), began to ask the questions: “Have we outgrown our need for marriage? Is marriage still a viable institution? Can it be adjusted to meet the increased demands for emotional and spiritual intimacy? What makes a “good marriage” good?”
All the questions are distilled in this one: “Can the qualities observed in good marriages be replicated? Taught? Learned?”
Throughout my book, “How to Stay Married & Love It! Solving the Puzzle of a SoulMate Marriage,” I share the very personal experience of Jim and me with our own marriage struggles and the practical skills we learned in order to have the marriage of our dreams. I also draw on my extensive experience teaching and personally coaching couples who wanted more from their marriages.
The qualities that make a “good marriage” good have been identified and can be learned and duplicated by those whose marriages are falling short of their ideal…or, better yet, learned in anticipation of creating a successful marriage! Great marriages are no longer a serendipitous accident of Fate! There is no secret. The mystery is solved! Those of us who do not naturally bring the qualities into marriage that would produce its success, can learn them. The answers are here and easily accessible to all of us. They are not hard to learn, although humbling ourselves to learn new skills and changing ingrained relationship habits that predictably produce hurt and failure does require a healthy amount vision, desire, determination and, usually, short-term support.
© 2008 Nancy Landrum. all rights reserved.
This is another “co-blogged” post, this time composed by Nancy Landrum, author of “How to Stay Married and Love It”. Thank you, Nancy! (All previous co-bloggers archived here.) If other creative types are interested to share the forum here on any other topic, please contact me for details.
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So... can You, tell us The [no] Secret?
Posted by: AndresVia at May 5, 2008 3:05:42 PM