For my parents 30th wedding anniversary I’ve been thinking about what makes a happy marriage. Coincidentally I have also been watching a documentary on polygamy. Personally, I wouldn’t be a polygamist wife because I would get extremely jealous and I think it would just cause a lot of marital problems. But I have no problem with other people that are happy to do it.
There was one part of the documentary that really made me think. The interviewer stated that she could never marry someone that she didn’t fall in love with. The wife seemed concerned. She said that they marry someone that they respect and share similar values with. She said that the infatuation stage of love can ‘run out’ within 5 years, and then what are you left with?
I found myself actually agreeing with this mormon polygamist! I think she was very wise to actually think about ‘what will make a good match?’ rather than just hanging around with men until she found one that she thought was ok. She has decided that she needs someone she shares similar values with and also that she respects. Is this the secret to a happy marriage? Thinking about my parents, I would say ‘yes’.
Having similar values with someone will mean that you would have far less arguements. E.g. If you are a ‘countryside’ person, with a yearning to settle down in a village, you’re going to have a problem buying a house with a ‘city’ person who loves to stay in the centre of things. Once a house is bought then at least one of those people is not going to be truly happy.
Obviously that is just an example, but there’s going to be other issues like: how to discipline your children, whether you recycle, if you like designer furniture or hand me downs, whether holidays or work is more important, etc etc etc. Life would just be so much simpler if you had similar values! I guess this is why arranged marriages may work, if the parents arranging the match have similar values then the children probably do too.
Then there’s the other point she made about respect. You have to respect or admire the person you’re with, look up to them a bit, understand that they are talented in their own way. I think you probably have to respect anyone you want to be close to. If you don’t respect them for anything then you are, in a way, looking down on them. Turning your nose up and saying you’re better than them at everything. Not a good recipe for a perfect marriage!
I’ve seen a sign before that said LOVE = RESPECT + TRUST. So I’m going to put trust in there aswell. I don’t think that this is limited to marital trust (ie having affairs). I think that this is trusting the person in other ways too. E.g. I trust that person to drive me at night without falling asleep, I trust him to pick a meal for me out of the menu, I trust him to not drop the baby, I trust him to lock up the house etc. You need to be able to trust that person with yourself, with your possessions, with your family and really with anything important or valuable to you.
If you couldn’t trust them, then you’re bound to worry constantly, or you’ll try and take control of everything yourself. A good example of this is the TV series ‘Don’t Tell the Bride’, where the bride lets the groom organise the wedding completely! From the seating plan to the wedding dress, everything! What a brilliant bond of trust these women have, when I think most women would want to take control themselves. What was interesting was that in most of the episodes the men came up with something that was not what the woman was expecting, and although the women worried they ended up with a stunning wedding day that they loved.
Thought of the day: Before getting married think- do I respect this person? Do I share similar values to this person? Do I trust this person? Hopefully the answer will be ‘YES’, but if not…maybe consider if this is just an infatuation that will pass.