Tuesday 7 January 2014

What makes a good marriage?

At the end of December, I posted some photos showing my husband and I through our nineteen-year relationship. I didn’t really share any words, except to mention that life is very different now to how we ever imagined but that we are happy with that.

One of the comments on that post said they would love to hear my views on what makes a successful marriage and I thought why not, it is something I am very passionate about. Last summer I wrote a post titled ‘No one said it would be easy’ and I outlined in that what a strong and lasting marriage is for me –
“I didn't go into my marriage thinking that every day would be a dream, nor that I would always feel 'in love' with my husband every day. I fully realise that a good marriage is about hard work, compromise, upset, difficult decisions and angst as well as the flip side of joy, delight, companionship, support, respect and contentment.”
I also said that I realised my version of a good marriage is not what most people want to hear, they want to know that marriage is filled with passion and exuberant times and of course, it is not at all doom and gloom. Getting married is one of the best things I have ever done, it turned my world upside down and led me into opportunities and new choices that I never knew were possible. For me, it is extra special as it was marrying that led my husband and I to become Christians and to find a way to live life differently.

While I was musing what it is that makes a good marriage I put the question out to some blogger friends, both Christians and those not overtly of any faith. It seems that people like to share on this subject and I ended up with a whole wealth of useful information and perspectives. 

In fact I ended up with so much that I need to split this into two posts, so this first instalment will be what makes a good marriage and then tomorrow I’ll post what makes a good Christian marriage and it will be interesting to see if perspectives differ.

For now I'll hand you over to some prominent bloggers, who share their advice for a successful marriage -

The American Resident - I think never taking the marriage, the partnership, the friendship or each other as individuals for granted is the key. When we start to do that we start to get unhappy and stressed and have to slow down, make time for each other and get back on track. 

DorkyMum - Never ever stop communicating, but be aware that you may have different ways of doing that.

Being Mrs C - Making time for each other without children, date nights make such a difference.

Thinly Spread - Knowing when to shut up. Space for each other's individual stuff - it's a partnership not joined at the hip. Realistic expectations - that mad bit has to mellow or life would grind (!) to a halt. At the end of the day I like him, he makes me laugh, I would rather spend time with him than anyone else.

Pink Oddy – Always stop to look at things from their perspective.

Mari’s World – My husband is also my best friend, there is a mutual respect between us and a desire to make the other happy. Also when we disagree we never harbour the grudge. On the whole try to go to bed with a discussion solved, an apology made and ready to start a new day

Little Lilypad blog - BE SILLY… don’t take yourself too seriously. Laughing always makes everything else easier. 

Kiddy Charts - Don't over analyse what your man says to you - by and large men are simple creatures, and usually what they say is exactly what they mean, unlike us ladies!  

Cambridge Mummy - Go into marriage expecting it to be work - it's not easy, it's not simple, it's hard work and is something that always has to be worked at. There's no coasting. There's no easy option. And I know that this sounds really negative, but I believe that after nearly 10 years together, we are only just starting to scratch the surface of making it work. And as hard as I find it - and I do find it hard, being a grown up and being married - I don't regret it one bit. It's the best thing I ever did.  

Actually Mummy - Tolerance, not expecting romance and passion.  In fact she wrote a fab post on this very subject here.

Boo, Roo and Tigger too - Understanding what is important to either one of you. I love to tell Mr Boo all about my day as soon as he gets home as I've missed my best friend, whilst I know he may have had a long busy day he lets me chat away knowing that once I have told him everything I will relax and unwind for the evening. 

The Crazy kitchen - My mum once said to me "Helen, you just have to learn to live with it" ...referring to the annoying things that both my husband & dad do...she's been married for 48 years so I suppose it works..

Keynko - An understanding that normal life is not a Hollywood romance, it is dull and difficult - but always strive to reach a happy ending.

Mums The Word - My advice would be to try and see the positives in each other. Yes, it bugs me that my Husband doesn't put his washing in the basket and he's practically allergic to washing up, but he's very kind and does everything he can to make me and Sausage happy, which is so much more important than the small, stupid things. 

I think we have some real gems in there. Of course, every marriage is different and my stance would be to establish with your partner what is important to you both, as long as fundamentally you both like each other and you go into your marriage knowing who you are and who they are with realistic expectations then you should be able to make it work but it will take work, never ever expect it to be an easy ride!

Thanks so much to everyone for their input, tomorrow I'll post the next instalment with all the advice shared by my Christian blogger friends.

Have a blessed week, Mich x

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