Marriage: what makes yours work?


#1

acts17verse28.blogspot.com/2010/06/whats-glue-that-holds-couple-together.html

What are your thoughts?


#2

Prayer - as often as possible. Receiving Our Lord at Mass. The Sacraments. And forgiveness, but not being a doormat.

Sometimes it's very hard to say, "I love you," even in a marriage, but at those times I like to try to think of the love Jesus said we should have for everyone (which includes our spouse!), and it's much easier to say. Then the true marital feeling of love seems to return almost miraculously! But as the article said, "With God, all things are possible..."


#3

bmaj (the post above mine) has great suggestions! Hubby and I have been together 22 years and it's prayer, the sacraments, and a conscious effort to work at our marriage that I can attribute to us still being together. That and our marriage is truly a partnership. He has NEVER used that "head of the family" thing with me. It's all about mutual respect. While I know that a lot of well-meaning folks on here will start quoting St Paul, we have to remember that it was written for THAT culture....just like his verses about slavery. Anyway, sorry to go on a rant, but both husband and wife need to be committed to each other to truly make it work. Giving one spouse more "importance" over another will not work....it may give an illusion of it, but there will be resentment and that doesn't make for a fruitful marriage. Marriage is a sacrament and you need to take advantage of the other sacraments availed to you.....they all work together in God's plan for us.


#4

speaking from a perspective of 40 years, to be honest, there are a lot of things that did not work well, some of those are getting better, but in the areas that have worked well the fundamental reason is exactly what my parents told me was essential. We share the same Faith and general world view that arises from that Faith. We disagree on almost every aspect of daily living you could name, from politics to diet to what color to paint the house, to the importance of sports vs. the arts. If you knew us we would be one of those couples who makes you ask, how in the world did those two ever get together and why do they stay together? you would also be tempted to elevate my husband to sainthood for putting up with me. (the in-laws of my siblings and I have their own support group).

But in essentials we agree and always have, our Catholic faith being number one and driving all the rest. Mass and sacraments, Catholic education for our children and grandchildren, tithing and stewardship as a spirituality not just a budget item, and including service and stewardship of time as individuals and as a family. And that colors what we consider important in life. Many people at the stage we were when we went down to Texas for Annie and Hubby's big adventure were building their dream homes as their "lifetime achievement awards." That is great for them and I don't knock it, but we were after something different. I don't say we have found it, although no snow, slush and darkness for 7 months is a huge plus in my book, but we will know it when we see it.

We had a clear shared vision when we married, it has clarified further as we grew, apart at times, back together at times. We both want basically the same things which at this stage of life is to own fewer material things and attain more spiritual wealth. We shared above all a vision of child-rearing and what were the essentials we wanted to teach and develop in our children. We are very proud of them, even the ones who are still struggling, because they continue to struggle against tall odds and carry great burdens. But neither in being proud nor in bewailing things we abhor do we take to much credit or blame.

As my dad says, you both need to be looking in the same direction so you walk together, not necessarily looking only at each other.

What I can tell you from experience in my network of contemporaries, people we have met recently and those we have kept up with over the years, in our "girlie sharing" and walking with each other as one after another marriage breaks down, and it is being borne out by sociological research, is that artificial contraception kills. Not only does it kill potential children, the greatest joy and good of marriage, but it kills marriages. I feel intuitively and experientially, and it is also being borne out by research that our generation experienced the great surge in divorce because we were also the first generation to have reliable ABC available from the inception of our marriages, and the first to cohabit as prelude to marriage. My personal feeling is that since cohabitation and ABC go together it is a cart and horse or chicken and egg thing, but as the Pope so wisely predicted, and as so many of my Catholic contemporaries chose to ignore, ABC would have devastating effects on my generation and those following, and so time has proven him right.


#5

:bowdown: Thank you, Annie, that was beautiful!


#6

thank you blue rose but somebody is going to attack you for bowing down to idols, don't let the other forums see you. Caveat: nobody, repeat nobody even my kids, should be taking marriage or child-rearing advice from me, and we have been asked several times and refused to be sponsor couples. I am still far to harsh on myself, and on others, to be a good mentor. What I learned is by the Edison method, a thousand failures for every success.


#7

[quote="puzzleannie, post:6, topic:201009"]
thank you blue rose but somebody is going to attack you for bowing down to idols, don't let the other forums see you. Caveat: nobody, repeat nobody even my kids, should be taking marriage or child-rearing advice from me, and we have been asked several times and refused to be sponsor couples. I am still far to harsh on myself, and on others, to be a good mentor. What I learned is by the Edison method, a thousand failures for every success.

[/quote]

Precisely, my dear! Which is why I bow to you... I've seen too many who allow ONE (never mind a thousand) failure spell doom for their marriages. If it isn't perfect (according to their criteria), they bail out because "that's not what they bargained for".

I always said DH and I would have never been matched up by a computer... good thing we never went that route! Like you, we focused on the important things: our faith and our agreement on morals and how to raise a family. Everything else: compromise or agree to disagree! It's made the last 22 years quite interesting!

So okay, is this better?:tiphat:


#8

I would say its the 3 L's--LORD, Love, Laughter. Sounds simple, but its true. As long as you keep those three in THAT order, you'll weather all the storms that are sure to come along!


#9

Thank you - all of you - for responding.

As I looked at some stuff on the internet on this topic, I ran into something that has proven true in my own life. I wish I could find the exact quote, but the sense of it is this:

If a couple that states they are unhappy will simply stick it out for 5 years, they will find that they are happy.

Has anyone else found that to be true in their own lives?


#10

:shrug: The problem is very few are willing to wait five DAYS for things to get better… we live in an era of instant gratification and people get married with the expectation that their spouse will “make them happy”. Well, if you aren’t happy to begin with, don’t drag someone else into your life and make them responsible for your happiness! You end up with TWO miserable people!


#11

[quote="NCSue, post:9, topic:201009"]

If a couple that states they are unhappy will simply stick it out for 5 years, they will find that they are happy.

Has anyone else found that to be true in their own lives?

[/quote]

IMO happiness is almost entirely subjective and a product of one's own attitudes and behaviors, and has little or nothing to do with the attitudes and behaviors of one's spouse or other family members, living conditions, job, income, home, geographic location or anything else.


#12

[quote="NCSue, post:9, topic:201009"]
Thank you - all of you - for responding.

As I looked at some stuff on the internet on this topic, I ran into something that has proven true in my own life. I wish I could find the exact quote, but the sense of it is this:

If a couple that states they are unhappy will simply stick it out for 5 years, they will find that they are happy.

Has anyone else found that to be true in their own lives?

[/quote]

Hmmm, did either spouse work on trying to make their marriage better? I don't think agree with that saying if the couple didn't do anything proactive to make the situation better.

Marriage takes effort, if you want a good marriage you have to make it a priority in your life. Its not just going to work on its own. I don't think you can just do nothing and expect it to improve with time.

For us, 12 years last month, hubby is my best friend. He is my priority, I work on strengthening our communication with each other on a consistent basis. I strive to learn about him and what he is experiencing in his job and his interests that are separate from me. Just because I've known him for over 14 years now, doesn't mean he's still not constantly evolving as a person and there still isn't much to learn about him, and vice versa. And as he and I change, sometimes that means fine tuning our communication skills and how we relate to each other. What worked 10 years ago, doesn't always work now. We ebb and flow in our marriage, but the consistency of our faith and values hold us together.

Yes we had our tough times, our trials. But I always looked at those as times to learn more about myself, about my husband, about our marriage and then apply what I learned to make our relationship stronger.


#13

What a good question.

Well I am really not one to answer this as I am having severe marital difficulty for 2 years now thanks to my husband's infidelity, BUT, it has worked for 22 years and we are still married, thanks be to God. We're working through it, with God;s help.

I would say these are the factors which has kept our marriage together for this long.

1) Both of us came from Christian homes, with parents still married for over 45 years, 60 years now for my parents. This provides us with good examples. This is also one reason I do not want to divorce, so our children can have this example too! I feel it makes a HUGE difference.

2) We honestly have been best friends our whole marriage, (until 2 years ago). We have enjoyed doing things together, and have the same sense of humor.

3) We always have gone to church together every single Sunday from day 1 of our marriage.

This is it I guess.

God Bless all marriages:thumbsup:


#14

What makes it work. The simplest answer...and maybe the best is one I agree with very much. — it works because she is who she is and I am who I am.


#15

[quote="NCSue, post:9, topic:201009"]
Thank you - all of you - for responding.

As I looked at some stuff on the internet on this topic, I ran into something that has proven true in my own life. I wish I could find the exact quote, but the sense of it is this:

If a couple that states they are unhappy will simply stick it out for 5 years, they will find that they are happy.

Has anyone else found that to be true in their own lives?

[/quote]

Sadly, there are plenty of couples who divorce after many years of marriage. Many of these couples drift apart while they are busily raising their children, and when the children are finally grown and gone, the couple finds that they are complete strangers to each other and that they really don't like each other very much. So sad.

A warning to all who are caught up in the raising of children--take time to nurture your MARRIAGE. Even though couples feel as though their children should be their #1 priority, that's not true. A husband's #1 priority should be God,followed by his wife, and then his children. Same for a wife--God is #1, husband is #2, and then her children. It is devastating to grown children when Mom and Dad divorce after 30 years. Couples need to be zealous to stay close to each other and develop their own relationship separately from the children, so that when the children are gone, the couple will still be a couple.


#16

[quote="Lutheranteach, post:14, topic:201009"]
What makes it work. The simplest answer...and maybe the best is one I agree with very much. — it works because she is who she is and I am who I am.

[/quote]

And I thank God many times every day that my husband is the man he is!


#17

When I read the OPs question, my first thought was "sex."

Sorry, everyone. I know that sounds crude compared to some of your beautiful answers about prayer and Holy Communion.

But it is sex that makes my husband and I "one" literally. It is sex that makes us more than just "roommates" or "brother and sister" or "best friends." It is sex that literally "glues us" together, really together, as one flesh.

Yes, I realize that there are marriages in which sex is not possible, usually due to a physical or mental disablity of one or both of the spouses, or because of a crisis that demands all the energy and time of the couple. God gives these couples special grace to stay together.

But for most couples, sex IS possible. Yet many couples fall into a habit of not making love on a regular basis. They barrel through life as two separate people--is it any wonder that their marriages fall apart? Yes, spouses may share common interests and do a lot of things together. That's good. But they aren't intimate with each other, and it is that delightful, playful, fun, loving intimacy that helps a couple to stay "married" instead of "just friends."

I would never dream of touching my best friend's genitals and saying, "Nice package." My husband would never dream of touching his skating partner's breasts and saying, "I want some!" These are the intimate behaviors of a married couple that are literally glued-together. We are one body, and we want our bodies to be joined.

"Just friends" or even "best friends" is not good enough. I want a husband, not a BF or a pal or a golf partner or worse of all, a "girlfriend."

And my husband needs a wife, not a BF or a golf (or in my husband's case, skating) partner or a buddy. I think that husbands especially need a wife in the fullest sense of the word. Men face so much sexual temptation; just because they are created as men with testosterone, men have a stronger sex drive then women. Women need to understand this and not criticize men for being "animals" or "pigs". Instead, a wife needs to work hard to help her husband say "no" to the temptation.

A designing woman can sense when a man is lonely and vulnerable and she will move in like a shark. A wise wife will bait her OWN hook and keep her man safe. We are extremely foolish if we send our husbands out into the sexy world thinking that because of our prayers and Mass attendance, our men will surely be "too spiritual" to fall into sex sin. That's naive. How many priests have fallen into sexual sin? How many Protestant men in prominent positions have confessed affairs in the last few years? Sex sin is extremely difficult for a man to say no to. Women need to go to battle to help their husbands. We need to say "yes" more often to our husbands so that they have some armor to deflect the arrows of all the sexy women who look longingly at them. When a man realizes that something better, his beautiful wife, is waiting for him at home, he will find it easier to say "no" when another woman asks.

It is in the marriage bed that a couple comes together in a way that BFs or golf partners can never come together. Sex is mysterious and magical--how is it possible for the physical to become spiritual?

Sex outside of marriage is a perversion. But sex within a marriage is God's plan. We need to follow God's plan if we want our marriages to last.

My husband and I have been married 31 years on June 16.


#18

As a man, I'm going to totally agree with Cat because it makes me sound caddish, crude and base... but it's also pretty on the money. That's not to cause undue pressure on wives to "put out" or argue that men don't need to rein themselves in when sex would be irresponsible (violating NFP rules both spouses agreed to follow) but if the husband is not some kind of weird sex addict or has problems with porn or something and NFP is not a concern or it's post-ovulation... yeah she's right. We men are simply flipped into the "on" position when it comes to sex drive and that's not something of which we should be ashamed. We should learn and practice temperance and prudence when it is needed. But when it's not...


#19

We have learned what each other’s needs are and we try very hard to fulfill those needs. I found this little secret out at an Alpha Marriage course.
We don’t argue or fuss and fight, usually. It just isn’t worth it.
We have never even remotely considered divorce, even when it was hanging on by our teeth.
We pray for each other every single day.
We allow each other a lot of independence. We don’t try to tell the other one what to do, or even how to spend their off-time or money, or etc. Occasionally we will travel without each other. I like feeling as if I can come and go as I please (of course, I am very independent anyway).
But THE main thing holding us together are the Sacraments, which all work together in a wonderful way to center and solidify our marriage so that we are no longer two people, but one person.


#20

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