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Happily Ever After…
I was chatting with a single, male friend the other day and we got talking about marriage. The basic gist was that marriage is not for kids and it seems that very few people are actually happy in their marriages – at least that was my friend’s general point of view. But you know me, hopeful romantic, my view was that there are many happy marriages but we just don’t hear their stories enough.
Our conversation got me thinking: What makes a marriage TRULY happy? Like, what makes two married people feel like their marriage is one of the best things that has happened to them? Is it few arguments? Money in the bank? Great sex?Is it something one of them is doing or something both of them are doing or not doing as the case may be? What does a happy marriage look like? The flip side is when a person feels they are not happy in their marriage, what is lacking/what do they want/what do they wish they had?
You’ve probably heard people say we are responsible for our own happiness so my question is how much of a role do we play in determining the happiness of our marriage? How responsible are we for our marital bliss? Is our marital bliss something we give or something we get? I remember a quote/tweet that said something to the effect of in marriage, we must focus on what we can do and not on what the other person isn’t doing. That is such a powerful statement. Imagine if you and your spouse/spouse-to-be feel/live that way? How can we take responsibility for our happily ever after?
All of this makes me wonder what we think marriage is or should be. When we are getting married, what are we expecting? I think every couple should have the why-are-we-getting-married conversation. Do we have unrealistic expectations for marriage? Do we have expectations at all? Have we discussed those expectations with our spouse/spouse-to-be as the case may be? Are expecting too much or too little? Are we both clear on what a (our) marriage is/should be? Have we talked about it to make sure we are on the same page? Do we have a vision for our marriage? (I saw a tweet recently that said we should have a vision for marriage. That’s powerful! Just as we have visions for our business, career, and life) What do we both want from our marriage or are we gonna play it by ear? Are we asking the tough questions before we say “I Do”? So many questions…
A while ago, I talked about a book I was reading and how the authors said it is important to ask each other to complete the following sentences:
A husband is…
A wife is…
A marriage is…
I honestly think that completing those sentences and comparing notes might shock you and help you reevaluate (if necessary).
If you’re single and reading this, what are your expectations for marriage? What do you want your marriage to do for you? But MOST importantly, what do you hope your input in your marriage will do for your marriage and spouse? Have you ever thought of it that way?
I’ve just been thinking lately about what it means to have a happy marriage/be happy in marriage and it makes me wonder how much of that responsible lies with me and what kinds of conversations I should be having with my fiancé before we get married. I honestly think we are each responsible for our marital bliss. If we want to be happy in our marriage, we must be happy individuals but we must also strive to contribute to our spouse’s happiness. I think that’s what makes a marriage happy. It is an act of selflessness that is VERY difficult to master but can be done.
So, what do you guys think? Married folk, I’d love to hear from you, what makes a (your) marriage happy and how much of that responsible is ours as individuals? Single folk, what do you think would
make you happy in your marriage?
P.S. I’ve been having issues responding to comments and I hope to get it resolved soon. I say that to say I really appreciate your comments and I have not been ignoring them! :)