How do some marriages last while others simply seem to flare and then die out?
After being married for more than 40 years I may not have the ultimate answer, but I do know what has worked for me. A married couple needs to be many things to each other and for each other.
In my own marriage we have been (and are) lovers, friends, co-parents (2 and 4 legged children), business partners, confidants, “counselors”, co-conspirators, roommates, caretakers, tender hand-holders, escorts, and often devil’s advocate.
No matter how passionate, loving, and fun your union may start out, life happens, and when life’s changes and obstacles get in the way, your focus and needs can change as well. I believe the balance to a solid marriage has to do with being able to step in and out of the myriad of roles you’ve assumed so that even when you are too tired for sex, don’t want to find adventure, or need to adjust to the changing world around you there will still be something solid for you to hold on to.
Not every couple works together as business partners, but marriage still needs to be a partnership sharing the responsibilities, the decisions and the fruits together. No one said everything has to be an even 50/50; sometimes you don’t feel up to giving 50-percent and other times you believe you can take on the world. Your spouse needs to support you mentally and sometimes physically and financially. Trust me when I say it is fun to make dinner together, to go shopping together and share housework (in and out of the house). Joint ventures, whether it is running business or running your home, gives you a combined sense of accomplishment and camaraderie.
There are going to be disagreements and even anger, face it, you didn’t marry yourself (and you probably wouldn’t want to) so there will be differences of opinion. Sometimes you’ll get angry when it may seem as if the differences can’t get resolved. Chances are the anger and possible disappointment may affect your passion, your sex-life, or your comfortable companionship — these are the times to let another aspect of your relationship take over. Talk about decisions you may have coming up, the car you have to replace or even the candidate you plan to vote for; work towards a mutual goal like painting that room you’ve been talking about getting done; and this may be the ideal time to plan some family time with the children and a local amusement park.
The main thing to have in any marriage is unity, togetherness and mutual respect. No marriage is perfect and you’re going to go through rough spots. Learn to rely one of the other roles in your marriage to get you through so that you’re not feeling alone. You are a couple so act together, and be together.
The truth is that it is a very rare occurrence when one person can provide all the needs for another; this is what platonic friends are for, to help fill out the gaps. You should never let yourself rely more strongly on your friends than you do on your partner though. Too many young couples nowadays get married assuring themselves that if things go wrong they can always get a divorce. Some marriages may not be meant to last and separation or divorce may be the smartest option, but there should be no reason to plan on it from the get-go! Be a Jack-of-all-trades when it comes to marriage, be prepared to assume different roles for each other and you will find that your marriage will never have reason to fizzle out.