Monday, July 12, 2010

If You Had Only One Tip


Conversation around the dinner table got lively last night as our two grown-yet-single daughters (one each from our first marriages) were complaining about the lack of husband material. The girls expressed their disappointment that most guys in the 20-early 30 range were not interested in getting married, only in “getting,” if you catch my drift.

Their talk soon turned to concerns over recognizing the right guy when he came along, and from there to fears of divorce. They asked us what was the one thing we thought was most important in making a marriage work.

My husband immediately said, “Integrity.” By that he meant being faithful, being honest, and being open.

I said, “Respect and admiration. A wife has to feel respect for her husband and admire what he brings to the marriage, and vice versa. Opinions have to be acknowledged. Feelings can’t be dismissed. Dreams shouldn’t be ridiculed, but supported fully. That’s respect.”

Then we dug deeper and decided that the most important thing in a successful marriage was agreement on the fundamentals, such as money. If one spouse is a spendthrift, and the other is a penny pincher, and they can’t see the other’s viewpoint or refuse to compromise, that’s a fundamental difference that will cause a marriage to fail.

Another is on priorities. Does family come first for both spouses? Or does one let his extracurricular activities dominate, leaving the other feeling like a single parent? Agreeing on the basics has to come first. That’s what we decided was ultimately the key.

What would you say makes a successful marriage? What is the biggest reason marriages fail?