A successful marriage is a natural commitment between two people who love, trust, respect, and understand each other, and who are also willing to put forth the effort to communicate and compromise in order to reach shared goals while they grow and change together and individually. However, these are only some of the key components that contribute. Carol Tavris in “Love Story” stated, “It requires a reciprocity of affection, power, and respect for differences-the basis of a love between equals the love between Annie Oakley and Frank Butler” (243).
Frank Butler and Annie Oakley died within eighteen days of each other, illustrating that even after over fifty years together their love and devotion was so strong that they couldn’t live without each other. There is no single, true definition of what makes a successful marriage, for there are too many variables that contribute. There are however, key components that are present in the majority of marriages I am witness to. Those components are love, communication, respect, and hard work.
Some couples have to work harder than others, and in my experience couples who make time for each other struggle less than those who are so busy that they forget they were a couple before life’s demands took up all of their free time. For instance, my brother and his wife get along well and communicate with each other. They still make time to go out on dates without their two small children regularly. In contrast, my sister and her husband were just on the brink of divorce, because they rarely get out of the house together and don’t voice their personal needs to each other.
Thus proving that communicating and making time for each other are key components to any successful marriage. Both couples believe that they have good marriages, but to the outside observer only one of the couples appears to be truly successful. Some couples get married out of convenience or because of the pressures of extenuating circumstances, such as unplanned pregnancies or the duration of their relationship. I have seen many of my friends divorce after marrying for these reasons. Although it is best to bring a child into a marriage, it is not always a good idea to marry in the hopes that one will be creating a proper home for that child.
All too often children are brought up in unhappy families, setting a poor example of what marriage should be. Personally, I didn’t marry my children’s fathers because it would have been unhealthy to do so. It would be worse for a child to see his or her mother abused than to not see his or her father. Similarly, exposing a child on a daily basis to an unhealthy relationship could hurt the child’s short term and long-term emotional development. What kind of example would it set for a child’s parent to settle for a person who they merely put up with, rather than wait and marry a person they truly enjoy?
No couple should marry unless they cannot imagine life without the other person, no matter how many people pressure them. A person should not be annoyed by their spouse; instead they should see their quirks as unique and entertaining, at least for the most part. My fairytale belief in true love and not settling, however inconceivable to most, is based upon the movie “The Princess Bride. ” I have held onto my belief in true love and have been ridiculed for it only to prove to everyone that it is worth the wait. If you believe in something you should stand behind it and be patient.
We’ve all heard the phrase, “good things come to those who wait. ” You should not settle for less than what will make you happy and keep you happy, at least, most of the time. That’s not to say a marriage based on true love will not have obstacles to overcome, there will always be work and compromise involved even if the relationship is so solid that compromise rarely actually seems like work. No relationship is perfect all the time, but the good times should outweigh the bad. Nothing in life is easy; therefore, anyone who thinks a successful marriage will not take effort is a fool.
Even the most successful couples come across hard times, as life is full of stress and busyness that come in the form of work and family. Children can be a burden; they have a lot of needs. Extended family can be a burden or an inconvenience at times. Most of those burdens are short lived and you just have to think forward and put forth equal effort to come to solutions with a mutual respect for each other’s views on the matter at hand. Doing so builds even stronger bonds than anyone could even imagine.
When you are in love with someone and truly understand that person it becomes easy to gauge when he or she needs you to bear a heavier load. Doing so takes the strain off of him or her without being a burden in this case. This should be reciprocated for if one person is always bearing a heavier load than the other, eventually that person will break. Sometimes this means acknowledging and listening to the other person, especially in the cases of most married women I know who only want their husbands to listen to their rants without trying to give advice.
Husbands I know who do this actually smile at their wives thinking about how adorable they are throughout the ordeal, and reap the rewards later. On the other hand, a wife may need to help ease her husband’s burdens by giving him some time to go off and play ball with his friends or whatever it is that he does to blow off steam. A happy wife and husband make for a great marriage and usually lead to happier, healthier children. Spouses who can see what their partner needs without being told do not feel it is work to help meet those needs. All too often couples enter into a marriage without realizing that it is “until death do us part.
” Marriage is a permanent commitment that is natural to desire and nothing surpasses the rewards of knowing you are completed by your partner. Wendell Berry in “Men and Women in Search of Common Ground” put it well when he wrote: Indeed, marriage is a union much more than practical, for it looks both to our survival as a species and to the survival of our definition as human beings-that is, as creatures who make promises and keep them, who care devotedly and faithfully for one another, who care properly for the gifts of life in this world.
(248) It is okay to not want to be alone, to desire a partner to share life experiences and build a family with. After all, it is much more difficult to build a family alone, although in these times the advances of modern medicine certainly make it is possible. In fact, it is human nature to wish to share life experiences with another trustworthy person. Everyone enjoys sharing a joyful experience with friends, but it is a deeper, more intimate joy when two people are bonded together for life.
If a person has made their mistakes while swimming through the dating world and learned from those mistakes they should have found a balance of needs and wants to help them find a suitable mate. A suitable mate will have the qualities needed to survive a lifetime, by adapting to change and reflecting on the good, helping to create a successful marriage. You will grow old together and should be looking forward to all the experiences you will share and be able to reflect upon in the future.
Building memories and a family together are what help hold a good marriage together, because you can always go back to the strong foundation of love, devotion, and respect that the marriage was built on.
Berry, Wendell, “Men and Women in Search of Common Ground. ” Essays from Contemporary Culture. Ed. Katherine Anne Ackley. 5th ed. Boston:Thomson, 2004: 244-51. Tavris, Carol, “Love Story. ” Essays from Contemporary Culture. Ed. Katherine Anne Ackley. 5th ed. Boston:Thomson, 2004: 240-43.