Next month my wife Yvonne and I will celebrate our 33rd wedding anniversary. I’m not one who typically makes note of such personal events, but every once in a while, it does come up in the course of conversation. The typical remark that we get from people when they discover that we’ve been married for that long is usually something like “You must have been married when you were fifteen”, or some form of “Wow, that’s a long time”. I usually appreciate these type of comments, although I don’t always know exactly that their message to me really is some sort of compliment…
Of course there is the question of how we should measure a marriage. Is tenure more important than quality? I mean, what is so great about a 40-year marriage that one or both partners are not happy with. Sounds more like a sentence than a romance. A happy marriage that is also a long marriage might sound like too good of a thing to some, but the math actually works. Look here:
1 Happy Marriage + 1 Long Marriage = 1 Ideal Marriage
Math doesn’t lie.
At this point in my life I believe that we have a really good marriage.
I hope Yvonne does…
I think the most honest way to describe our marital strategy, in which we of our evolved from absolute relational rookies to 33 year survived-the-kids veterans, would be something akin to “make it up as you go along”. If James Dean was Too fast to live, too young to die, we were certainly too fast to kids, too young to try. And no, this “make it up as you go along” strategy is not the recommended approach that this marriage counselor prescribes to anyone who wants a lengthy, healthy, happy marriage. We’ve done a lot of work to reconcile with our pasts, our mistakes and life’s circumstances to make our marriage what it is today.
Fortunately, I have been a good student of life and have been blessed with some great teachers and mentors, which have taught me a lot about what works, and what doesn’t work, in marriages. And more fortunately for others, there has been a lot of great work done by some really smart people to identify what exactly makes a great marriage.
These experts have been able to identify seven key components that are common in healthy marriages. Yvonne and I have been through our share of marital struggles on our way to learning and beginning to implement these factors into our relationship, which have been very helpful.
Over the next few weeks I will be writing about each of these seven components. My hope is that you and your partners will be able to grab hold of these seven ingredients and begin to use them to strengthen your marriage by growing your friendship, improving your conflict management, and find common goals and dreams to shoot for.
Yes, we all can have great marriages.