What Makes a Marriage Work
It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages. – Friedrich Nietzsch
I clipped out this article years ago and saved it in my scrapbook of recipes. The article, and I have no idea where I clipped it from, suggested that you cut out the list and keep in your wedding album. This is from psychologist Judith Wallerstein’s book The Good Marriage: How and Why Love Lasts. She considers this set of tasks essential to maintaining a strong marriage.
Recipe for a Good Marriage
- Separate emotionally from the family of your childhood so you can fully invest in your marriage.
- Build intimacy while also respecting your partner’s autonomy.
- Embrace parenthood and absorb the impact of children on your life while working to protect your privacy.
- Strive to confront and master the inevitable crises of life. Provide nurturing and comfort to each other in times of adversity, satisfying each other’s need for dependency and offering continual encouragement and support.
- Create a safe haven for the expression of anger and conflict.
- Establish a rich and pleasurable sexual relationship, and protect it from intrusions of the workplace and family.
- Use humor to keep things in perspective, and avoid boredom by sharing interests and friends.
- Keep alive your early, idealized images of falling in love, but accept the reality of changes wrought by time.
p.s. I also found a great post from The Empty Nest on avoiding Baby Boom divorce. Though her post in how to strengthen your marriage when you empty nest, her advice is great for any couple. She lists more great books:
Fighting for Your Marriage: A Deluxe Revised Edition of the Classic Best-seller for Enhancing Marriage and Preventing Divorce by Markman, Stanley and Blumberg
Getting Ready for Marriage Workbook: How to Really Get to Know the Person You’re Going to Marry by Hardin and Sloan