Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Splitsville


Are you happily coupled? Or are you unhappily coupled yet you appear okay to your friends? I found out yesterday that a close friend's marriage is on the rocks. This will be the third couple we're friends with that broke up in the last few years. One was expected, the other two shocked us. It seems like my own marriage gets a quick aftershock from these events - first the total surprise and sadness, then the reaffirmation that we are fine. Each time we've gotten this news, it's affected us the same way. We've been lucky in that the friendships have remained strong, yet different.

DH read me an article years ago about a study of long, happy marriages. What the researchers found was that couples who were happy over the long haul had one commonality: The husband was "willing to be influenced by his wife's advice." I had to mull that over for a while to understand the implications. What it comes down to is that a husband must respect and honor his wife. Sounds awfully simplistic, huh? But some think tank somewhere came up with this and although it's worded rather strangely, I believe it's true.
So what do you think? Does your relationship fit this model or do you have a different predictor of success?

12 comments:

Katie Reus said...

It is simplistic, but I also think its true. Women need to know their opinion matters and is taken into consideration. If the wife is happy, then the husband most definitely is. My relationship does fit w/ this ideal, but its a little deeper than that. We're both willing to compromise, and we both know how to communicate. Growing up in a household with parents who didn't, I'm never hesitant to speak up about something bothering me.

Tempest Knight said...

I think the problem is that couples aren't willing to put some effort in the relationships. Besides, most go into relationships thinking of what's the ideal relationship instead of being realistic about what they want.

Holly said...

I agree compromise is a huge part of a lasting relationship. So is taking responsibility for your actions, listening to each other, and being able to admit when you're wrong. Not to mention the ability to laugh at yourself..and your significant other.

The thing is, my relationship is relatively new (in comparrison to those who have been together decades) but it's rock solid. MM and I don't have issues. Not major ones.

Sure, we have differences of opinion now and then. And I think he's a bit on the selfish side (too many years of being alone) and he thinks I'm a lot on the opinionated/bossy side (too many years of being nothing but a mother) but we're always open and honest with each other, and always willing to hear the other one out. There are times when I have to step back and admit that he's right and I'm wrong (admittedly there aren't MANY times, but still..LOL) and there are times when he has to do the same.

I guess I'm rambling, but the point is, I've seen many couples fall apart and I know of several who have been together long term, who seem like they've really got it together, but I know they're unhappy. I realize no one can predict the future, but I don't see that happening with me and MM.

We're too grounded in the reality of our own faults (and yes, those of the other) and too in tune with each other to let our relationship fall apart.

We're going to have issues, sure, but we'll work through them. Honestly? I think people are just too damn lazy lately. They don't want to work hard..they just want everything to fall into place. Sadly, that's never going to happen.

And (really, I should write my own post about this instead of working a novel into your comments section..LOL) I also thing people take for granted how easy it is to get out of a marriage. 100 years ago, no one got divorced. Or not many. It just wasn't done. Now? No one considers a marriage a permanent arrangement. Or not many (does that make me a hypocrite, since I've been divorced?).

OTOH, I don't know that many people back in the day worked to fix the problems in their marriage, either. Hmm, that's something else to consider.

Anyway, the point is, marriage and long term relationships aren't easy. When the newness fades and you realize the spark is gone, no one works to bring it back.

*stepping off soap box*

Sorry for the long comment, babe. But really good topic! :)

Kelley Nyrae said...

Compromise, compromise, compromise!

Kaylee Morgan said...

"A happy wife is a happy home." I have my hubby repeat this mantra 10 times in the midst of a disagreement to dispell escalating tensions. We usually end up laughing.

Chudney Defreitas-Thomas said...

A lot of people these days go into marriage thinking, that they can just get divorced if things don't work out. Some just ignore things and let them fester until the only thing they can do is divorce. And yet others stay together not out of any great love but, better the devil you know syndrome.
My grandparents stayed together for almost sixty years out of mutual respect and trust. There were arguments, and my grandmother described my grandfather as a tin can quick to heat up and quick to cool down. She felt it was a womans place to have patience and to be a rock, but that a man should also be willing to listen.And that both should be willing to talk things out and compromise.
Josh and I try to stay true to this in my marriage.

Dara Edmondson said...

Wow - lots of good comments and advice. Everyone seems to agree on a few things - compromise, speaking up when something's bothering you and working at it rather than throwing in the towel. Great advice.

Terry Odell said...

I'm trying very hard to come up with a list of our contemporaries who are still married to each other. Can't really think of any right off the top of my head.

DH and I have been married 39 years this August. Sometimes we're lovers, sometimes we're roommates, but we're always friends. And we very often scratch our heads and wonder why we have stuck together.

Sometimes I think it's sheer laziness. I don't have the time or energy to train someone new. We've learned to pick our battles, when to draw lines, and to respect each other.

Macy O'Neal said...

My husband learned to say "whatever makes you happy" several years ago and those 4 little words really make a difference.

Dara Edmondson said...

Wow, Terry - can't think of any still married? Congrats on 39 years - that's rare these days.

Macy - My DH has said those words many times.

Terry Odell said...

around here, he's learned "Anything you say, dear" will solve a lot of problems before they happen.

mimi said...

Marry your best friend, someone you can talk to about anything, and somehow the little irritations of life take their proper, tiny place in the big picture. Plus, when big problems come along, you're already on the same team. We'll have been married 13 years in July!