If you read wedding cards or log on to wedding sites, it isn’t long before you’re drawn in with the “Happily ever after” rhetoric. Couples will talk at the wedding toast about the new couple and how they knew this girl or guy was special. All of these things are important and indeed it’s true one person stands out as different from all the others when we’re looking for Mr. or Mrs. Right. However, is it possible that along with the “happily ever after” we’ve set our expectations too high on achieving personal happiness instead of marital contentment? Many marriage experts think so and they believe it’s healthier and more beneficial to marriage success to settle for a good enough marriage.
The divorce rate fluctuates but basically stays around half of all marriages ending in divorce. When you feel unhappy, and believe you’ve tried everything to fix your marriage getting a divorce is a likely option but maybe there’s another way?
Leading marriage experts have shown supportive research that suggests couples should change their expectations from having the perfect partner to being more realistic and accepting of their partner’s flaws. This can is more likely to happen when you’re emotionally mature enough to step back and admit your own flaws. Wanting the best in everything generalizes to wanting the best in marriage too. But wanting the best makes you less willing to compromise as well…and what’s best for you may not be best for the marriage. Instead of working to achieve the best marriage it’s healthier to settle for a good marriage. A good marriage raises healthier children, and increases emotional and physical health in both partners.
What does a good enough or good marriage look like? Experts vary in their responses defining the term, but these three are must haves for a healthy marriage.
- Communication You must be able to talk to each other, know how to comfort one another, and leave them feeling respected and supported.
- Commitment to a shared goal Your partner and you should be together on your values and what’s important in sharing a life together. There will always be differences but the commitment to each other is what matters most.
- Attraction Couples change, as well as passion, but there has to be an “attraction” between the two of you to achieve a good marriage. Attraction begins superficially but deepens in marriage. When a spouse dies and their partner dies shortly after it’s the attraction or loss of connection that breaks their heart.
A good enough marriage involves team work and a sense of working together. Talking about your marriage and evaluating it on these three qualities will help guide you to areas that need strengthening as well as strong areas you can celebrate. A good enough marriage is the best way to raise healthy children and achieve marital happiness.
(This article does not promote nor do I believe you should stay in a marriage where there is abuse. Verbal, physical and/or sexual abuse need professional intervention. Leaving this situation is advised for you and your children.)