Marriage is not rocket science. The principles it’s based on are really pretty simple. Kindness. Respect. Loyalty. That kind of thing.
24 years of marriage.
That’s what last Saturday meant for me.
We had celebrated earlier so I didn’t remember until I was driving to work. I called him. Told him I loved him. I got grocery store flowers when I got home. Beautifully arranged by the way.
What ever did we do without grocery store flowers?
Between being a marital therapist and my own experience, I have learned a few things. Since I am on year #24, I’ve divided them into 12’s. Just to be cute.
12 thing that marriage is not:
1) Marriage is not for the weak. It’s hard work.
2) Marriage is not about getting what you want all the time. It’s not a dictatorship. It’s not wanting to win all the time because that would mean the other person would lose all the time. Maybe okay for you. Not good for the marriage.
3) Marriage is not rocket science. The principles it’s based on are really pretty simple. Kindness. Respect, Loyalty. That kind of thing.
4) Marriage is not unfashionable. Even Brangelina finally got married. (Whew. Wasn’t that a relief. Marriage is finally “in” again.)
5) Marriage is not in and of itself stimulating. Since you are with the same person over a long time, the two of you can get in a rut. You have to keep things fresh.
6) Marriage is not about collecting things. The joys of marriage aren’t tangible. You live them. That’s what makes them so very special.
7) Marriage is not for the impatient. Some of the best stuff takes a while to develop. You have to stick around to find that out.
8) Marriage is not the place for criticism. For abuse. If it is found there, it will ruin any chance of true intimacy or trust and dissolve the hope that once might have existed.
9) Marriage is not a 24 hour repair shop. Your marital partner is not supposed to meet your every need. Some of those needs you may have to take care of yourself. Through your friendships or other activities.
10) Marriage is not self-sustaining. It does not thrive on its own. If all you focus on is the kids, you are making a mistake.
11) Marriage is not boring. Two lives woven together can be quite exciting. There’s just something about watching someone very different from you, living their life in an extremely different way. Up close and personal. You learn from that.
12) Marriage is not without conflict. Knowing how to disagree and work through anger and disappointment is probably the key to lots of stuff going well. Getting to that cooperating, mentioned in #2.
12 things that marriage is:
1) Marriage is the potential for an intense, deep and diverse intimacy. Sexual. Emotional. Relational.
2) Marriage is knowing someone has your back. Always. You have theirs. It’s about interdependence.
3) Marriage is realizing that you have been seen in your worst times, and that you are still loved. There’s an overriding sense of gratitude and security.
4) Marriage is sharing old jokes. Or some story that may be told over and over but it still makes you laugh til you are left gasping for breath.
5) Marriage is getting teary-eyed together.
6) Marriage is thinking about the other one not being there anymore. And not being able to think about it.
7) Marriage is getting irritated by the things that always irritate you. Have irritated you for 24 years. Will irritate you for 24 more. And tolerating it because it is way over-balanced by the good stuff.
8) Marriage is not being able to wait to get home to share some little something.
9) Marriage is wishing you were the one having the operation. Or the illness. Not him.
10) Marriage is sometimes fighting. Trying to slowly learn to fight more fairly. To apologize. To listen. To learn. To find resolution.
11) Marriage is about vulnerability. Giving someone the right to hurt or disappoint you. While simultaneously giving that someone the opportunity to bring you tremendous joy and laughter.
12) Marriage is a promise. A vow. To try the hardest you have ever tried in your life. Marriage is a place for the achievement of a personal integrity like no other.
I’m now living year #25.
So far. So good.
RSVP for Love Sex Etc. Calls
What’s Next? Talk with others. Take action.
We are proud of our SOCIAL INTEREST GROUPS—WEEKLY PHONE CALLS to discuss, gain insights, build communities— and help solve some of the most difficult challenges the world has today. Calls are for Members Only (although you can join the first call for free). Not yet a member of The Good Men Project? Join now!
Join The Good Men Project Community
All levels get to view The Good Men Project site AD_FREE. The $50 Platinum Level is an ALL-ACCESS PASS—join as many groups and classes as you want for the entire year. The $25 Gold Level gives you access to any ONE Social Interest Group and ONE Class–and other benefits listed below the form. Or…for $12, join as a Bronze Member and support our mission, and have a great ad-free viewing experience.
Register New Account
Please note: If you are already a writer/contributor at The Good Men Project, log in here before registering. (Request new password if needed).
ANNUAL PLATINUM membership ($50 per year) includes:
1. AN ALL ACCESS PASS — Join ANY and ALL of our weekly calls, Social Interest Groups, classes, workshops and private Facebook groups. We have at least one group phone call or online class every day of the week.
2. See the website with no ads when logged in!
3. MEMBER commenting badge.
ANNUAL GOLD membership ($25 per year) includes all the benefits above — but only ONE Weekly Social Interest Group and ONE class.
ANNUAL BRONZE membership ($12 per year) is great if you are not ready to join the full conversation but want to support our mission anyway. You’ll still get a BRONZE commenting badge, and you can pop into any of our weekly Friday Calls with the Publisher when you have time. This is for people who believe—like we do—that this conversation about men and changing roles and goodness in the 21st century is one of the most important conversations you can have today.
We have pioneered the largest worldwide conversation about what it means to be a good man in the 21st century. Your support of our work is inspiring and invaluable.
“Here’s the thing about The Good Men Project. We are trying to create big, sweeping, societal changes—–overturn stereotypes, eliminate racism, sexism, homophobia, be a positive force for good for things like education reform and the environment. And we’re also giving individuals the tools they need to make individual change—-with their own relationships, with the way they parent, with their ability to be more conscious, more mindful, and more insightful. For some people, that could get overwhelming. But for those of us here at The Good Men Project, it is not overwhelming. It is simply something we do—–every day. We do it with teamwork, with compassion, with an understanding of systems and how they work, and with shared insights from a diversity of viewpoints.” —– Lisa Hickey, Publisher of The Good Men Project and CEO of Good Men Media Inc.
You can read more of Dr. Margaret on her website. Subscribe and you will receive a free copy of her new eBook, “Seven Commandments Of Good Therapy“, a basic guide on how to choose a potential therapist or how to evaluate the therapy you are currently receiving. You can also email her with comments: [email protected]
This post originally appeared at drmargaretrutherford.com. Reprinted with permission.
Photo: Getty Images
Editor’s note: we have changed the title and the first point because we recognize the problem with the original word choice of “sissy” as a derogative. We recognize the oppressive history this word has for men (and women) and appreciate the readers who drew our attention to the problem.