Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Marriage = Love plus...What?

"But I loved her with all my might, isn't that what it is supposed to take to create a marriage that lasts?" My client was stunned. His wife had just filed for divorce, after years of what he had thought was a successful marriage.

As I reflected on our meeting, and the weeks of work that followed, it became evident to me that love alone will never be enough to make a marriage work, or be successful for both partners in the long run.

I remember interviewing a man that had been married well over 50 years and posing the question to him about what makes a successful long term marriage.

His words still echo through my mind. "A deep love for the person is the place to start, but truly David you must really enjoy living together...in the same house, no matter how small. You must really enjoy their company for it to last. It's not enough to just love someone."

Love will really never be enough. You can deeply love someone, but not truly enjoy their company. Or respect their opinions on life. Or look for ways to create fun together. Or be willing to set healthy boundaries early on that shows how much you respect yourself.

My client definitely loved his wife, but over the years had refused to listen to her pleas to create more time to spend together. While he did not want to notice the fact they were drifting apart, she had created a life outside of her marriage that was more fulfilling then the fact that he was making an income to cover their living expenses.

She wanted more time, more creativity in their relationship, while he wanted to stay in his comfort zone.

As I look back at my own marriage that ended 8 years ago, I know we both loved each other . I also know that it was not enough. In my case, I believe I entered into marriage too soon for it to last, without enough of a foundation that all marriages really need. The ground work that is essential was bypassed.

Love+ Respect+Creativity+Communication+Understanding= A healthy marriage. Not a perfect marriage, but a healthy one that might just pass the test of time.

Slow down.

Love, peace, David Essel. www.talkdavid.com

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