**The second in my mini-series on marriage. I am exploring why I want it (or trying to), what goes into a successful marriage, and snippets of conversations M and I have had on this very topic**
I used to think you just need love to make a marriage work. To make it successful. You ‘just’ need love.
Think about that statement for a minute.
‘Just’ love and the rest is turnkey?
‘Just’ love and your views and lifestyles and outlook and effort and devotion and loyalty don’t matter?
‘Just’ love and marriage just…happens?
‘Just love’ sounds romantic and all but…uh, no. I’m pretty sure that’s what led to my divorce in the first place (in hindsight, of course). That ‘set it and forget it’ mentality. M and I have talked about this on several occasions, actually. That marriage, to us, now, especially (after both going through divorces), means that while love is the catalyst for marriage and uniting your lives, a devoted partnership is the foundation for a successful marriage.
And in that partnership comes allowing of each other’s interests and endevours (sharing in them when it makes sense, but always supporting them).
It also means supporting them up and lifting them up when they need it, too. Pushing them, driving them, motivating them to their goals, and to your collective goals as a unit. It’s the give and take aspect of a relationship that I think really makes or breaks a marriage. It’s a partnership in every sense of the word.
It means the ability to see that person as the parent to your children…and believing that they would indeed make a good parent…and together, being good parents together. Not one having responsibility and the other…not. A team.
It also means respecting each other, first and foremost. Marriage shifts the priority from you-centric to us-centric, which also includes our families (something I didn’t really have in my past marriage – that respectful family relationship with his family), too.
And it some cases, it means defending each other. Standing up for each other. Being each other’s shield. (I don’t know how to explain this one…but I hope that makes sense).
It also means being passionate for each other and about each other. And not just in the traditional sense of passion. To just want as much for them in this life as we want for ourselves.
Marriage takes so much more than ‘just’ love and these are just some examples of what I think of when I think about what I want my marriage to look like. And ultimately, I want to be empowered in and for my marriage. I don’t want to just be a participant. I want to drive it, fuel it, keep it as fresh as the very first day, to our very last.
That, to me, is what marriage is.
What is marriage to you?