Thursday, March 30, 2006

Follow-Up: What Makes a Marriage Work?

I intended to follow-up to this post that turned out to be surprisingly popular much earlier. But in the world of blogging, there is so much to write about that sometimes it is easy to forget to come back to a topic you intended to come back to all along.

In this post, I asked what "bottom line factor that, if missing, a relationship would be near impossible?"

My readers brought forward some very important factors in marriage including compromise, a sense of humor, respect for each other (as equals), commitment to shared values, giving, caring about the other person tremendously, communication (esp. listening), trust (extremely important), being close friends, and more.

The truth is that the question is somewhat misleading. There are so many important factors in marriage that, if missing, will make it near impossible for a marriage to thrive and grow. However, even with this admission, I still think that there is an intangible factor that makes one person (who you share goals with, respect, trust, and communicate well with) better than another person (with whom you would share the same).

What is that intangible factor? It is hard to put into words something that can only be felt on a deep spiritual level. But, there is no question in my mind that beyond the important factors listed above, there is something more that makes a match a happy marriage. There is an intangible factor that makes a dating couple move from the initial discomfort of the dating process to the desire to spend the rest of their lives together.

I'm not sure how to describe the intangible because it is exactly that. I've tried to put my idea on paper, but can never seem to find the right words. In my own relationship, I'd describe this intangible as a deep comfort: a comfort that allows me to trust his instincts and allows him to trust mine. A comfort that lets us defer to the other person and be a team, rather than being on our own even if we are under one roof. A comfort that makes it seem like we were always part of each others families and each others life all along.

Just my thoughts. Looking forward to hearing yours.


Yitzchak Jakobi said...

I haven't been married that long (we're getting close to that one year anniversary), however I would define the intangible as the factor that balances the couple out. Maybe one is more gregarious and the other is more shy. That's what creates the bond that allows the couple to function as a unit and not as two seperate parts.

Orthonomics said...

Mazal Tov on your upcoming anniversary Jack. I'm thrilled you jumped in first with your thoughts. I really like your idea.

Esther said...

Our friend marykaygal has a saying, as you know, "Don't marry the person you can live with, marry the person you can't live without." Don't marry someone just because they meet your checklist -- the feeling that you talk about has to be there. I really like how you express it.

Anonymous said...

Here are some basic concepts that have worked for us-open communication, tolerance for each other's needs, being there during the good and the not so good times ( see Ibn Ezra on "Ezer Knegdo in Breishis), working as a team, allowing any and all questions,helping each other with household necessities, etc.