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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Learning how to Make a Marriage

Dear A. B.

Thanks for the information-I've put a request in for the books at the library. Your answer, however, brings up more questions for me that I really am curious about. What if a person never really felt romantic love for the other person before they were married? Also, what if you don't begin to admire the other person and the love doesn't grow that way? Shouldn't there also be more of a physical attraction during sex? I've always thought of sex as a way to fully express myself in an intimate way with someone that I felt a strong connection with. Is it really just a duty to perform? K_________

Dear K______

We have romanticized sex and overshadowed the physical act itself, putting much more pressure on the act to give us the kind of self-fulfillment the act was never meant to deliver. Certainly old married couples treat sex as a physical intimacy that is pleasurable, but not the romantic movie version of it.

Many cultures have arranged marriages. There have been political marriages, marriages for money and influence that have developed into strong, healthy relationships. Disraeli, the English politician comes to mind. He married a plain woman who was wealthy and also wise. She said she knew he had married her for her position but she also knew that over the years he had come to love her for herself, for her qualities of kindness and intelligence.

If you didn't feel romantic feelings before you were married that doesn't mean they can't develop in low-key ways. But our cultural expectations of marriage are way beyond any possibility of being satisfied with the hum-drum of ordinary existence. A spouse's flaws can be overwhelming at times and it is not up to us to change them out of these flaws. It is our job to practice forbearance at these times. Most Americans don't even know what the word means. If you look it up yourself in the dictionary you may be surprised.

I consider myself fortunate to have a very loving relationship with my husband. The best part of the day for me is when he comes home about 4:30. I would not like to think about life without him. But it took my growing in wisdom and forbearance to have such a relationship. And sometimes when I'm stretched thin and my husband disappoints me I think, wow, it's like marriage is not getting happiness, it's giving up happiness in order to have a good marriage. It's like, what am I going to sacrifice to be married, not what am I going to get out of it.

The most happily married man I know said about his marriage is "I expect absolutely nothing from my marriage". He does, of course, derive a great deal. But whatever positive comes his way is valued and appreciated because he expects nothing A. B. Curtiss

Dear A. B.

Thanks so much for all of the information. I've read the Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands and I'm on to the companion book Woman Power. I wish I had read this stuff before getting married but luckily I'm not far into it now so I feel good about that part. The book definitely opened my eyes up to the way that people can become trapped into bad habits in a marriage and how people need to work at it to make it better. I guess a lot of people think it's going to be easy and expect things to be different. I've decided I will work at changing the way I act towards my husband based on everything I've learned. I hope you have a good holiday weekend.


1 comment:

Ginger said...

Thanks for sharing this information about marriage that is eye-opening, straightforward and honest. Very helpful.