Want a better marriage? Are you doing anything to make that happen?

bored couple © Bidouze Stéphane | Dreamstime.com

The article Are you stuck in a semi-happy marriage? defines a semi-happy marriage as one with “low conflict, low passion, and low satisfaction.” Why do such marriages exist (and apparently exist in growing numbers)? Maybe couples are so into low conflict that they are willing to put up with low passion and low satisfaction. A similar thing is seen in moderately happy marriages, and for much the same reason. To rewrite a common saying, the worse enemy of a great marriage is a good marriage.

Many people who say they want a better marriage fail to do what it takes to have one. They hate their semi-happy or moderately happy marriage, but they won’t do anything to change it. Why?

Maybe they are afraid of failing. Maybe it’s too much work – change requites effort. Trying to change means moving out of what is comfortable. Change also means risk – what if you don’t like the new as much as you liked the old? What if you lose the old and don’t get the new? What if the balance of “power,” or work, or enjoyment is less in your favour after the change? Most of these fears are more fear than reality, but they can still prevent change.

If you say you want a better marriage but are not working at it, ask yourself why. What’s keeping you from doing it? What about your bride – does she say she wants a better marriage, but doesn’t do anything to make it happen?

Discuss it with your bride, and decide on a plan to actually make changes. Find a marriage book to read, or a marriage retreat to attend. Discuss what you each what to see change, and set goals. DO SOMETHING to bring about change.

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5 Comments on “Want a better marriage? Are you doing anything to make that happen?

  1. Success in marriage does not come merely through finding the right mate, but through being the right mate.
    –Barnett R. Brickner

    • I’d say it comes from both. You can be the right mate, or be on the path to being the right mate since it’s likely a process, not a destination. But if your partner is not on that same path, or worse, acting out in a fashion incompatible with a Godly marriage, you will not find success.

      Your partner MAY join you if you are on that path. Or she may go the opposite direction.

  2. I would agree with Tony that it is a process and not a destination, and personal experience tells me that if you fail to discuss what you want and what your wife wants, it will all go belly-up. Communication, though, is not always so simple, as a book like “the 5 Love Languages” shows. it is a matter of both transmitting what you want and receiving (hearing) what your wife wants. Sometimes the only way that anyone can be sure that there has been effective communication is when there is a change actions after the communication compared to before.

  3. I agree that low conflict can cause a lowsy marriage. Another term for this is compromise. Unfortunately, you forget that this is preached as a virtue too, so that is part of the problem.

    I think it is important to understand what causes a low conflict marriage and it appears to me that it comes back to how we define marriage. When compromise is the core, then the marriage has no room to grow.

    What a marriage really needs is discussion and decisions. The only way to foster these attributes is to have real leadership. Again, this is a topic that gets ignored here a lot.

    The solution to a low-conflict compromising marriage isn’t high conflict. It’s the ability of someone to make well-informed decisions without reprisal. No institution can flourish outside of these conditions.

    High conflict without leadership will undoubtedly lead to anarchy, which isn’t a solution. If someone has a choice, the low-conflict is much better. And now we have the asnwer to problem if anyone wants to do something.

  4. @Take Two – I completely agree with you on compromise, and it’s been to long since I posted on that. A compromise means no one is happy, and I don’t see how that is helpful. Yes, sometimes compromise is necessary, but too much of it is a bad thing.

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