I picked up a book at the library the other day titled Secrets of Great Marriages: Real Truth From Real Couples About Lasting Love written by Charlie and Linda Bloom, a long-married couple who are also therapists. For the book, they interviewed 27 couples who had been happily married for an average of 30 years.
The day I picked up this book was the day that my husband of almost four years (my second marriage) yelled at me. He's never yelled at me before. We're not yellers and he's usually a man of great patience.
Ironic, huh? Perfect timing, too.
I couldn't wait to be able to sit down at the end of the day and start reading the Blooms' book. And learn what made these marriages succeed.
When I was in college, my friends and I talked about what we called "genius marriages." We defined this kind of marriage as one where the couple seemed perfect together -- not that their lives were perfect, but that the way they lived their lives, and especially lived them together, was "genius." Something to aspire to.
The couples in the Blooms' book have had their fair share of adversity and life challenges. Each story shares a common thread of commitment, empathy, and the couples' ability to step back and analyze their individual roles (both positive and negative) in the marriage.
After my husband yelled at me, we didn't really speak to each other for a few days. After reading some of the book, I decided that I should step back and look at what had happened in the aftermath of our incident. When I did, I was able to see a pattern in our past behavior, on the infrequent occasions we have fought, and to see how damaging this pattern is to our relationship. And I want to change it. Actually, both of us want to change it.
I love my husband. I want us to have a "genius marriage." It won't be easy but it'll be worth it. Reading Secrets of Great Marriages and learning from others' experiences is one step to getting there.
What do you think is the secret to a great marriage?
Image via Barnes & Noble