A Huffington Post blog post by Lisa Haisha has sparked some discussion about monogamy and marriage. Lisa writes that seeing as recent studies show that 41 percent of spouses admit to infidelity (either physical or emotional) maybe we should ask, “Are we really supposed to be with just one person our whole life?” And if not, do we really have to get re-married five times? Are there other ways to view and do a marriage that will guarantee its success?
Just make it what you want it?
Lisa would like us to consider letting marriage evolve so that both partners simply agree on what their marriage will be: monogamous or not. She argues that this so called freedom to self define marriage is the “surest way to ensure a happy and healthy relationship.” But I’m not sure that it is.
What Lisa fails to grasp is the complexity of human psychology. The simple fact is that most of us can’t clearly define what we want. And often what we think we want is not what we need.
I’m sure you can remember times in your past you did what you thought you wanted, only to have it blow up in your face. Often it’s clear enough that your friends will be warning you of the pending disaster. (Like not being able to see you’re with the wrong guy)
Sometimes we need to trust that we don’t always know what’s best for us. And what may be best for us is not always easy. Monogamy in marriage may be difficult, sure. But the good in marriage can’t be reached just by adjusting the boundaries. (For the soccer inclined of you, have you ever tried moving out a goal post in a game of backyard soccer? How’d that go?)
Good stuff = Hard stuff
Most good things require effort and sacrifice. Just ask Mark Spitz who won 7 gold medals and set 7 new world records in the 1972 Olympics. But I’d suggest that marriage is a much higher good than a bunch of gold medals or sports records. So it shouldn’t really be a surprise that a happy, fulfilling marriage is hard work. Even really hard work.
And over the course of marriage feelings will change. Desire for your spouse will fluctuate. But if you can work through this, what you’ve got is something precious. There’s no greater teacher of sacrifice and love than marriage. The lessons are not always easy – and can be painful – but the results are magnificent!
What can I actually do about it?
Firstly, you need to believe a long, happy, monogamous marriage is actually possible.
Lisa argues that long, happy, monogamous marriages are few and far between. That may be true but it also depends where you’re looking (let’s keep in mind here Lisa is a Hollywood life coach).
I’m lucky enough to be surrounded by many examples of just such marriages, proving to me that they are possible. Perhaps it’s time we looked to see what these couples are doing to make it work, rather then looking at all the couples who couldn’t make it work and deciding we need to redefine the boundaries so we don’t stuff up.
There are so many books written on the topic of successful marriage, and it’s not possible to cover the area in a blog post.
Engaged or want to be?
But I can recommend one way to start off on the right foot. If you’re engaged or thinking about getting engaged do a really good marriage preparation course – like SmartLoving Engaged. Not only are these courses fun, but what you’ll learn can literally make the difference between making it and breaking it.
If you’re already married or it’s been 5 years since you did any marriage preparation, experts recommend doing something to boost and enrich your marriage. You could do this on your own or, perhaps even better, go to a weekend away such as SmartLoving Marriage.
If you’re engaged or married, decide this week what it is you’ll do to make your married future great! And if you’re single, pick something hard to start doing this week that will get you in the habit of doing hard things to make good things happen in future relationships.
Question: What have you seen in a happy old married couple that you reckon is a reason they’re still happy together? You can comment by clicking here.