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What does a happy marriage/relationship look like to you?


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#26 YodaTheWrinkledOne

Posted 12 June 2019 - 10:12 PM

View PostJoanJett, on 12 June 2019 - 10:00 PM, said:

I think there's a false ideal that marriage is a commitment you make when you take your vows.  The reality is that it should be a commitment you make every day.  It needs to be nourished. It is absolutely about give and take.

When I have the "irrits" about our relationship, or I feel like we're in a rut, I simply ask myself - better or worse?  Not just for better or worse, but is my life better or worse with my husband in it.
agree with this. A marriage is an active relationship, you have to actively participate in it on a regular, frequent basis.

You need to acknowledge it will change, you will change, they will change and that you are still committed.

Priorities will change, depending on the circumstances. As a couple, it's important to be on the same pages about priorities - day-to-day, medium term and long-term.

#27 Kallie88

Posted 12 June 2019 - 10:23 PM

Dh thought about this quote for his vows at our wedding (didn't actually say it, he's not a public speaker and that's ok, he shared it with me after)

“Love is not a whim. Love is not a flower that fades with a few fleeting years. Love is a choice wedded to action, my husband, and I choose you, and I will choose you every day for the rest of my life.”
From Brent weeks book the blinding knife

When I asked him what he thought of the original question he said respect and listening to each other.

#28 lozoodle

Posted 12 June 2019 - 10:41 PM

Knowing each other well. REALLY well, knowing each others sh*t moods and knowing when to back off and when to be there for them.

Trust, trying, understanding, appreciation. Just the little things. I don't expect much apart from that and neither does he. We're not perfect, no one is perfect, but we are pretty happy and haven't had too many rocky patches.

#29 chicken_bits

Posted 12 June 2019 - 10:42 PM

I'd say the number 1 thing is communication.

Everything else follows from there.

#30 Literary Lemur

Posted 12 June 2019 - 10:44 PM

I think the freedom to be yourself and to be supported in the things that are important to you.

Time together and time apart.

To share core values.

Laughter. Lots of laughter.

Fair fights with issues resolved rather than dragged out again and again.

Loyalty and not just within hearing distance.

Appreciation.

Physical closeness.

To feel desirable.

Open communication.

A feeling that they are 'home'

#31 TrixieBelden

Posted 13 June 2019 - 06:48 AM

I don’t find kindness unreal or a ‘signal’.  It’s a living choice, and honesty without it achieves little and has questionable motivation.

Honesty is what I need to shine on myself; others are not responsible for that and if I am not capable of it, no amount of ‘honest appraisal’ from others will sink in.

In fact I find most of what Joan jett values in a marriage to be individual responsibilities rather than shared ones. I’d still need to develop, to change, to be independent and to examine myself if I were single. I’m responsible for all that in my life.

Edited by TrixieBelden, 13 June 2019 - 06:58 AM.


#32 Soontobe7

Posted 13 June 2019 - 07:56 AM

View PostJoanJett, on 12 June 2019 - 10:00 PM, said:

I don't believe in the concept of a "happy" marriage. It's too twee for me.  If it's worthwhile, for me, a relationship needs to challenge, provoke and inspire.  It's a dynamic entity that waxes  and wanes and needs attending to.  It's often uncomfortable, sometimes unwanted, but overall worth persisting with because it enriches both of your lives.  

What I value in our relationship:

honesty-  I prefer honest appraisal to the signals of "kindness", it's more real and provokes me to evaluate myself. You can have both, but sometimes, honesty requires a partner to confront the other.

growth - there's no way I want to be with someone who hasn't changed since we met, and I can't for a moment be the person "formed" when we married in our 30s

respect - we can disagree about the fundamentals, but acknowledge another point of view

independence - if  we can't each have our own space to grow, experience and develop, what are we bringing to the table

And then kismet - all the reasons we found each other.  A shared sense of humour, intellectual interests, values, physical attraction, a commitment to keeping "the flame" burning.

Also, I don't think there's anything wrong with going to bed angry with your partner or not resolving a conflict. I don't ever want to be in the situation of compromising myself or my beliefs.  It's ok to agree to disagree.  It's ok to argue.  In fact, if I couldn't challenge my husband on a fairly regular basis, there's no way I would want to be married.

To the OP, when I look at your list, quite reasonably it's very much about your needs, and it's great that you're formulating them and naming what you need.  But if you want to have a successful marriage, take some time to also think about the list your partner would make.

I think there's a false ideal that marriage is a commitment you make when you take your vows.  The reality is that it should be a commitment you make every day.  It needs to be nourished. It is absolutely about give and take.

When I have the "irrits" about our relationship, or I feel like we're in a rut, I simply ask myself - better or worse?  Not just for better or worse, but is my life better or worse with my husband in it.

Wow! One of the best things I've read on here.

#33 just roses

Posted 13 June 2019 - 08:17 AM

Shared goals, it’s important to be heading in the same direction.

Independence, we’re separate people and allow each other to have space (including the odd solo holiday) and develop our own careers etc.

Support, I don’t need to be thanked for cooking dinner most nights and he doesn’t need to be thanked for doing all the school drop-offs.  But we support each other in what needs to be done.

A shared commitment to family fun and a shared sense of humour. My husband is a funny man. There have been times over 20 of marriage that it’s been hard and I’ve thought to myself ‘it’s just as well he makes me laugh every day because right now it feels like that’s the only thing’.

OP, if it feels like you’re not being thanked enough for your sacrifice, then stop sacrificing so much. It seems like a glib thing to say but I think too many women do sacrifice too much. And they should stop.

#34 IamOzgirl

Posted 13 June 2019 - 10:38 AM

A partnership.

Being on the same team.

Trust and respect.

No 'this is my money', 'this is your responsibility' etc.

Edited by IamOzgirl, 13 June 2019 - 10:38 AM.


#35 Nasty Poobah

Posted 13 June 2019 - 12:11 PM

View PostTrixieBelden, on 13 June 2019 - 06:48 AM, said:

I don’t find kindness unreal or a ‘signal’.  It’s a living choice, and honesty without it achieves little and has questionable motivation.

Honesty is what I need to shine on myself; others are not responsible for that and if I am not capable of it, no amount of ‘honest appraisal’ from others will sink in.

In fact I find most of what Joan jett values in a marriage to be individual responsibilities rather than shared ones. I’d still need to develop, to change, to be independent and to examine myself if I were single. I’m responsible for all that in my life.

Because a like is not enough.

And in response to your first paragraph -- absolutely! I'm in my mid 50s, DP is very early 60s. We've both had other long term relationships and we both understand that knowing when to keep your mouth shut is probably one of the most important life lessons we've learnt. It's not about compromising your integrity at all, it's about not sweating the small stuff and invoking the maxim of  "Is it kind? Is it necessary? and Is it true?" before we open our mouths.

Happiness certainly isn't overrated, particularly because it's not an independent characteristic -- it relies on all those other factors such as kindness, respect and good communication to flourish.

Because when a relationship is right, it's fundamentally easy. This doesn't mean there are no challenges or nothing that ever needs to be worked on -- what it does mean is that it's much easier to approach issues with good grace and a genuine desire for resolution.

I think that kindness is often so undersold and it's something that repays itself in spades. My DP is the kind of man who rushes to help complete strangers when he can see them struggling, and it carries over into all facets of his life. I remember that when we had only just met he put a lot of effort into finding out just how a like my tea so he could make me a cup -- and he's still making me one every day over 11 years later. At face value it's only a little thing but it's an outward sign of all the love and consideration he has for me.

Edited by Nasty Poobah, 13 June 2019 - 12:12 PM.


#36 Daffy2016

Posted 13 June 2019 - 12:55 PM

View Postfroglett, on 12 June 2019 - 10:40 AM, said:

For our marriage it comes down to one word. Trying.

As long as both parties are trying (in all facets, parenting, work, housework, sex, affection etc), then we're happy.

Yup, this. I’m carrying a fair bit of the child/house burden at the moment because DH has heaps on his plate. But he knows that, acknowledges it and is trying his best to change it. That acknowledgement and effort goes a long way to making sure I don’t resent him.

#37 Sentient Puddle

Posted 13 June 2019 - 01:07 PM

View PostTrixieBelden, on 12 June 2019 - 03:23 PM, said:

I think kindness. To each other and to people outside of the relationship.

I actively looked for a partner who was kind. If it’s missing - you can’t ever fill that hole. I had made the mistake before of being in love with a man who was not kind. He was funny and charming and ambitious - but he was not kind to strangers. It was foolish of me to know that and imagine he’d be kind to me.

This resonates so much for me.  My partner is kind.  I realised that early on.  He wasn't the most exciting guy I had ever dated and a few of my friends think I "settled" when I chose him.  I think the other way around and I am lucky to have him.  He is the kindest most thoughtful bloke around and an even better Dad too.  I have been having a rough week this week with lots of health related things going on with my extended family and he took the day off yesterday to take my elderly Mum to visit my elderly Dad in hospital when I wasn't able to.  He also coaches a soccer team and he worries if the kids are having a good time and enjoying themselves.  Not if they are winning - but if they are having fun.  This speaks volumes about him.  Sometimes I do bite my tongue and am not completely frank about stuff - because I too try and be kind - just like him!  Sometimes it is not about being right and winning or even being completely honest about everything all the time.

#38 Ozquoll

Posted 13 June 2019 - 02:43 PM

View PostNasty Poobah, on 13 June 2019 - 12:11 PM, said:

Because when a relationship is right, it's fundamentally easy.
I like this ^^^. My relationship with DH feels that way. Not that things are always perfect, but I’ve certainly never had a feeling of “**** this, it’s all too hard”.

#39 Chchgirl

Posted 13 June 2019 - 05:50 PM

You sound like we did STBG, one of my main reasons on my reluctance to re partner, I've had the good one, not sure I could find that again.

I had 20 good years so happy to be on my own now.

#40 littleboysmum

Posted 13 June 2019 - 06:47 PM

My DH is the absolute best husband. I am very lucky in who o chose to partner with and to be the father of my children.

- we both value kindness
- we take the bad with the good and try to support each other either way.
- we try not to play the blame game.
- he is great around the house and with the kids
- we both pull our weight
- he has seen me through  some very very difficult health problems. I have chronic illness and he is unwaivering with his support, love and affection.
- we believe in one another.
- we have generally the same values, goals and ideals in marriage, parenting and life.
- we find each other attractive and are affectionate.
- we fight and have problems like everybody but we always try to talk things through and are both capable of admitting fault and apologising.
- I am a worrier. DH isn’t. He really balances me out and helps me see the positives when we are having problems.
- we also have individual likes and interests as well as shared likes and interests.

I had a terrible father and I’m so grateful my kids have a good one and that I have my best friend by my side to do life with. I am very grateful and lucky.

#41 YodaTheWrinkledOne

Posted 13 June 2019 - 09:08 PM

View PostDaffy2016, on 13 June 2019 - 12:55 PM, said:

Yup, this. I’m carrying a fair bit of the child/house burden at the moment because DH has heaps on his plate. But he knows that, acknowledges it and is trying his best to change it. That acknowledgement and effort goes a long way to making sure I don’t resent him.
Years and years of trying and not doing would eventually sh*t me off. Trying only goes so far.

#42 JoanJett

Posted 14 June 2019 - 08:04 PM

View PostTrixieBelden, on 13 June 2019 - 06:48 AM, said:

I don’t find kindness unreal or a ‘signal’.  It’s a living choice, and honesty without it achieves little and has questionable motivation.

Honesty is what I need to shine on myself; others are not responsible for that and if I am not capable of it, no amount of ‘honest appraisal’ from others will sink in.

In fact I find most of what Joan jett values in a marriage to be individual responsibilities rather than shared ones. I’d still need to develop, to change, to be independent and to examine myself if I were single. I’m responsible for all that in my life.

For me, honesty is about truth in a relationship.  That's what my comment meant.  I don't believe that you can be "kind" to someone if you're not honest with yourself, and them. If you deny feelings and thoughts, it's not kind to me.  The idea that you can be the only arbiter of honesty for yourself is anathema to me.  Our ego preserves us from true self-evaluation.

I personally don't like the way the word "kind" is frequently used currently.  It's an amorphism that seeks to encompass respect, empathy, consideration, sympathy, justice and many other virtues.  I would rather name those attributes and claim them as the goals, rather than use "kind".  That's probably also my pedantic nature with the use of language.

I know plenty of men who are "kind" to other people and ostensibly "kind" to their partners, while they shamelessly have cheated on their partners and have  bothbeen fundamentally dishonest with their partners and themselves.  That's where I'd rather some occasional "unkindness" or insensitivity from my husband to have the unfailing honesty of a partner who could not lie to save himself, even if it sometimes hurts me.  That's my lived experience.

And as to my values being individual responsibilities in a relationship, hell yeah. I can't be a partner in my relationship if I'm not myself, and if I'm not being the best person I could be.  I could do all those things being single and be happy, but I'd rather be me in my relationship with my love of 20+ years. I guess it's my luck (or maybe good choice) that I have a partner, in every sense of the word, who's happy to accommodate all my foibles.

I took a long time to comment again, because I didn't want to make this a combative thread, because I strongly believe that the only people that know a relationship are those in it.  I also strongly believe that we choose the relationships that suit us best.  There's no secret formula.

I simply answered the question from the OP "what does a happy relationship look like to YOU?" (my emphasis).  I can't expect that anyone would know the travails and challenges we've faced, and continue to face, in our relationship.  My reply came from a pretty eventful history.  I wouldn't expect that it's the model for all other people.  But if someone is seeking opinions about how others' relationships work, that's my contribution.  It's not wrong or right, it's what works for us and our combination of feisty, high energy personalities.  

Most of all, I wholeheartedly agree that respect, communication and consideration are the cornerstones of any functional relationship.  Deliberately functional - happiness is an emphemeral state.  You don't feel it without the lows. In our household, we aim for contentment and the happy medium of the ups and downs of life.

To the OP, I think there's one truth in a good relationship.  If you want it to work, you think about it and you work on it.  It's not always easy, particularly if you face challenges.  It's ok for it to feel difficult at times.  It's how you meet the challenges that's important - face it as a team and decide what's best for you both.  Sometimes you might need outside help to clarify and crystallise that.  That's not a failure, but a recognition of the importance of the relationship you're trying to preserve and grow.

To all the posters who have contributed, congratulations on having a relationship that you feel worthy of sharing.




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