Chart Your Own Marital Course (the longest-lasting marriages do this)
*Welcome to week three of this 12-week series based on the New York Times® bestselling book, Happy Wives Club. Join me each week as I share 12 principles about marriage I’ve learned from some of the happiest couples around the world.*
“Marriages are like fingerprints. Each one is different and each one is beautiful.” -Maggie Reyes, ModernMarried.com
When you set out on a journey around the world to find the common denominator among happy and long-lasting couples, as I did, you expect to see incredibly different approaches to marriage.
Although what makes their marriages successful are similar in principle, everything else is very different.
For you, it’s probably easy not to compare your marriage to couples across the Atlantic ocean. But have you ever found yourself comparing your marriage to that of those around you (in your neighborhood, at church, at work, in your circle of friends, etc.)?
Comparing your relationship to anyone else’s -I’ve learned through all my interviews, spending time with happy couples, and in my own life- is detrimental to the happiness of your marriage.
This past weekend, my husband and I enjoyed a wonderful evening with friends who have been married for nearly 40 years.
You only need to be in Miriam and Efi’s presence for three minutes before it becomes abundantly clear just how much fun they have together. They don’t just love one another; they like each other. A lot.
According to their grown children, they’ve been this same way for as long as any of them can remember.
Keith and I do this a lot, by the way. We love spending time around couples who genuinely enjoy being in each other’s presence.
Some study marriage in school and through textbooks. I’ve done it, for the past 11 years, through immersion. I’ve learned most about creating and maintaining genuine happiness in marriage by being around couples who have successfully done that for decades. And you know what they all have in common? They all march to the beat of their own drums.
Even still, no matter how wonderful a couple’s marriage is that we are around, we never compare our relationship to theirs. Like every other area of life, when you compare what you have to someone else, you always lose.
If you have a great marriage, and compare yours to those that seem less successful, you run the risk of setting your relationship up for a downfall. Have you ever noticed that so many who esteem themselves (or their stuff) higher than others often lose what they cherish most?
On the flip side, if your marriage seems less “fantastic” than those around you, don’t sweat it. You have everything you need to create the marriage of your dreams and you have the rest of your life to make it happen. It will happen, as long as you stay focused on your marriage and your marriage alone.
Yes, Keith and I learn from others. We even emulate things we’ve seen other couples do successfully. That is healthy. Really, that is wisdom. But enriching our marriage with things we’ve learned from others is far as we go. Comparisons -in every area of life- always prove to be far more costly than they’re worth.
After spending years “immersed” in loving and happy marriages, this I can say without exception: the happiest and longest-lasting marriages are those who decided years ago to chart their own marital course.
YOUR TURN: Are you ever tempted to compare your marriage to that of another? When that happens, what do you do to mute that voice in your head?
Until tomorrow…make it a great day!
THE NEW YORK TIMES® BEST-SELLING BOOK: It’s been described as, “Like Eat, Pray, Love but not down on marriage.” Make sure to check out the Happy Wives Club book. I had the great honor of traveling to 12 countries on 6 continents, interviewing couples happily married 25 years or more, with 1 mission only: to find out what makes marriages happy…and keeps them that way. It’s a marriage book like none other. Guaranteed.
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