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No Such Thing as a Perfect Marriage, Just a Healthy One

There’s no such thing as a perfect marriage, just a healthy one. Today, we’re going to break this down and take some perspective from having lived a while. Let’s look at the second part of the statement first and consider healthy marriages.

While what constitutes a healthy marriage will vary based on a couple’s and individual relationship’s needs, they will have several common themes that are a good source of evaluating marital health. Here are two big issues to think through if you haven’t already. They are also great discussions to have with your children and Grands as they get older.

Shared values - Most of us tend to spend time with those who share our values. The same is true of building a thriving lifelong relationship. As marital partners do we share the same family ideals, morals, ethics, and principles? Have we talked about them and made choices that reflect them? Our Family Values Statement Builder worksheet is a great help to evaluate your values as a family. Subscribe to our free monthly newsletter to receive your worksheet.

Common goals - Couples who share some lifetime goals will be more likely to succeed and sustain a healthy marriage, too. What do our goals look like for growing old together? Do we want to retire young and travel? Work as long as possible? Live near children and grandchildren regardless of climate? Live in a different climate regardless of proximity to family? Upsize or downsize our home or yard? Garden and landscape? Xeriscape and live maintenance free? Issues like these affect both our working and elder years greatly. A healthy marriage usually reflects time spent in aligning our goals into a future that works well for us as couples.

Now let’s look at the perfect marriage. That statement can lead us down two different avenues. First, if we are looking for marriage to be always perfect, with no conflict, 100% agreement, and always graced with flowers and blue skies, then we’re living in a fantasy. Whenever humans are involved, there are times of disagreement. It’s okay. Part of growing up and growing wiser is learning how to deal with conflict. We can safely set aside the idea that marriages are perfect in this sense.

The other consideration of perfection is not to be dismissed, however. The question to be asked is whether our spouse is perfect for us. When we set aside the realities of day-to-day difficulties in traversing life over many decades, we can analyze whether or not we’ve chosen wisely in the type of person we are married to and whether we are a perfect match for each other. For me, this is where I find some of the truest beauty of marriage. Especially as my husband and I get older and start to see a time when one of us will precede the other in death.

If we can look at our spouse, with the truth of our individual imperfections revealed over the years we’ve spent together, and say, “This is still my perfect match,” then we are living our perfect marriage. Only time together truly reveals this gem of married life. The success of having worked through struggles together, overcome obstacles, grown through good and bad times, and still wanting this to be the person you spend your life and time with, is simply, perfection. This is a relationship as free from flaws as possible. For each married couple, this will look different but it will still be perfection as defined by their relationship as spouses.

Sadly, many marriages don’t make it to this stage in our time. The high divorce rate and the disinterest in marriage being exhibited among younger people testifies to some disillusionment in our culture. How can we, as the older generation who might be living our personal version of a perfect marriage, convey to younger family members that marriage has value and is worth creating and celebrating?

We can acknowledge honestly that while The Perfect Marriage might be a fantasy, our version of a perfect marriage is attainable by knowing ourselves, having realistic expectations of long-term relationships, and choosing wisely as we consider marriage partners. Encouraging young family members to examine their values and talk openly about them with prospective mates is a positive step to correcting some of our cultural marriage woes. We can help them not to get lost in the movie version of romance and learn a true version of romance and relationship-building that lasts them a lifetime.


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