We just came back from a trip to the West Coast, and by chance the topic came up of how many people any of us know who actually have happy marriages. Answer: NOT MANY!
We’ve spend our whole personal and professional lives studying one simple issue: How to have a good marriage. Adding up our professional life, we’ve put in over 80 years working on the problem. Double that if you want to add in the fact that we’ve been married to each other since college. That’s about 160 years thinking about how to have a happy marriage!
This is worth thinking about because…well, just ask yourself and your friends this: how many people do you know well who have happy marriages? These have to be people you know well. People whose marriages you’ve observed close up. People who’ve been in a position to confide in you about their marital struggles.
(Because, as you well know, the marriage that look great from the outside, when you’re not able to know the true story of what’s going on, can all too often be like those apples that look ripe and luscious from the outside but are rotten on the inside.)
If you’re like the people we talked to, you won’t be able to honestly say you know all that many happily married couples.
And by the way: are you one of them?
So…why is it so hard? And what can we do to make it easier?
There are a lot of glib answers. One of the people we talked to in LA said, “Well, Jane and Jon have a happy marriage and part of it is they always close the door when they go to the bathroom and they don’t allow farting. It prevents them from becoming too familiar.”
Hmmmm. I doubt if a no-farting rule is the secret of how to have a good marriage. But IS there a secret? Tell us about any people you know who are happy in their marriages and tell us their secrets, if you know.
Let’s start a dialogue.
Of course we have a lot to say, after all the time we’ve spent helping people fix their broken marriages. But we want to hear from you. What are your thoughts on this?