One Very Important Secret to a Happy MarriageBlog / Produced by The High Calling
In marriage, more often than not, we discuss the importance of interdependence; a reciprocal relationship between two interdependent people. What is often missed, however, but is equally as important is independence within an interdependent relationship.
Prior to traveling the world, interviewing couples happily married twenty-five years or more for my book, Happy Wives Club, independence was never on my radar as being one of the secrets to a happy marriage. Yet there it was, as plain as day, showcased in each and every happy marriage I encountered on six continents around the world.
From Los Angeles to Buenos Aires, Cape Town to London, Montevideo to Rome, from the Philippines to Australia, there were twelve common denominators—secrets, if you will—among each happy couple I interviewed. Llike a tapestry, one of the threads woven through each successful marriage was the importance of keeping outside interests.
Each couple pointed out the imperative nature of having pursuits—hobbies, work, volunteering—outside of the home and outside of their family. A separate identity, they insisted, is important and keeps each person from “smothering” the other or becoming bored with one another.
Pursuing multiple activities ensures there is a new discovery to discuss daily. A new lesson, a new test, a new blessing, another breakthrough. This “secret to a happy marriage” played an important role for each of the couples whose lives I probed during my travels.
Now, I don’t want you to think my observations swing the pendulum too far, away from staying home, building a family, and raising children. Not in the least. Having the opportunity to mold, shape and prepare another human being for living a life pleasing in God’s sight is not to be taken lightly. There will be few tasks more important or rewarding in our lifetimes. More often than not, however, each couple instructed me if this is our sole focus, we run the risk of losing a very important piece of who we are. God uniquely gifted each and every one of us. Operating in our gifts, as well as utilizing each of our talents, is an opportunity we do not want to miss, inside the home and among family members and, just as importantly, outside of the home.
One day, your kids will want to be dropped off at the corner rather than in front of the school (“Mom, you’re embarrassing me!”). Children grow up, move out, and then decide to begin a family of their own. When this happens, the life that remains is the one you built while your children were at home.
Invest in your marriage. Invest in your children. Invest in others. But, in all your investing, do not forget to invest in yourself. In the end, a healthy combination of marriage, family, friendships, along with investing in yourself, will yield life’s greatest dividends.
Image by Tim Miller. Used with permission. Sourced via Flickr.
Feeling the Love at Work
This article appears as part of a series at The High Calling, Feeling the Love at Work. By work, we mean, wherever it is you find yourself in your days. The carpool lane. The church. The board room. The fast food fryer. The museum curator. The blogger. The nurse, teacher, doctor, lawyer. The stay-at-home dad. Some of us are finding our way toward our dream job, and others are wondering if our work really matters at all. What is it like to work in a job you love and, how might your work impact your affections in the other areas of life? Maybe you know someone who's asking these very same questions. If so, consider sharing these stories with them, via email, Facebook, Twitter, or through your other social media and friendship networks.