The secret to a lasting marriage

By | September 24, 2014 | Love & Relationships

The secret to a lasting marriage | Article by Corey Allan, Ph.D. | Photo by Renate Flynn

Divorce is an all too common thing.

There is even a belief among some that if marriage becomes too much work or is too difficult or if you are not happy enough, get a divorce.

My opinion of this idea:  Why take the easy way out?

Marriage is work. Marriage is struggle. But then again, any close relationship is. And for that matter, so is anything of value in life.

There are times I have been asked,

What makes a marriage last?

What’s the secret to a lasting marriage?

The answer is actually simple (simple is not to be confused with easy). Before I divulge the answer, let’s tackle a few marriage myths.

Thanks to popular press and Hollywood, the work involved in marriage is poorly displayed. Many people seem to think that marriage will be a lifelong romantic escapade along the shore at sunset before returning home for the nightly passionate adventure enveloped in silk sheets with your lover. I know you’ve bought into this idea somewhat if you can easily complete this phrase: “And they all lived…”

The honeymoon is over, morning breath has set in, your partner sees you for who you are, you see your partner for who they are. You realize that marriage requires more of you.

The dream of marriage has been replaced with the reality of marriage. You and your spouse don’t see eye to eye on everything. You’ve slept on the couch at least once in your married life. There has been a roller coaster of feelings. Close. Distant. Passion. Boredom. Joy. Sadness.

When you get right down to it, marriage is not about happiness. Marriage is about two people growing up and becoming better humans.

Nowhere else are we faced with the task of growth more than in marriage.

So what’s the secret to making marriage last? Two people who choose to stay married. That’s it.

Marriage is choice – a choice of partner, self, growth, even passion and adventure.

While this may at first appear simplistic, it should be. When you view what’s going on in your marriage as a process for growth and experiencing more in life, it makes the choice simple.

Most of the time, we focus on our partner and our desire for him to change or do something different. This is focusing on something we can’t control. If we decide to grow, do something different, change the things we don’t like about ourselves, we take charge of our own life as well as our relationship.

How you view everything that happens to you in life and love will determine the outcome. When you have times of disagreement, could it really be a time to grow closer? Or a time to understand more about your spouse? When you feel your partner pulling away, maybe it’s an opportunity to engage your partner in a better way.

Photo source:   Color contrast by Renate Flynn

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Corey Allan Ph.D.

Corey is the editor of Simple Marriage as well as a licensed marriage & family therapist. While he has a Ph.D. in Family Therapy, he only occasionally likes to be called doctor. He’s also a husband, father, author and speaker. Listen to his radio show Sexy Marriage Radio for honest, open, straight-forward talk about sex and marriage.

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