July 23, 2007
THE KEY TO MARRIAGE
Last night I asked my husband what the "key to marriage" was. He guessed people's first two responses
but didn't guess that dishwashing was so important. We tried to put into words what we'd answer if someone asked us this question. The most concise wording I could come up with was "Treating your spouse better than you yourself would like to be treated." My husband summarized that as Respect, which is a pretty good answer.
We talked about the #1 answer too and why "fidelity" ranks so high. My husband joked that looking for Fidelity in a mate is like looking for Not Being a Child Molester in a babysitter: it should just be a given. Fidelity isn't the key to a good marriage; if you have a good marriage, you don't even have to think about fidelity. Never once in the entire seven years have I ever thought about my husband cheating on me.
This tied in nicely with this week's Army Wives, where the episode was cheating cheating cheating. One spouse did and one spouse resisted. Last week a SpouseBUZZ commenter said that in her circle of military couples, 9 out of 10 of them have had infidelity issues. I say she needs to find some new friends! My husband and I struggled to come up with instances of cheating we heard of at all during his deployment, from anyone we could think of on post. We barely came up with five, and one of them was from a gross "swinger" couple, so that hardly even counts. I know it happens, but 9 out of 10? Ouch.
So what would you say is really the "key to marriage"? And would fidelity poll that high for you?
Posted by: Sarah at
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#1 for us (26 years and counting): Putting the wants and needs of the other before your own. It's key, but if it's not mutual then you're setting yourself up to be a doormat.
#9: Understanding that sometimes during an argument things get said to hurt, not because they're true. Once understood, try not to do it.
#10: Never go to bed mad at each other.
As for fidelity, it's not high on *my* list, but my wife and I have an agreement: I'll try my best to remain faithful, and if I'm not she'll try her best to castrate me with a rusty butter knife.
Like I said, 26 years so far, and I'm not singing soprano!
Posted by: Ted at July 23, 2007 06:31 AM (blNMI)
You know, I was thinking the exact same thing when I read your last post about marriage, and saw that "fidelity" even made the lists of "things that will probably make your marriage better". Um, DUH.
I wonder if those surveys were multiple choice, or open-ended so people could give the answers they really believed. If they were multiple choice, there's no wonder people picked what they did and that the stats were so high for certain ones (especially the dishes -- I'd rather my husband cleaned the catbox!).
I wouldn't hinge my marriage on any of the survey answers in that one article. Fidelity is a given -- I made a vow, after all. Honestly, I'd have to echo Ted's sentiments above, but I'd probably add one thing: Divorce is NEVER an option. It is not joked about, it is never brought up. We do not view that as a viable option to our differences -- ever. Period.
I wish more people could take their marriages as seriously. It's good to see that there are others who do!
(Hm, your URL option in the comment center doesn't care for my LiveJournal URL. I'll have to leave it blank for now.)
Posted by: deltasierra at July 23, 2007 07:07 AM (l0MIM)
I'm not married, so my opinions come with a "FWIW" tag. I agree with Sarah that if the marriage is good, fidelity is an afterthought. But I think the reason people put fidelity as key is because if hard times in the marriage lead to infidelity it's probably way more likely to crumble. Therefore "fidelity when you might not feel like it" is probably closer to what's on people's minds when they list fidelity as key.
As for Ted's #9, it's been my experience in fights of all kinds that the most hurtful things possible, the ones that *are* said deliberately to wound, are also usually true. "Truth hurts" goes double in a relationship as tight as a marriage, I think. So I'd amend Ted's #9 to say that if you must speak a harsh truth for the sake of improving the relationship, speak it as kindly as you can and in a situation such that the other person clearly understands your motive is not merely to wound but to ask for something you may well need to be more content in the relationship.
Posted by: Anwyn at July 23, 2007 07:47 AM (aytNf)
While fidelity is important, it is not an issue in our marriage. I suppose it has just been a given for us both that we didn't have to worry about that issue. From the time we met we agreed that we would never get into a situation we shouldn't be in if we always remembered one thing: If I would not do or say this in front of my spouse, then it is the wrong choice to make.
In our house communication is top priority. When it goes, everything else goes to hell, it is a horrible cycle to get into. So, we make sure that we share our feelings with each other, about everything.
We are also selective about the couples we befriend. It may sound horrible to be so selective, but we can't deal with drama or fidelity issues and so we stay away from couples that seem to always have such things going on. Those are just not things that we need in our lives and such drama only brings negative things for all exposed to it. If it is a negative situation that we don't have to be involved in, we steer clear as best we can!!
Posted by: LMT at July 23, 2007 10:14 AM (ASoq0)
1)Verbal kindness. Avoid saying deliberately hurtful things. Doesn't mean you can't get mad, but keep it within bounds.
When a person raised in a family where people speak decently to each other marries a person from a family where verbal aggression is a matter of course, then he/she probably isn't going to be able to defend himself very well, and the resultant hurt will come out in other ways.
2)Avoiding public putdowns. It's pretty common to see people speak to their spouses with barely concealed contempt. These days, women seem to do this more than men.
3)Respect for each other's dreams. This includes not grabbing all the money to spend on oneself, and also not assuming that your spouse's career decisions should be made entirely based on one's financial demands.
Posted by: anon anon at July 24, 2007 08:03 AM (SpkYG)
I didn't bother to dig into the survey, but I'd say that the only people who would be qualified to answer that question are people who have been married over 20 years and still consider themselves to be happy.
But it's always funny when they try to quantify something like marriage because everyone is different. What my husband and I can tolerate in each other is far different than what other couples can tolerate. If dishes are an issue... my husband and I would've been divorced 28 years ago. Dishes are a chore. If you are worried about who does what chores in the house - you have far more problems than who does them as it's generally a mask for larger problems.
As for fidelity - I'm with you and your husband - that should be such a standard it isn't even a consideration.
Posted by: Teresa at July 24, 2007 11:04 AM (gsbs5)
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July 20, 2007
I really go back and forth on what I think "education" should be. Sometimes I think it should lean more towards teaching people a trade. Other times, like when I read The Closing of the American Mind
, I think it should lean more towards teaching people to think. Unfortunately I think it leans towards neither right now: we seem to produce grads who can neither balance a checkbook nor recognize a syllogism. I don't know what the answer is.
But I sure know it's not this:
British secondary schools will drop Winston Churchill from a list of figures to be mentioned in history teaching. Also dropped: Hitler, Gandhi, Stalin and Martin Luther King. The schools will now be emphasizing "lessons on debt management, the environment and healthy eating."
The article's accompanying graph is chock full of frightening tidbits like "Less on electricity and magnetism, more on IVF, stem cells, vivisection and nuclear energy." Look, I hated figuring out resistance of circuits as much as the next person, but you have to work on hard things in school. It's not all debates on stem cell research. That's what your blog is for.
The more I think about this, the stupider I think it is. It's like they're replacing tried-and-true schooling with whatever's in vogue. Science knows a heck of a lot more how electricity and magnetism work than how stem cells do. How are they going to pin down what to teach about stem cells when we're not positive how they work? The same goes for teaching how to make "healthy meals"; aren't we always hearing new studies that something that was once good/bad for us is now the opposite? Butter, margarine, eggs, chocolate, wine, how many times have we scratched our heads over new evidence on what we should eat?
Why are they abandoning the basics of education for stuff that's so subjective?
Posted by: Sarah at
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Man, I live for these blog posts from you. It's like the Church of Sarah. And I am sitting in the pews saying: Amen!
Posted by: CaliValleyGirl at July 20, 2007 06:01 AM (deur4)
You make excellent points. The problem is not, however (and I'm speaking as a former teacher and homeschooling mom now) that there is not enough time to teach everything - it's that schools too often go over and over the same things every single year. And they don't cover it very well no matter when they do it.
I faced that problem when I was in the classroom - and I've always used a reading heavy curriculum for history, English, and Science. My homework for the students was to read good historical fiction that went along with whatever we were studying. That brought it alive for them and they retained it.
I managed to cover William Wilberforce AND Winston Churchill very nicely, thank you very much. And I continue that with my kids at home.
Further, it used to be the domain of school to teach kids the facts and for parents to add in the cultural activities that round us all out and make us intelligent individuals capable of rational thought. The tables have been turned now, though. Schools are supposed to hold Chinese New Year celebrations, Cinco de Mayo parties, and Kwanzaa. All that takes away from actual LEARNING.
I take my kids to those things on my own, thank you very much. I don't need the school to catch my back with it. Nor does anyone else. Schools should not be in the business of parenting... except in totalitarian societies.
//sorry for the rant
Posted by: airforcewife at July 20, 2007 06:10 AM (emgKQ)
Holy crap. I am definitely home-schooling my kids when (if) they come along. That's beyond ridiculous, that's freakin scary.
I fixed my boo-boo... you're now linked on my blog. 'Cause I read you so often. And my computer is now dead, along with all the bookmarks I had, which made it easy for me to not link people.
Posted by: Green at July 20, 2007 08:31 PM (VqW06)
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July 15, 2007
One thing I've noticed since I've started trying to have a baby is how absolutely unfair
the process seems at times. There are couples out there who have tried for years to have babies and would give anything for a child. And then there's these monsters
A couple authorities say were so obsessed with the Internet and video games that they left their babies starving and suffering other health problems have pleaded guilty to child neglect.
Viloria said the Reno couple were too distracted by online video games, mainly the fantasy role-playing Â“Dungeons & DragonsÂ” series, to give their children proper care.
Â“They had food; they just chose not to give it to their kids because they were too busy playing video games,Â” Viloria told the Reno Gazette-Journal.
Police said hospital staff had to shave the head of the girl because her hair was matted with cat urine. The 10-pound girl also had a mouth infection, dry skin and severe dehydration.
Her brother had to be treated for starvation and a genital infection. His lack of muscle development caused him difficulty in walking, investigators said.
I'm so mad I can't even think of anything else to say.
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The whole process does seem totally unfair. I cannot begin to imagine how upsetting this is for you. But I hope you are able to let some of that anger go. Best wishes with baby making process.
Posted by: Butterfly Wife at July 15, 2007 07:22 AM (gI6/R)
I know what you mean. And it's not just baby MAKING that's unfair. It's baby-keeping, too. Whenever I read about parents like these - or those stupid teenage girls who give birth at the prom and then throw their kid away, all I can think is, "I would have taken your baby! There are people all over who would have taken that baby! How is giving that child up worse than the treatment the parents give it themselves?"
Posted by: airforcewife at July 15, 2007 08:56 AM (0dU3f)
Lock 'em up, throw away the key, never let them near a computer again, and give their babies to somebody who will treasure them for the rest of their lives.
Posted by: Anwyn at July 15, 2007 09:48 AM (dzxw9)
Can I tell you, this is why I could not work in pediatrics...
I could not take the stuff I saw...
God Blass those who work in childcare and child advocacy full time
Posted by: armywifetoddlermom at July 15, 2007 12:35 PM (PjrBf)
I hear ya loud and clear. After miscarriages, a long deployment, and several months of trying -- and hearing about all these other unplanned pregnancies of people we know -- we've finally succeeded in conceiving our first child. My fear is that, for some reason, we won't get to keep it.
I've been feeling the same as you over these kinds of stories, and stories of hundreds of teenagers and single women becoming mothers after a one-night-stand. HOW? Why is it so hard for a stable, responsible family to conceive (and carry to term) a child that they will love, cherish, and bring up to be a contributing member of society? I don't get it!
Hugs in your direction! And God bless your efforts! You will make excellent parents. I don't know you at all in person, but I can just tell.
Posted by: deltasierra at July 16, 2007 12:17 PM (l0MIM)
Sarah, I think of this every time I hear a story about Britney Spears. This to me is the epitome of useless. I was just thinking of you this morning. I would like to think that the relationship that we have is not beyond repair, because I hope that you would feel that you could have a sympathetic ear should you ever want to reach out to me. It's been two years now, so I can relate to your frustration.
Posted by: Kate at July 17, 2007 07:21 AM (tB/4l)
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