Post 60s Marriage

It’s a little sad that the sixties still have a hold on us. In the sixties, we learned that the most important person in our lives was ourself and “if it feels good, do it.”

It seemed sensible to some people at the time. It seemed particularly sensible to college students who were discovering themselves. It seemed sensible to people who liked having a good time and didn’t want to take on responsibilities.

But it was bad. What it did was legitimize our becoming egocentric. It made it OK to say “me first.”

Which might work… when it comes to achieving in certain fields or when pushing oneself to excellence, but it doesn’t work in human relations and surely not when one is a husband or wife.

Because the secret of a good marriage is putting your spouse first—saying and doing things that will make him or her happy, listening even when you are bored or tired, doing things in the house even when you are falling off your feet, being kind and respectful, taking walks together even when you have no desire or energy and continuing to smile and be pleasant even when you wouldn’t have chosen the shared activity.

Not fair? Of course not. When I talk to couples about the tasks in marriage, I tell them that each of them has to give 100%. Marriage is not a 50/50 arrangement. It is simply too complex to be left to each one hoping the other will pick up the slack. Each member needs to do it all—to give and give and give and give and not to imagine ever receiving.

“What’s in it for me?” you ask. A spouse who feels important and loved will be a real partner,and together both of you working very hard can create a bond the provides warmth and support and love for the rest of your life.

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