What Makes a Marriage Work

A few years ago, I reached out to various married friends and asked if they’d reflect on their marriage as a gift to you, my readers.

I’ve known one of those couples, Anne and her husband, Rob, since they were first dating as undergrads at Loyola-Marymount U. At the time Anne’s answers were offered,  they had been married almost 30 years.

A little over a week ago Anne passed away after a two-year battle with cancer. She was a hero of mine. She and Rob brought that word “marriage” to joyous life. 

Since most of you reading this blog are in the throes of planning for your wedding – or now frantically postponing and re-planning your wedding – I thought I’d re-share Anne’s reflections to remind you what can happen after you’ve walked down the aisle – if you live a generous life!

1.  What do you know today about marriage that there was no way you could have known before you got married?

How FUN it is! It is just nice to know that there is someone out there who not only has your back but is actually fun to be with! We laugh a lot.

2.  What three words do you think of when you think of your wedding day?

FUN – FAMILY – LOVE

3.  Why haven’t you gotten divorced?

Really? Why would we ever get divorced? We love each other. Laugh hysterically with each other. Have fun together. Understand each other. We always joke that neither one of us would ever be able to have an affair because we would have to come home and tell each other all about it. Plus, who has the energy?

4.  What three things are you grateful for in your spouse?

So many more than 3 things but if it had to be 3:

  • His complete generosity of spirit. He ALWAYS puts me first (to the point where I have to tell him not to sometimes).
  • He is patient with me.
  • He shows me and tells me that his love for me is unending and grows deeper every day.

5.  One sentence advice you’d give to a couple planning to get married?

Be each other’s biggest fans. Never put your spouse down to someone else. Talk about problems in private. And forgive each other when things do go that way. The world is hard enough as it is. Don’t make it harder for each other.

6.  What has most surprised you about being married?

How fast it has gone!

7.  How has your partner helped you become who you are today?

This is a really hard one because he has shaped who I am more than anyone in my life. He has given me confidence in myself and given me my strongest identity as a wife and a mother.  Those two jobs are by far the most meaningful experiences of my life. He has supported me in everything I have ever wanted to do and encouraged me to do things I was too afraid to do.

8.  Are you happy you had the celebration you had – or do you wish you had eloped?

Very happy. Except that we didn’t have the celebrant we really wanted. When I see some really great ideas of weddings today I think that it’s cute but we really enjoyed having all of our friends and family together to help us celebrate. That was most important to us.

9.  What did you experience at your wedding that you hope other couples experience at theirs?

LOVE. All kinds of love. Our family and friends and the whole day was filled with love.

10.  In no more than 140 characters sum up your thoughts on marriage!

We have always told our children, “The most important decision you EVER make is who you marry.” They roll their eyes at us because they have heard it so many times. But I think it is the truest thing I know. Rob makes everything in my life better. Life has thrown some doozies at us. We have a special needs child who is now an adult. We have had that call from the police for our most mischievous child. We have dealt with illness and death. But there was never a single moment when I felt like we were not a team. Coming home to Rob is the best part of my day and I thank God every day that He brought him into my life.  (This is more than 140 characters!)

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