I was having a conversation with someone, and we harkened on an interesting line of thought: Is a marriage a good marriage if only one person is happy in the union, and the other just keeps on keeping on?

Which then led to:

What defines a good marriage?

  1. 2 people blissfully happy
  2. 2 people content with the way things are
  3. 1 happy and 1 content
  4. 1 happy and 1 willing to tow the line because while they might not be happy, they might not be unhappy
  5. 2 people who know that sometimes they are happy, sometimes they aren’t and realize that a relationship is a cycle and emotions and feelings are going to keep churning around

These are some ideas I have come up with, but what do you think? How does how two people feel affect a relationship?

Discuss:

75 thoughts on “Does It Take Two?

  1. What’s a good marriage? I’m not sure. Perhaps I’m not the right person to ask. I think a good marriage is one where two people have mutual love and respect for one another. I also think that a good marriage isn’t necessarily synonymous with a long marriage. I’ve seen long marriages that aren’t necessarily happy marriages. And I’ve seen marriages that were good for a certain amount of time. So I think each person has his or her own definition of what a good marriage is.

    My parents had a great marriage. They were totally devoted to one another. They were a real team. I was married twice. I’m not sure either of my marriages measured up to what my parents had. But…Each of my marriages were good for a while. My first was lovely for five years. We were young, and married in 1969. Not many of my friends who chose matrimony during the politically radical 60’s lasted more than a few years. My second marriage was good for more than a few decades before he died. So I’ve come to the conclusion that sometimes partnerships don’t last forever, but they are still good for an undetermined amount of time.

    As long as two people have mutual respect, show kindness and caring to one another, and are dependable, then I’d say they have had a good marriage. Marriages do go through phases. As people evolve and age they often change. If they can figure out how to do that together then I’d say they have a good marriage. My two marriages were good while they lasted. I can’t complain about either. And I had an amazing son from each husband. So I figure I had two good marriages while they lasted.

    I will never forget sitting in a hospital waiting room in the ER several years ago and watching an elderly couple. The wife was very Sick and the husband was extremely impatient with his wife who was obviously in pain and softly crying. He was almost abusively mean telling her to stop whining. She was moaning in pain and the old curmudgeon was bordering on cruel to her. I wanted to smack him. His behavior made me angry. And I wondered how or why the woman put up with such a jerk. Of course I didn’t know the circumstances of their relationship, but I sure would have kicked him to the curb. Maybe they thought they had a good marriage. Who knows. Everyone is different. I have fond memories from each marriage. And my first husband and I are still friends to this day. I have no idea what would have happened if my second husband hadn’t died at age 55. I assume we’d still be together. My oldest son seems happy in his marriage, my youngest son is 33 and still single. I hope he finds his soulmate some day. I don’t know if any relationship is perfect. But, I’m curious to read other comments here.

    Liked by 6 people

      1. Is being similar the same as having the same goals? There could be two calm, even-tempered, similar people, one with the goal of travel to every country, the other one with the goal of advancing their career. If they got married, what would happen over time?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I know people with the exact same goals who got divorced, and people that have blissful long distance relationships. I think it comes down to respecting each other as individuals

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  2. I’ll play these cards. I know her “tells” and she knows mine. Which allow us both to continually and comfortably up the ante of commitment, aware we’re now playing with house money. All that yes, yet, understanding and for certain… any union is never a sure thing.

    I could also give you a cross ruffing bridge metaphor but I’ll just nod at your number 5.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. #5 all the way. The best thing is when you are both in the same place in that emotional cycle – but even if not, you know that this too will pass and the good times are more than sufficient to overcome the bad. Hubby and I are celebrating 35 years at the end of this year.

    Liked by 5 people

      1. Thanks! Well, during the most difficult times, it helps to have very little money so you can’t afford to separate. Lol

        But as a whole, honesty is huge. And realizing that the other person won’t always make the same choices as you do. And that it’s okay, even if you don’t always like it, as long as it isn’t harming anyone else. No parenting or policing each other, it makes for an awkward dynamic.

        I’ve learned many other things, too, but I guess just being open to learning and changing as necessary is the biggest one. 😊

        Liked by 5 people

  4. What defines a good marriage? That’s a tough question. I think, like anything, it’s a struggle. It requires constant attention/nurturing. Being blissfully happy all the time is a fantasy. Simply doesn’t happen – not for any individual or in a relationship. Those who don’t challenge one another – who aren’t honest with one another – won’t be able to grow. It’s actually friction (to a certain extent) that makes for a good/happy marriage I believe. It’s something of a paradox. A relationship completely devoid of conflict is ultimately doomed. Interesting question LA

    Liked by 4 people

    1. It’s funny you talk about friction being necessary, because I scheduled a post for that in the coming months.if we aren’t honest with partners aboit how we feel, or how what they do makes us feel, we will implode

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Absolutely – I actually think resentment builds if we don’t have those difficult conversations and it ends up coming out in unhealthy – passive-aggressive – ways. Better to be open and honest from the start. Slay the dragon while it’s a baby as they say. It’ll only get bigger if you don’t.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Number 5 is the most realistic option, but 1-3 are all possible – if only for periods of time. But number 4 and toeing the line – does not a happy marriage make. My parents had a long marriage reaching their 60th anniversary, but I wouldn’t describe it as a happy marriage, nor would it fit the description in number 5. They came from a generation which stuck at it; my father was man who took responsibility seriously and my mother was a catholic who preferred being unhappy to being alone. In truth, they were poorly suited, although were happy enough in the earlier years.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. What makes a good marriage is different for different people. It definitely needs commitment from both. We are celebrating 37 years this week, the reason for our trip. Our relationship and marriage has changed from being young, madly in love, to both having careers to having kids and now an empty nest. Through all the years, the marriage has changed, but we’re both equally committed.

    Liked by 5 people

  7. Weighing in as two people who suffer from mental illness (one worse than the other) every day is a new challenge, sometimes harder than usual. But I think we manage to cancel each other out in regards to levels of support. I believe we are both content and our contentment has given us a near decade of marriage. I’ll never forget a former friend who asked if I knew what I was getting into because the challenge would be harder than normal in regards to marriage and I said we are pretty compatible and the love felt very strong to go forth.. best decision I ever made despite the more than normal challenges.. My wife and I take the vow in sickness and health very seriously.

    Liked by 5 people

  8. Number five explains it well but I kind of think that a good marriage goes through all of those things at various times. #1 is the beginning, #2 is after 30 or 40 years of marriage and #3 and #4 are the years between 10 and 30 where a lot of the “life changing things (kids, house, job changes, etc) happen. At least that’s what it feels like to me after 38 years together.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. I thought the book: “Sacred Marriage: What if God designed marriage to make us more holy than to make us more happy” was a fun read. Some days he is a Saint and other days I think I qualify, lol! Sacred Marriage: What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy? https://a.co/d/9yDhkdI

        Liked by 2 people

  9. It is also willing to accept your family-in-law, I have discovered through the years. Some have easy family structures and some have very complex but you must be open and sometimes this is done carefully but as long as you can speak with one another about it, the relationship works!

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Great questions , as usual. 🙂
    Respect and communication I feel are so important to make a marriage work! There will definitely be days where your spouse is happier than you are or vice versa. And some days where one or the other may be towing the line, BUT just short term. I think your number 5 pretty much nailed it.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Who was the guy who married a doll? Also, there was a woman who married herself, wasn’t there? Yeah…sometimes life gets a little weird. To answer your question, it’s different for different people. It’s different for different cultures even. That’s why, in the right circumstances, knowing yourself and then finding about whether your soon-to-be spouse’s values are in sync with yours is important before you tie the knot. With that said, life can be long and people change and grow…or stagnate…or you find out your spouse isn’t who s/he presented themselves to be. The common vows in the US: In sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, to have and to hold, for better or for worse…where does it say you have to be happy or content? That’s the hope, but the commitment is supposed to be something else, isn’t it? Maybe this covers the fact that life is difficult and isn’t always happy or content, but you’re in this together…so try and make the best of it if you can. Wow. Do I sound jaded or what? LOL. Mona

    Liked by 3 people

    1. H that’s a great point…a marriage is a commitment, but that means the good and the bad,and you’ll be there when needed…I’m going to overthink this

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I believe #5 to be the expected outlook on a marriage. Unfortunately, some people can’t handle the idea of ever being unhappy and may quickly decide this isn’t how marriage should be–not bothering to stick around for the “get better” part.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Well, you know my history, and having now been divorced/separated for two years, number 5 makes the most sense to me, with the following caveat. The two partners need to both be willing to speak their truths, and be real with each other about their feelings, the happy ones, and the sad ones.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Marriage or relationship for me is the addition of two imperfections to make perfection.
    Of course, one tree doesn’t make a forest, so Marriage is the point of bringing out the good in people.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. This is a great post!
    I think for my husband and I there were bits of 1—but mostly cycled between 2 and 5.
    Marriage coexists with life’s other challenges. I lost my dad fairly early in our marriage. He lost both of his parents later on. I lost my dad when I was in my 30’s–it was a really challenging time personally and I am sure a bit of that seeped into our marriage.

    Liked by 2 people

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