Today is a good day for me to pause and think of life-long commitment to another person. For today, my parents celebrate 61 years of marriage. I think of my own marriage and I reflect on what makes a ‘good’ marriage.
I would like to ponder on what to me are the essentials of a long term relationship. Let me call them the 3A2CL formula. I’ve just outlined a few thoughts on each.
Affection – Gestures of affection are not necessarily just holding hands, hugs and kisses (which are vital) but also include doing thoughtful things for one another.
Acceptance – Know that you can’t change your partner. But you can change yourself to accept things about your partner that might irritate you. (Please note, that acceptance does not include allowing yourself to be abused verbally or physically).
Appreciation – Letting your partner know what you like about them, thanking them for what they do for you…..
Concern – Noticing if your partner is not doing to well physically or emotionally and being there for them. We can’t always make things better, but we can always be present.
Celebration – Finding joy in each other’s achievements and celebrating small victories.
Laughter – I think that’s a highly underrated ingredient in marriage. It’s important to be silly together and have lots of inside jokes. We do that with our friends, why can’t we do it with our partners?
I often hear people using a phrase which for some reason irks me: ‘working on their relationship’. I’m not sure exactly what that means. If it means that in some situations need to get professional help in their relationship, then I’m okay with that. But if it means some sort of scheduling of ‘quality time’ (that’s another phrase that irritates me!), then I begin to wonder?
It’s not always sunshine and roses of course – but I don’t think that a relationship should be ‘work’. Do you?
(And of course, happy anniversary Mum and Dad!)