What makes a good marriage?

03 Sep

I recently heard the father of a bride talking about marriage. He said that there are two things he and his wife recommend for a happy marriage.

The first is, ‘Keep talking things through. And listen. Because the listening is powerful in itself. Secondly, be kind to one another.’

I was particularly struck by, ‘Be kind to one another.’ I’ve heard a lot of people advising ‘forgiveness’ or ‘understanding’ as important ingredients in a marriage. But  I think kindness works better.

I’ve always felt uncomfortable with the notion of forgiveness being important in marriage. It assumes that you have the right to forgive. It also has a sense of squaring things up, or wiping the slate clean. Its transactional and cold. Kindness is larger and softer and more inviting.

‘Understanding’ seems plain ridiculous. Human beings do un-understandable things all the time. Especially in relationship. But kindness doesn’t require understanding. It requires allowing the other person to be un-understandable. Its larger and softer and more inviting.

What do you think are the key ingredients of a good marriage?


Posted by on 03/09/2011 in Love, Marriage


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

3 responses to “What makes a good marriage?

  1. Emily

    09/10/2011 at 10:26 pm

    Conversation- definitely, both talking and listening- and yes, kindness both for the other person and yourself. Compassion for each other’s humanity, because we can so frequently fall into the trap of expecting and desiring everything to be perfect when really the best relationship can lie in the humanity of two people loving the best and worst in each other.

  2. fiona

    17/01/2012 at 5:33 am

    Im about to get married and the question is something I have thought about a lot. I agree with all of the above, also, I find that expectation plays a huge role in a happy relationship. By this I mean that we shouldn’t expect our parners to be all things, to play all roles. By the very definition of human nature we all have our strengths and weeknesses. I dont expect my partner to nourish all parts of me. Instead I try to surround myself wth people who each seem to feed a part of me, be it security, excitement, humour, drama etc. So far that seems to work for me 🙂

    • Vena Ramphal

      17/01/2012 at 11:03 am

      Wonderful! Wishing you a fun-filled, fulfilling marriage.


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