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What makes a good marriage?

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?

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

 

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