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?