Many of us must try hard at deciphering the art of marriage in order to excel at it. What human creative skills do we need to learn to achieve meaningful and satisfying relationships with our spouses?
Perhaps, we have all walked down the aisle, dreaming of a blissful future with our one true love. But tada! We woke up one day, realizing that what we've dreamed of could be a millstone around our necks.
Well, you must know by now that a beautiful marriage is never easy to achieve. There are bumps and rocky roads along the journey that can trap you and make you exhausted and tired.
And when you feel defeated at this tormenting corner, thoughts of finding an escape or choosing another path—another journey without your spouse—may certainly cross your mind.
But dear, have you forgotten that a good marriage that lasts doesn't just happen in a day?
A fulfilling marriage is formed by an art that weaves together love, commitment, fidelity, trust, esteem, and happiness. These essentials are what you need to master the art of marriage and champion this challenging course.
Love comes in many forms. In fact, the Greeks have discovered seven types of love that we will all experience at a certain point in our lives.
The first in the list is Eros, which is what we call sexual or passionate love. Next is philia or friendship, which is said to be the kind of love behind a shared goodwill.
Then there's storge, the love we feel for family, and agape, a universal kind of love that yields an unselfish concern for other people and their welfare. And in case you have not experienced it yet, there's ludus, the casual playful type of love a person feels when seducing or flirting with somebody.
Completing the list is pragma and philautia. Pragma is the practical type of love, which puts duty and interest at a higher priority than physical or sexual attraction. Philautia, on the other hand, is the love we feel for ourselves.
But of the seven types of love, eros is the most essential component that glues a man and a woman in marriage. The romantic and passionate loving and caressing need to be nurtured for a marriage to thrive. So how do we nourish it?
Although there are different ways of displaying one's eros, maybe the most prominent of them all is the continuous effort in giving each other time and attention, whatever it takes. Keeping intimacy burning is also key in nurturing this passionate kind of love in marriage.
Commitment in marriage is the commitment to love, no matter the odds. When you love, you must be committed to working it out even if it takes a whole lot of compromises.
Remember that you must never give up on the people you love. You need a deeper level of willingness to keep them in your life.
But in marriage, things won't always go the way you planned them. It's actually quite impossible for you to make everything go your way.
That is why you must be prepared with your armor and sword to battle the field of marriage disappointments. You don’t surrender your one true love to the arena of marital dissatisfaction and distress.
You need to be willing to iron out the wrinkles and oppose any obstructions in your journey. Divorce must never be an option if the goal is a successful marriage.
So, my friend, when you marry or if you’re married, you don’t promise your spouse a pain-free marriage. You should know that somewhere down the long road, you may hurt and disappoint each other.
But what you can promise is to never run away and find an escape to the mess you are in. What’s important is that you keep your willingness to stay and work things out together.
This is commitment. And you need a plenty of it to achieve a strong and thriving marriage.
In marriage, monogamy is always demanded. Fidelity or one's faithfulness and loyalty to his/her spouse is the norm.
But this expectation of exclusivity isn't always met. Unfortunately, infidelity can stretch to lengths unknown to some of us.
When we talk about fidelity in marriage, couples may think that refraining from sex with other partners is what it's all about. However, marital fidelity doesn't just mean exclusive coupling. It goes beyond sexual affairs.
Marital fidelity involves physical, emotional, and even mental devotion to your spouse. You may think that your sexual desires for somebody other than your partner are harmless if you don’t act upon them. But sexual thoughts and desires are actually deemed a form of infidelity.
Infidelity also happens when you engage in a deeper level of closeness with someone outside your marriage. To have this kind of connection with someone other than your spouse is a danger to your marriage. There must be nobody closer to you than your spouse.
It is called emotional infidelity, wherein you feel more comfortable sharing your thoughts with others than your marriage mate. It’s never okay to feel this way, as it taints the faithfulness and loyalty in your union.
You may realize that marital fidelity can be tough and a bit tricky. But it's definitely worth the efforts, as it is one of the cornerstones of marriage. Without it, marital stability can easily crumble, allowing thoughts of divorce to creep in. And you don’t want that, do you?
It takes two people who genuinely trust each other to build a good marriage that lasts. However, couples often forget that trust is too fragile; it may not return to its original form once it breaks. That is why when trust is damaged by any means, saving marriage becomes a pretty difficult duty.
Trust is a powerful emotion that enables a person to comfortably rely on his/her partner’s integrity. In the presence of trust, two people feel safe from betrayal.
When you trust your spouse, you believe the truthfulness of his/her words. To you, he/she is honest and reliable.
How sweet it is to give your trust to someone you love, right?
But, my friend, love doesn’t guarantee your trust’s safety. Just because your spouse loves you doesn’t mean he/she can never breach your trust.
When your spouse taints your trust, you feel betrayed and cheated. You feel that you were ripped off of your sense of safety in your marriage. Your trust becomes sodamaged that you can’t put the pieces together like before.
Going through this painful process can be very challenging for spouses. Thus, it is crucial for couples to give utmost value to trust in their marriage.
Keep in mind that love can’t grow where there is no trust. So don’t you dare spoil it with selfish decisions that you know would hurt your loving mate.
You need to learn to love yourself before you can truly love someone else. After all, you can’t give what you do not have.
A report by YourTango spoke about a study claiming that people with a higher level of self-esteem are more likely to obtain a fulfilling and happy marriage. These individuals who have demonstrated increased levels of knowledge, individuality, self-acceptance and identity are the same ones who are able to effectively function in a romantic relationship. This means that a person’s value to his/her self-worth greatly affects how he/she forms relationships.
Self-esteem in marriage is a foundation to real happiness. You can’t find genuine joy when you don’t feel worthy of, it in the same way that you cannot share true happiness when you haven’t even had a taste of it.
Considering this, self-esteem is important in marriage. If you feel you don’t have enough of it, find ways to build it. And when you think your spouse is lacking in it, help him/her develop it.
What is marriage without happiness?
There are people who believe that it is better to stay single than be stuck in an unhappy marriage. However, a recent study implies that everything can get better if you just wait for 20 long years.
Apparently, a couple’s level of happiness within the marriage changes overtime. It may range from very happy to happy to not happy and divorce. But take some more years after the not-happy stage and you’ll end up very happy once again.
The study, which was published in Social Networks and the Life Course, said that spouses in stable marriages experience this happiness pattern throughout marriage. So if you do love your partner, just give it more time and have faith. Happiness shall come your way.
But looking at married couples’ attitudes towards marital happiness, it seems that their joy is too important to keeping their relationship intact. Many are even willing to let go of their years of togetherness when the happiness-o-meter declines.
This is how valuable happiness is.
One cannot function fully if his/heart is burdened with sadness and disappointment. Hope diminishes and faith in marriage slowly deteriorates.
This is why happiness is important. It is a powerful motivator to build a fulfilling life with your spouse. A higher level of happiness yields more energy and enthusiasm in working through marital challenges.
Men and women think that marriage is a joyful journey packed with lots of adventures and excitement through the years. Well, that’s actually true. But only if you pack love, commitment, fidelity, trust, esteem, and happiness into it.
Your marriage is what you make it. It’s not a box of chocolates ready to sweeten your blood the moment you open it. There’s an art to it that you need to discover. And luckily, with correct doses of love, commitment, fidelity, trust, esteem, and happiness, you are a step closer to mastering the art of marriage.