Divorce rates are currently at the highest that they have ever been and whilst nobody goes into a marriage with the idea that they are going to get divorced, more and more couples are going through this awful fate. It is precisely for this reason why we need to look and learn from the people who have made their marriages work for a long period of time. The best friend of my Uncle Frank, Eric Wetlaufer is the only person that I know here in Wesson who has been married for as long as he and his wife have, over 40 years in fact, and I think that I understand what they have done so well to ensure a long lasting marriage.
There is something about the notion of all out honesty that does court some controversy in the modern world but this is something that has worked very successfully for many people. In the cases where relationships have broken down much of it comes down to someone not being exactly honest with the other.
We are often told by many that we should be in constant communication with our partners but when I have spoken to Eric over the years, it is clear that this is not something that he and his wife do. The answer therefore is to have communication between both you and your partner but ensure that it is meaningful communication. When people send a message or an email multiple times per day asking what they had for dinner or the like, this is not meaningful communication. Eric and his wife catch up over dinner every night to discuss their day, now that is meaningful conversation.
It should of course go without saying but fidelity is something which should always be respected. A recent study showed that 90% of those who had been unfaithful to their partners were not happy in their relationship before the event occurred, a telling sign that with honesty, we can make better decisions to improve relationships rather than taking reckless decisions that hurt people. Any advances should always be declined and if you ever go out looking then you need to address the concerns around your relationship first.
The one thing that I learn most when I watch Eric and his wife is that they are very much a team that always keeps a united front, at least in public anyway. I think that this is crucial to a relationship, that idea that you are in this together, making your way through life hand in hand and trying to help each other over the obstacles and through the rough patches. The old saying that there is no ‘I’ in team may be overused but in the case of a relationship it is absolutely true.
What do you think the keys to a happy marriage are?