We recently celebrated 33 years of wedded bliss. It’s a joke in the family, usually said during a disagreement, “Yep, (#) years of wedded bliss.”
We really do have a good marriage. I know I’m blessed to have a wonderful husband who loves me enough to lay down his life for me, who would do anything I asked of him, and who is a loving father and grandfather.
Some of our friends have not experienced happy marriages. More and more are either divorcing or resigning themselves to the fact that this is as good as it gets.
After 33 years, I’ve noticed some common denominators in less-than-blissful marriages.
I’d like to share some of them, but with a huge caveat.
I’m not a psychologist, counselor, or anything. I’m just a wife with a great husband and friends who share their journey with me.
If you and your spouse have any of these indicators, it does not mean your marriage is in trouble. But if you feel it’s an issue, I urge you to talk to your spouse and get some professional guidance from a counselor or pastor.
1) Money. If a husband controls the purse strings and doles out an allowance for running the house, it’s a big red flag. A friend once told me, “My husband can’t give me enough money for groceries, so I’m starting a craft business to help him make ends meet.” This man wore expensive suits. I would have suggested he shop at Target instead of Nordstrom and put some food on the table.
2) Control. Money and control are closely related, but when I hear a woman say, “My husband said he doesn’t mind if I meet you for coffee next week,” another warning buzzer sounds. For big commitments, sure, we need to run them past our spouses. But if s/he wants to know what you’re doing every second of every day, and then give consent – that’s not a good thing.
3) Friends. If you don’t have any couple friends in common, I think that’s a biggie. A girlfriend whose husband recently left her mentioned a few months ago that they had lost touch with all their couple friends and there was no one in her husband’s life to keep him accountable and to point out that maybe he was spending too much time away from home.
Which segues into …
4) Common interests. If you spend your weekends and vacations doing your own thing apart and don’t spend any time together, it fosters a sense of ‘you’ and ‘me’ and diminishes the ‘us.’ The same husband in #3 above developed hobbies and interests outside of his marriage. Another husband I know works out of town 3 weeks of the month. Every weekend, he travels to a sporting event without his family. He sees his kids maybe one weekend a month. And he’s not single. Yet. I won’t be surprised when he leaves for good since he’s a member of that family in name only. He’s already checked out emotionally. It’s only a matter of time until he’s completely gone physically, too.
Okay, enough meddling for today! Back to our regularly scheduled rants.