And Now, Deep Thoughts...
"...Go together like a horse and carriage..."
For some, hearing this Frank Sinatra tune evokes thoughts of wedded bliss or the joys of raising a family. For others, it is simply the theme song of the TV show, Married with Children, which chronicles the story of Al Bundy's nightmare of a life. I think that television and movies have negatively impacted our perception of what married life is. It is far more entertaining to observe the shortcomings of dysfunctional characters like the Bundys or the Bunkers than the Cleavers, for example. I cannot think of a better example than Leave It To Beaver, which reiterates my point.
I remember being engaged and thinking to myself, "Marriage doesn't work for some people, but it's going to work for us!" What was I basing this on? I had a belief that marriage was going to be an uphill battle or an unnatural state of companionship. I also thought that it could somehow change our civility toward each other over time. I was so relieved to find out that my inclinations were entirely wrong. When two people are right for each other and they want to be together for the rest of their lives, marriage can be both natural and enjoyable.
There are plenty of books that have been written about how to maintain a healthy relationship and I do not claim to be an expert in the field of love. I'm just a married guy with a daughter and I have a formula that has been working for me for over a decade.
Marriage is a partnership.
My wife and I had a conversation about how we intended to work together, not just during the highs, but specifically during the lows of our marriage. You cannot always just give each other space. We knew that if we had children, we would need to know how to work together. We look at it as if we are running a business, but the business is our lives. It is one life and we are the co-owners of it. It's great when co-workers get along with each other and enjoy each other’s company, but on a bad day, they still need to be able to work together in the same building. The key to that is respect. If you respect one another, you can work together even when you don't see eye to eye.
Most relationships start with a big rush of infatuation and that initial love is like a roaring bonfire. Naturally, after the kindling burns up, the logs provide a smaller flame but over a long period of time. But if you don't want the fire to go out, you have to keep an eye on it. You have to throw more logs in the fire every so often. But if you ever get scared that the flames aren’t roaring big enough, just add more kindling. The important thing to remember is that kindling is the little things. If the flames are low and all you have are some glowing coals, it's the small things that can quickly bring the flames back.
Don't take my word for it, ask Grandma.