Too often, people assume that those who have the most successful marriages live in some kind of la-la land – a perfect world – a place where everything is fair, just, and beautiful – a Nirvana land! Here’s the truth – nothing could be further from the truth
We have constantly and relentlessly pursued this question in our interviews in 47 countries on all seven continents of the world – “Do the great marriages live a perfect life?” And the answer is – absolutely NO!
From the thousands of successfully married couples we have interviewed there is a “most important lesson” – even couples with the happiest marriages have experienced severe challenges to their relationship. These couples have reported to us unimaginable challenges to their marriage. Couples have shared with us stories about the death of children, financial burdens that nearly destroyed their relationship, the horrors of losing a job, the burdens of serious health issues, the pressures of child rearing problems and the destruction caused by a transfer to another city for a work assignment that neither of them wanted, to name only a few.
These are couples that have been happily and blissfully married for a long time. These are the couples that know the secrets of a great marriage and a great relationship. The best marriages, the best relationships we have ever witnessed or interviewed – have all reported to us a litany of the great challenges to their marriage throughout their years together.
Ah, but the truth is this – the best marriages report that the challenges to their marriage ACTUALLY strengthened their marriage and their relationship.
The essence of their story is this – “These challenges to our relationship actually made our relationship better!”
So what is the message here? Like all of the most important messages about love and relationships we have learned, the important message is a simple one – challenges make you stronger. And in the end, challenges – properly dealt with together as a team – will make your relationship stronger.
People who have gone through the wars of life together will always choose their mate in battle. People who truly love each other will always say this to us – we are a team and we will always support each in our times of need.
The Good, the bad, and the ugly – dealing with challenges together is the heart of the best relationships.
Never, never assume that the best marriages live in some “Cinderella land.” The best marriages have survived heart-wrenching challenges. Never minimize what the best marriages and relationships have gone through.
The challenges they have experienced have made their relationship stronger. Never underestimate the power of challenge to the establishment of a great relationship.
Creating a successful marriage is not always the easiest thing to do. Your visiting our Simple Things Matter blog suggests you are highly interested in making your marriage work! And truthfully, we have learned over 30 years of marriage research that there are proven effective ways to ensure a happy and healthy marriage. In fact, we took hundreds of tips from the thousands of happy couples we interviewed and put their marriage advice into our award-winning and bestselling book, Building a Love that Lasts.
**Today, you can see how you stack up to the best marriages around the world. Take the Marriage Quiz to assess your chances of achieving a successful marriage of your own.
By Drs. Charles and Elizabeth Schmitz
America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts