How real is your marriage?
Specifically, perhaps your marriage looks good in public. People comment that yours is the perfect marriage. Does the same hold in private? Well, what makes a marriage real? There are many reasons that people marry. These range from the romantic to the practical to the parasitic. I am, however, making the assumption that you are in a marriage where emotional intimacy is a primary goal.
Emotional intimacy is present in different types of relationships, not just marriage. Healthy parents certainly strive to be emotionally intimate with their children. Good friends also strive for emotional intimacy. Even work colleagues rely on a certain connection with their peers to feel that they are in a safe environment.
So, what other variables might then be responsible for making a marriage real? How about physical intimacy? People can pay for that service, although the words 'intimacy' and 'stranger' seem oxymoronic. There are also friends with benefits, too.
How about the common goal of raising children? Not every married couple has children together. And, certainly, not everyone raising children is married.
So far, none of these factors account for what makes a marriage real. So, what does make a marriage real?
A real marriage is a relationship that ideally contains the following components:
- Sexual attraction and intimacy
- Emotional attachment and intimacy
- Mutual commitment to each other, physically, emotionally, spiritually
However, what sets a real marriage apart is that these components take place, not as incidentals to the relationship, but as the motivators of growth.
In order for a marriage to be real in the sense that people understand, it must remain an intimate dynamic where the growth of both partners is tied to the health of the unit. Growth occurs as partners learn to give more and to care more about their partner and to focus less on themselves. For a marriage to be healthy, both people need to be active participants.
Other marriages don't fair as well. Beloved spouses stop being lovers and remain only roommates. If this happens, it is because disappointments over the years have reinforced a pattern of turning away from one other. Partners seek each other out when they believe that the experience will be safe and positive. As a couple nurture and respect each other, loving feelings are generated. As the male and female energies interact within a context of caring, passionate desire is kindled.
So, how real is your marriage? That depends on you and your priorities. If you are happy together, then you are blessed. If you need some work, it is certainly possible to reset your marriage and rekindle intimacy through commitment and action. Think about the benefits that you can enjoy. Then think about how happy your spouse could be. Eventually, you may come to think of your spouse first. When both of you come to place the other first, you'll literally have the makings of a marriage made in heaven.
So are you ready to more fully accept the vital role you play in meeting your partner's needs? Are you willing to take more responsibility for your actions? Do you want to become more of a giver?
If you answer 'yes' to these questions, then you are positioned to vastly improve your marriage and make it both real and passionate.