What Constitutes a Successful Marriage?

A long but unhappy marriage is not a successful marriage.” -Dr. Anne Brown

So many people believe that a successful marriage is the one that lasts forever…
…the one that lives up to the vow, “‘till death do us part.”

So we often hold ourselves to that distinction in order to feel like we have a successful marriage. And when a marriage ends, we will often beat ourselves up, feeling like we failed.

But longevity is not the only marker for a successful marriage.

Of course, longevity can be one of the attributes, but what about:

  • The joyful memories created together?
  • The lessons we learned by doing our best to love one another?
  • What about helping one another grow-up from when we were so young and naive?
  • What about being there for one another when a loved one became sick or was lost?
  • What about the human beings the union brought into this world?

Those things matter. And longevity isn’t the only way to measure success.

What’s the Goal?

The goal is marriage isn’t to see if you can endure one another for many decades until one of you taps out.

The goal of marriage is to share your life and heart with someone.

To carve out moments of happiness that can be shared, as well as to share the struggles in life with another person.

I also believe that marriage is our greatest teacher, forcing us to face ourselves and grow into the person we are here to become.

The goal of marriage isn’t to make us happy and our spouses certainly aren’t here to make us happy…That’s our work to do.

But if we’re happy in our lives, but unhappy in our marriages, it’s time to take a close look at the thoughts and beliefs that are keeping us locked into the idea that longevity is the path to a successful marriage. It means we should go looking for other ways the marriage has been successful – regardless of whether it ends after several years or lasts forever.

This week I have opened my Divorce Differently membership program, but only for three days. If you need support in moving through a possible separation or divorce, check it out.