I didn’t marry you because you were perfect. I didn’t even marry you because I loved you. I married you because you gave me a promise. That promise made up for your faults. And the promise I gave you made up for mine. Two imperfect people got married and it was the promise that made the marriage. And when the children were growing up, it wasn’t a house that protected them; and it wasn’t our love that protected them – it was that promise.
Thornton Wilder, The Skin of Our Teeth
One of the nicest things you can say to your partner, “If I had it to do over again, I’d choose you. Again.”
The secret to having a good marriage is to understand that marriage must be total, it must be permanent, and it must be equal.
I got gaps; you got gaps; we fill each other’s gaps.
What counts in making a happy marriage is not so much how compatible you are, but how you deal with incompatibility.
When asked his secret of love, being married fifty-four years to the same person, he said, “Ruth and I are happily incompatible.”
One advantage of marriage, it seems to me, is that when you fall out of love with each other, it keeps you together until maybe you fall in love again.
I now think of marriage like I think about living in my home state of Minnesota. You move into marriage in the springtime of hope, but eventually arrive at the Minnesota winter, with its cold and darkness. Many of us are tempted to give up and move south at this point, not realizing that maybe we have hit a rough spot in a marriage that’s actually above average. The problem with giving up, of course, is that our next marriage will enter its own winter at some point. So do we just keep moving on, or do we make our stand now – with this person, in this season? That’s the moral, existential question we face when our marriage is in trouble.
Money often costs too much.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Grow old along with me. The best is yet to be – the last of life for which the first was made.
“Remember, you married her, you didn’t hire her!” – said to a critical, controlling husband.
Marriage is our last, best chance to grow up.
Bad marriages don’t cause infidelity; infidelity causes bad marriages.
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse predict an ailing marriage: Criticism, Defensiveness, Stonewalling and Contempt. The worst of these is Contempt.
John Gottman, Ph.D., on obseravations at his U. of Washington “Love Lab”
When it comes to marriage, the more you focus on the bad stuff, the more you focus on the bad stuff.
It is sometimes essential for a husband and a wife to quarrel – they get to know each other better.
In the consumer culture of marriage, commitments last as long as the other person is meeting our needs. We still believe in commitment, because we know that committed relationships are good for us, but powerful voices coming from inside and outside us tell us that we are suckers if we settle for less than we think we need and deserve in our marriage. Most baby boomers and their offspring carry in our heads the internalized voice of the consumer culture – to encourage us to stop working so hard or to get out of a marriage that is not meeting our current emotional needs.
The success of marriage comes not in finding the “right” person, but in the ability of both partners to adjust to the real person they inevitably realize they married.
Marriage isn’t supposed to make you happy – it’s supposed to make you married.
A good marriage is the union of two good forgivers.
Ruth Bell Graham
If you didn’t want to be improved, you shouldn’t have gotten married.
Nancy (Mrs. Scott) Stanley
Do NOT do unto others as you would that they should do unto you. Their tastes may not be the same as yours.
George Bernard Shaw
Real giving is when we give to our spouses what’s important to them, whether we understand it, like it, agree with it, or not.
Divorce is like an amputation. Sometimes it’s necessary but it should be avoided if at all possible because it brings about a permanent disability.
Then there was the guy who loved his wife so much, he almost told her.
When there are kids involved, there’s no such thing as divorce.
When people tell me they’ve learned from experience, I tell them the trick is to learn from other people’s experience.
Stephen Covey was asked after a speech about how to forgive someone who has committed adultery. He said the question made him think of the old prayer, “Oh Lord, let me forgive those who sin differently than I do.”
Stephen Covey, author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?
Be presidents of each other’s fan clubs.
A good marriage is a contest of generosity.
In every marriage more than a week old, there are grounds for divorce. The trick is to find, and continue to find, the grounds for marriage.
People change and forget to tell each other.
Saying divorce is normal is like saying polio is normal, so let’s just focus all our resources on building a better iron lung – instead of spending time, money, and energy to develop a vaccine.
Diane Sollee – USA Today, July 29, 2002
Being in a long marriage is a little bit like that nice cup of coffee every morning – I might have it every day, but I still enjoy it.
Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
I Corinthians 13:7
Our research estimates that 55 – 60 % of marriages that end in divorce fall into the category of “good enough marriages”. These marriages appear to be functioning well only a year or so prior to the divorce. From a child’s perspective, these divorces are unexpected, inexplicable, and unwelcome and are thus most likely to harm children. These marriages are significantly more likely to divorce because of infidelity, citing explanations of “drifting apart” or “communication problems”. They are unlikely to mention abuse because these were not highly conflicted marriages.
Paul Amato, Smart Marriages keynote address
Sheila and I just celebrated our thirtieth wedding anniversary. Somebody asked her, what was our secret? She answered, “On my wedding day, I decided to make a list of ten of Tim’s faults which, for the sake of the marriage, I would always overlook. I figured I could live with at least ten!” When she was asked which faults she had listed, Sheila replied, “I never did get around to listing them. Instead, every time he does something that makes me mad, I simply say to myself, ‘Lucky for him, it’s one of the ten!’”
Tim Hudson, Chicken Soup for the Romantic Soul, 2002
Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.
Let the wife make her husband glad to come home and let him make her sorry to see him leave.
The happiest times in my life were when my relationships were going well – when I was in love with someone, and someone was loving me. But in my whole life, I haven’t met the person I can sustain a relationship with yet. So I’m discontented about that. I’m angry with myself. I have regrets. You don’t get hugged by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and you don’t have children with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I want what everybody else wants: to love and be loved, and to have a family.
Billy Joel, The New York Times Magazine 9/02
A career is a wonderful thing, but you can’t snuggle up to it at night.
My wife uses fabric softener, I never knew what that stuff was for. Then I noticed women coming up to me, sniffing, then saying under their breath, “Married!” and walking away. Fabric Softeners are how wives mark their territory. We can take off the ring, but it’s hard to get that April fresh scent out of your clothes.
Try praising your wife, even if it does frighten her at first.
A friend recently told us about a twenty-fifth anniversary party where the husband gave a toast and said, “The key to our success is very simple. Within minutes after every fight, one of us says, ‘I’m sorry, Sally’.”
Cokie & Steve Roberts
The three stages of love and marriage:
You don’t know em, but you love em.
You know em, and you don’t love em.
You know em, and you love em.
Woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up.