Last night, we spoke to the parish Confirmation class about the sacrament of marriage and, by extension, marital sexuality. At the end, we asked for questions, and we got this one:
“You talked about the three things that cause the most marriage breakups. What are the three things that a marriage has to have to survive?”
(I know. That’s a good question, isn’t it?)
I’ve written about this before, but to distill it required some thought. Eventually, we came up with:
- Common values. This has more to do with world view and life philosophy than it does with overt religious belief, although for some people religion is certainly going to be a primary concern. What I’m talking about is more practical. A really lazy person and a driven self-motivator are likely to have a lot of problems. Someone who is thoughtful and empathizes with a person on the other side of the conflict isn’t likely to be happy with someone who makes snap judgments and doesn’t care to see any other point of view.
- Good communication. Obviously. But I think this also implies being open to changing your mind and your behavior, not just being good at talking.
- A willingness to subordinate yourself. This is the thing I find the most difficult. I don’t know, maybe everybody has to fight a tendency to think of what I want to do or have, what I need my spouse to do for me, instead of what I need to do for him. It’s not that a person is never allowed to assert his or her own needs and desires. But I think it’s much easier for us, as human beings, to go overboard in the direction of selfishness than in the direction of selflessness.
What do you think? If you had to list three deal-breakers for people discerning marriage, what would they be?
- Marriage does work (sincemydivorce.com)