Centuries ago, the French philosopher Voltaire wrote that “perfect is the enemy of good.” I take that to mean that that the pursuit of perfection can cause unnecessary dissatisfaction with what’s really good right in front of us.
Too many couples don’t appreciate the good marriage they have because they are too focused on the perfect marriage they want. Susan and I have experienced this in our own marriage and have to continually remind ourselves of the good, and great, we have together.
Two things are typically true in marriages: 1) Those other “great” marriages are rarely as good as they look from the outside, and 2) Your own marriage is not always as bad as you may think from the inside.
Here are some reasons why your marriage may be better than you think. Granted, some of these may seem basic and like “gimmes” in golf, but these are basics that can’t be ignored when assessing how healthy your marriage really is.
- You are still married. While the divorce rate has come under dispute in recent years, challenging the conventional wisdom that half of marriages end in divorce, it’s still a fact that divorces have become far too common in recent decades. If you are still married to your spouse, that’s a feat in and of itself.
- You live in the same house. For years, one of my next-door neighbors was a couple that lived in separate locations. While this may not be a huge trend, it’s certainly helpful to the health and well-being of your marriage if you’re hanging in the same home.
- You sleep together in the same bed. The older couple that owned our house before we did had moved into separate bedrooms. One study suggests that 23% of couples sleep in separate locations. While there may be health reasons that might force a couple to take such a drastic step, if you’re waking up next to your spouse, you’ve got a great reason to believe that you’re doing pretty well. Being together is key to so many aspects of the relationship.
- You are faithful to your spouse. You may not feel like you’re married to the most ideal person at times. But, in that same Pew study, faithfulness was the #1 factor, with 93% saying it was very important for their successful marriage. So if your spouse is solidly faithful, that’s a huge plus in the way of marriage satisfaction.
- You trust each other. Trust is not easily earned, but it is easily lost. Back in 2013, only about 1/3 of Americans said that they believed most people could be trusted. If you and your spouse don’t have trouble trusting each other, you’re ahead of many others. And if you need to rebuild trust in your marriage, check out these suggestions from my post a few months ago.
- You often eat dinner together. Research shows consistently that families that eat together tend to have healthy relationships. Even making dinner together as a couple or family a priority for a few times a week can make a difference. So if you make that priority, you can feel good that dinner time is good investment.
- You go on dates. Making a priority out of dating your spouse is very healthy. It shows you still care about the relationship, that you don’t take your spouse for granted, and that you still enjoy spending time together, whether intensely romantic or completely informal. You can find a date night checklist that I posted recently here.
- You generally agree on family finances. If you’re in a marriage where the two of you are on the same page about your financial situation, that’s a huge plus. [Tweet This] Studies have shown that working together on finances is a trait found consistently in strong marriages, while high conflict about money is often seen in marriages that are in trouble.
- You have conflict, but are able to resolve it together. If you and your spouse are able and willing to work through disagreements, that is no small thing. It starts with a heart open to expressing disagreement and hurt and further open to apologizing, forgiving, and generally making things right again. You can find some of my favorite conflict resolution ideas here.
- You make your relationship a priority. Just the fact that you care, that you are trying to get better…that you’re reading this blog post and others like it, shows that you want to have a better marriage. Giving up on hope, on a desire to grow and improve, will never lead to things getting better. So congratulations for caring! That’s an important foundation to a healthy, happy marriage.
What is something you appreciate about your spouse? Please share below.