“I have no way of knowing whether or not you married the wrong person. But I do know that if you treat the wrong person like the right person, you could well end up having married the right person after all. It is far more important to be the right kind of person than it is to marry the right person.” — author and motivational speaker Zig Ziglar
This quote summarizes the discussion we’ve been having about marrying the wrong person. My post last Friday, “We all married the wrong person” has generated an overwhelming response, with more than 40,000 visits and 400 comments in a few days. My interview with Dr. Haltzman has created a large, international discussion about what marriage is and what it could be. Clearly, there is much debate about whether marriage and love are about choice and commitment, about passion and feelings, about finding a compatible person—or, whether it’s even possible to have a “happy marriage.”
Despite the provocative title, I believe I married the right person for me. And my husband of 15 years claims to agree that he married the right person for him. The point of the post, though, is that there are days or periods of time when couples are stressed, grouchy, sick, lazy, difficult, you-name-it. We’re human, and we require grace. During those times, we have all surely wondered what it would be like to be married to someone who is more upbeat, more affectionate, more positive, more beautiful, more of whatever we want that day.
Because my husband and I are motivated to love one another and to be self-sacrificial in our love when necessary, we have maintained a strong marriage. We are not perfect, and we don’t know any couples in perfect marriages. But we are happy and committed to one another and to our children.
I concede there are individuals who are narcissistic, abusive or unable to participate in a healthy marriage. I also understand that in rare cases, one does not know these qualities until after marriage. These occurrences should be extremely rare if the partner has done due diligence, participated in premarital counseling and gotten to know the person as well as possible prior to marriage. As Dr. Haltzman said, abuse of any type should not be tolerated.
However, the vast majority of divorces in the U.S. are in low-conflict marriages that have the capacity to be restored, according to large quantities of expert research I have read. What individuals in these marriages in crisis need most is hope. There is hope. You may be thinking you are beyond hope.
I’ve spent the last two years interviewing couples who overcame extreme marital adversity—from losing a child to experiencing long separations for military service, from infertility to infidelity, from overcoming drug abuse to overcoming life-threatening illnesses and accidents, from dealing with stranger rape to dealing with families who don’t support the marriage. I’ve talked to a strong Christian who at long last created a happy marriage with her unbelieving spouse, and I interviewed couples who experienced financial hardship, including living through The Great Depression. Many of these couples had lost hope at one point or another, but they all found it—and found a way to not just stick it out, but to find lasting happiness and joy. (How they achieved this will be described in my book, but I provide insight from these interviews in this blog.)
If you are a new reader to my blog, I want to welcome you into the discussion, no matter what your views are. Here are a few posts to give you food for thought:
If you’d like to be updated on new research-based marriage tips, please sign up for updates on the right side of the home page. Your email address will never be shared, and you can opt out at any time. Find me on Twitter @LoriLowe. You are also welcome to download the free e-book I wrote with some other marriage writers. Thanks for dropping by, and come back soon.
Lori Lowe’s book First Kiss to Lasting Bliss: Hope & Inspiration for Your Marriage is now available on Amazon.com and in all e-book formats at www.LoriDLowe.com. Lori and her husband of 16 years live in Indianapolis with their two children.
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