In the book Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell, he states that “it takes roughly 10,000 hours of practice to achieve mastery in a field.”
I love relating this statement to marriage. I am not claiming to be an expert; however, Gladwell’s 10,000 hour theory can be applicable to marriage. I have put in the hours for over 22 years of marriage so, in jest, I am claiming mastery in this field. Proudly, and with no B.S, I can say it is a happy marriage filled with lots of communication, interpersonal work, experiences and love.
Relating marriage to this theory is not to diminish the romance, however, there is a similarity between learning how to be married and a specific discipline that one wants to study. As in any study or interest, there are many resources to obtain knowledge about relationships such as books, workshops for couples, or counseling. All of which are great options. Over 22 years ago, my husband and I took a “making marriage work” class for newly engaged couples. It was highly recommended, so without much thought, we signed up hoping it would be fun and a good way to make some new friends. Little did we know, that many, many, many years later we would continue to utilize some of the tools that were taught in that workshop. In my humble opinion, success in marriage, like a discipline, job, hobby, etc. does not come easy and takes a lot of patience, love and cultivation.
I have also read many books on love and relationships, from the instructional standpoint, to romance novels and of course, listening to the very polarizing Dr. Laura Schlessenger on the radio. I grew up listening to her in the car with my mom when I was around 10 years old. Talk radio was the new wave therapy back in the 70’s and, amazingly, she has lasted over 40 years of giving public advice. Although she can be myopic and extremely dogmatic, I always found value in the topics she discussed. With all that information floating around in my head, humorously, I created a simple, practical, guide that always seems to work with my husband and me.
But before I give up the guide, there are a few important points to address. First, my definition of a successful marriage is a partnership of two people that share everything from finances, life goals, daily activities and parenting, as well as support one another in their own passions. The fundamental foundation of this definition is based on RESPECT and LOVE for the other. Without respect, you don’t have all the other qualities that make a marriage work. Such as trust, honestly, admiration, adoration and regard of the other person. Secondly, my Husband and I received the best advice over 25 years ago from a couple celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. The wise women said that you should always put your spouse first. Simply put, if you want a drink of water you FIRST ask your husband/wife if they would like one. Sounds easy, right? Well the truth is, it is too easy not to ask the other person first. At times, I am guilty of it and our relationship suffers when we fall into that bad habit. My third point to this marriage topic is a doozy. Ladies, what I am about to tell you, I have seen with my own eyes and know this to be true… Our mood dictates the mood of the house. I know! Crazy to think we have that much power, but we do! If we are bitchy then our husbands react to our bad mood and if we are happy, they reciprocate that mood. I’ve seen this scenario play out repeatedly every month.
Ladies, what I am about to tell you, I have seen with my own eyes and know this to be true…
Our mood dictates the mood of the house.
Lastly, I agree with Dr. Laura’s theory that men are “simple creatures”. I revere my husband, as well as all men, so this is not a knock about them nor am I calling men dumb or simple minded. It’s that they require very few things to make them happy. Women, on the other hand, are much more complicated and require much more for happiness. There’s a great story I heard somewhere that proves this point. One night this man came home from work and the wife greeted him at the door, in a sexy outfit, and threw her arms around him. He reacted like it was his Birthday and immediately reciprocated with the same level of love and affection. The next day, the women came home from work and the man opened the door, almost naked with his arms outstretched for affection, and ya know what happened? She was pissed! She figured all he wanted was sex. Get my point?
So, here’s my (unprofessional) guide to a successful marriage: Feed your husband, make some love, and treat him with respect. I promise you will reap the rewards! Make him feel like a Man and he will treat you like a Queen!
Here’s the love…
Ask your partner if they want a drink of water before you get one for yourself!