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Consider yourself lucky if you are in a happy marriage

By Nina Steele 

Childless mixed race couplesThat’s because apparently, only 17% of marriages are happy. Although the figures were obtained by interviewing couples in the US, I think it is fair to say that happy marriages are rare. Most of us only need to look at our own marriage or those of people around us, to conclude that those figures are not far from the truth.

What I have found from my own experience is that our expectations of how a relationship should be is often unrealistic, and inevitably this leads to unhappy marriages. As a couple, we are the happiest we have ever been, but this wasn’t always the case. Our happiness today is the result of a conscious decision to only focus on the positive side of our relationship, as opposed to what is lacking.

My husband is not the most romantic of men, on the other hand, he is not the cheating type either. In addition, he is the type of man who you know will always be there for you. I remember a time, soon after we got married. I was still fresh from having moved to the UK, and was struggling with my finances. I had accumulated credit card debt, but was confident that I would pay the whole thing off eventually. The way I intended to do so, was by paying the minimum required each month. Yes I can see some of you shaking your heads. Of course that would have taken years. At first I didn’t tell my husband of my financial woes, because I wasn’t proud of myself. Eventually, he did find out and his first reaction was to offer to pay it off. That is the type of man he is. We are a team and if one of us is in trouble, the other one will share the burden.

I often say that I would take a bullet for him if I ever had to. That gives you an idea of the depth of my love for him. As I said before, it wasn’t always this way. I made a conscious decision to focus on his qualities, as opposed to his shortcomings. For the first time in my life, I don’t have to watch my back and that to me is everything. Anyone who has been, or is in a relationship where their partner cheats will understand what I mean by not having to watch my back. The humiliation of being cheated on, of being made a fool of, time and time again. I have peace of mind in my marriage and for me, nothing matters more.

Often, from what I have seen around me, marriages fail because people expect them to be perfect. Not only do they want a good man or woman, they also expect all the things that we are told to expect in a relationship. Excitement, great sex at regular intervals, spontaneity, the whole lot. If one of those ingredients is missing, some people conclude that the marriage isn’t working quite as it should. It doesn’t matter that the marriage is resting on solid foundations, as far as they are concerned, it should be everything or nothing.

As I keep saying, we make our own lives and our own happiness. If your marriage is resting on solid foundations, you can make it work. You have to decide what matters to you most, and focus on that.

It is because I knew what mattered to me most that I was able to accept my fate and live my life happily as a childless woman. If I didn’t have this strong idea of what I wanted most in a relationship, chances are that our marriage would have collapsed. A Facebook user told me recently that I was wasting my life by staying with a man who cannot give me children. She called my husband names that I will not repeat out of respect for him. Needless to say that she has now been banned from making further contact with me.

A happy marriage doesn’t just materialise itself, it takes years of hard work. Most people can make their marriages work if they really wanted to. Nothing in life is ever handed to us on a plate. The most important thing to remember is that you cannot have it all. Work with what you have and above all, you have to know what matters to you most and stick with it regardless of what society says we should look for in a marriage.

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