Four Cornerstones of a Good Marriage
By Karen Barton, MFT
If the songs played on the radio were your
only guide to a good marriage, you might think
that love is all you need. After all, of the
thousands of love songs that have been written,
when was the last time you heard a song about
reality, marital bliss requires a lot more than
love alone. As a marriage counselor, I've heard
many couples say, "We love each other,
but we just can't get along!" And if things
don't improve, the "not getting along"
overtakes the being in love sooner or later.
with love, there are three other traits that
comprise what I call the four cornerstones of
a good marriage. If even one if these four elements
is weak, the marriage will suffer, just as a
house built on a damaged foundation will deteriorate.
four cornerstones are:
This one seems self-explanatory, right? But
it's important to realize that love is both
a feeling and a behavior. We've all encountered
someone who professes love for another, yet
doesn't behave in a very loving manner toward
that person. So, if you truly love your spouse,
make sure your actions show it - not just occasionally,
Do you and your spouse share similar values,
interests and tastes? If not, it will take a
great deal of compromise and tolerance for you
to get along with each other. No two people
have everything in common, of course. But the
more compatible you are, the easier it is to
understand one another and make decisions together.
This is really a personal, individual trait.
But for a marriage to succeed, it is necessary
for both spouses to be mature. Mature people
are able to make rational decisions, take responsibility
for their actions, and learn from their mistakes.
They can look beyond their own needs and wants,
and empathize with other viewpoints.
there is a "maturity gap" in a marriage,
the relationship is apt to be more like one
between a parent and child, rather than a partnership
You might think it is natural to treat someone
you love with respect and kindness. Yet, I've
recognized the importance of this cornerstone
only after encountering a lack of respect in
many of the couples I have counseled. And a
lack of respect will inevitably lead to a loss
ridicule, sarcasm, and other signs of disrespect
simply have no place in a marriage. If your
spouse often reacts to your behavior with hurt,
humiliation, or withdrawal, this is likely a
sign that you are not being respectful.
does your marriage measure up? If you detect
a problem in any of these areas, seeking the
guidance of a professional can help save your
marriage before it is too late.
Barton is a licensed Marriage and
Family Therapist in Santa Clarita, CA, specializing
in relationship problems. She can be reached