Since my divorce, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what makes a marriage work. What is that one thing that could tell us hey, this is the right person.
What is the “it” factor?
When things got serious between AJ and myself all those years ago, I was nervous. I was planning to move to a new state for him, after being long distance our first year together, and I had to be sure this relationship could stand the test of time. I considered a lot of factors.
- He and I shared the same faith and had the same goals for our faith
- He and I had a similar plan for our life, in regards to children, travel, work goals
- We had a strong friendship
- We had a passionate love
- We could fight productively (most times)
Looks good, I thought. This will be the right fit. The lasting love. We could get through anything life throws at us.
Spoiler alert, that isn’t how my story with AJ panned out.
I remember being so angry when we divorced. I did everything right. I considered everything properly. I wasn’t romanced by a big wedding, white dress, the idea of a perfect marriage. I was grounded, thoughtful, and determined to stay married to AJ for the rest of my life.
What I have come to realize is you can only be in control of 50% of the relationship. To think that 50% of the relationship lies with someone else means that you have to have such great trust in that person to achieve success.
Is trust the “it” factor though?
I don’t think so. I think trust is required for a long term relationship, but trust doesn’t determine the success of the marriage. So if it isn’t trust, what could it be?
Is it the number of laughs shared each day? Sexual chemistry? Could it be liking the same food or sharing a favorite film? Time spent together?
Is there a one-size fits all solution? Is there a perfect formula to determine whether you and your partner are built to last?
No, there isn’t. Life is too unpredictable and so are people. There isn’t one way to ensure 100% success. We have to rely on our gut, our heart, and our head. Then we hope for the best and I believe it’s truly out there for all of us.
I am sure of one thing. There are things you go through as a couple, which can help us see what the future could look like.
I love watching movies with my person (when I find him 🙂 ), cooking for him, going on adventures with him, trying new things, and laughing at our inside jokes. But that stuff is so easy and could be done with anyone. Literally anyone…. in the past 12 months, I have spent a ton of time with wonderful people and wonderful friends, and there wasn’t a single moment I didn’t enjoy with every single person.
I think the “it” factor might be who you are your partner are in the bad times. Can you support each other? Can you stabilize each other? Or will you attack one another? Will you blame each other? Will you leave your partner without support?
AJ and I did face some challenging times in our six years together. I actually believe he did care for me, because he was great support at times and I can’t take that from him. However, he only supported me when I was struggling with outside forces. If I had a tough day, he was a great listener… but if I has a problem within our marriage, he was so quick to blame and attack.
I didn’t see it then. I couldn’t see how he didn’t support me. I built this relationship I thought was lasting on very flimsy foundation.
When I find my person, I am sure we will laugh and enjoy those great moments in everyday life, just being “us”. However, what will define us and cement us as a couple will be who he is and who I am in dark times. If I make a mistake, will he forgive or will he punish? If I need more attention, will he roll his eyes and make excuses, or will he acknowledge my problem and solve it?
How strong can we make our relationship foundation?
Could the darkest times we face as a couple be the successful marriage “it” factor?