Thursday, April 10, 2014

What kind of marriage to you want?

Have you been watching House of Cards? I think it's a great show (and if you like it I highly recommend the original British version, also available on Netflix streaming). It has intrigue, great acting, and modern social commentary: everything you could want in a tv show. But one of my favorite things about the show is the portrayal of the marriage between the two main characters. This post captures something I've been thinking about for awhile: I kind of want a marriage like the Underwoods.

Now their marriage of course isn't perfect and I'm not saying I want to emulate in it's entirety. I don't want an open marriage for example. But it's the partnership between Frank and Claire that is enviable. They are aligned in their goals for their family. They work together and each individually sacrifice in order to get them both closer to their shared goals. They seem to know each other and accept each other for who they are. And for the most part they are very honest with each other. For me it's this honesty that creates an intimacy that I admire. And it creates an environment where they can both be themselves and don't feel the need to battle to be understood, or fight to be heard, or manipulate each other to get what they need. Because they are a total team.

Being a partner can be hard and doesn't come naturally to everyone. I know I've had to work on my partnership skills over the years and I appreciate that D has been willing to work with me. And as life gets more complicated it can get harder to not get caught up in my own day to day struggles. As working parents D and I are so often just thinking about getting through our daily check lists that thinking about our relationship as a whole can get lost.

Almost daily I try to remind myself about the findings captured in this infographic. I believe achieving the 5:1 ratio is especially important. This means that you have 5 positive interactions for every 1 negative interaction. When dealing with little sleep and work stress and schedules and silly but important things like trying to get the Pepper to eat her veggies, it's surprisingly easy not to have many positive interactions. So I make a point to say something nice, or show enthusiasm for something he's been working on, or just reach out and rub his back for a moment. I don't do it as much as I would like, but I know we have many more years to keep improving our marriage and growing our partnership.

Anyone have any tips for how they maintain a strong marriage?

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