The Secret to a Happy Marriage, from an Unmarried Person

During a great connected conversation, a friend recently shared some advice on marriage, told to him by his marriage counselor parents.

To paraphrase, twice removed,

“the secret to a happy marriage is striving daily to be your partner’s ideal mate. Recognizing that you each will grow and change, that interests and tastes mature, differ, and disrupt, you both strive to be your partner’s ideal mate, that day, wherever you’re at. If that is true, then you both get to always wake up next to and be married to your ideal mate.”

How beautifully said. How simple but intimidating. A profound commitment that is both selfish and impossibly selfless.

And it got me thinking about my own relationship. I definitely don’t think I provide my partner that, but he does for me, so much so. And I didn’t appreciate that in full until I heard that definition in context of marriage (the ultimate commitment).

I’ve complained before, to him, how much it bothers me that we have very different taste in music. For me, there is no barrier to my heart’s entry lower than mutual taste and appreciation through music. Feel the feels I feel when I hear *that* song, meet me on that level, and you are in my circle. But this morning, (and lately, now that I think about it) he texted me unsolicited to share a song he liked. And not a song that was in his taste, but more in mine. This simple expression, full of thought and love, whether intentionally or not, displayed an effort to be my ideal mate.

Pretty remarkable when you think about it. How lucky are you should you have someone whose road rises to meet yours.

I can only hope that I do the same for him, ever, or sometimes. I don’t think that I do, but I know my excuse. He doesn’t tell me how I’m not ideal. He doesn’t complain, and say “I wish you/we” in the same way I do.

And there, just now, realizing that the answer could begin there. Maybe I stop complaining. Because whose ideal mate is a whiner?

I’m openly not necessarily sold on marriage, despite being surrounded by ardent examples of success. I wanted it my whole life, I still think I do now, just definitely not yet.

But if I do walk down the aisle, I pray it be to meet someone who intends to embark on that paraphrased secret, even if carried out via a morning text.