We Know How To Be Married
Jun 21st, 2012 | By Barbara J. Peters | Category: Relationship Blogs
Recently I enjoyed dinner with a couple who had recently gotten married. It was the second marriage for both. The husband lost his first wife to illness, and the wife was divorced after a long marriage. Both had children from their previous marriages. One had two children, ages 8 and 26. The other also had two children, ages 18 and 20.
According to psychologist Erik Erikson, there are eight stages of psychosocial development extending from birth to old age. As we pass through each stage there are certain developmental tasks associated with it. As an individual passes through Erickson’s stages (and we all do) he or she will confront and hopefully master challenges, based on what has been learned or conquered previously. If lessons are not learned from the previous stage of development, problems or unresolved issues can be expected to reappear.
The newlyweds were not only discovering their psychosocial placement in relation to each other, but were also dealing with the developmental tasks their children were facing as the families blended. Three of their children were adults, while one was very young. That in itself would create a challenge.
Other challenges this couple would face were affected by cultural and ethnic differences as one was American and the other Peruvian. They would also have to deal with blended family issues, religious differences, and language barriers, to name just a few.
As I watched the interaction between them, it was obvious they loved each other and knew they had gotten it right. Being a couples therapist, I couldn’t help but ask a few questions about how they planned to resolve any problems that might be stumbling blocks to their happiness together.
Jack simply said, “We know how to be married. We can deal with the small stuff because we have the big stuff down pat.”
“And what does that mean,” I asked.
“I love the outdoors, my bride won’t go outdoors. I joke about sleeping under the stars, she jokes about Five-Star hotels.
“But overall we have love and respect for each other. We share unconditional love and acceptance of each other and we know we’ll watch each other’s back. We allow each other to be unique personalities and we don’t try to change the other into what we think we might want them to be. We sometimes do what we don’t like doing and go where we don’t like going, but we do it because it is part of ‘being married.’”
This was a couple who really did know how to be married. Along with love and acceptance, they shared humor and the ability to go with life’s flow. As our time together was over, I sensed I would never see this couple in my office. They had a wonderful life ahead of them.
Originally posted on The Gift of a Lifetime.