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Maintaining a marriage

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I am about to marry in a few weeks and I am interested in your ideas and advice for maintaining a marriage. This is not motivated from the fear of failure but from the desire to keep life as radiant as our first date and the time spent together since.

Fundamentals are fine but I'm really interested in side issues like maintaining appearance, ie., physical beauty, arranging finances, overcoming arguments and keeping things fresh and exciting.

Your thoughts please...

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I am about to marry in a few weeks and I am interested in your ideas and advice for maintaining a marriage. This is not motivated from the fear of failure but from the desire to keep life as radiant as our first date and the time spent together since.

Congratulations!

My husband Stephen and I have been married for 37 years now, and I'd have to say that the most important things in marriage are a passion for each other, mutual respect, and good communication. Most marriages start out with the first two and the third can be learned.

Good communication is critical because two separate, independent people WILL disagree from time to time, often about important matters. Handled well, problems can be resolved and differences can be benevolently accepted. If people don't communicate well, problems will persist and resentments and distrust will build to the point of no return.

I have a favorite book about communication in marriage that I recommend and sometimes give as a wedding present. It's such a useful, "how to" book that I'm sorry it wasn't around when I got married and I had to learn so much the hard way. The book is Love is Never Enough by Dr. Aaron Beck (the founder of Cognitive Psychology often cited by Objectivists who are professional therapists).

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Fundamentals are fine but I'm really interested in side issues

you spend 5 weekend hours cleaning house and the spouse spends 1 hour because of not considering it important

you like house temp at 20 degree and spouse want it at 23

you think these too small and too funny?

but can be irritating and cause spousal quarrels

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I wander what you guys think about shared property in marriage. Should all property be shared? Most of it? Only enough for maintaining a shared home?

I think the law basically says all property is shared in a marriage. But is that a necessary part of being married?

I've heard arguments for both sides, but no side completely convinced me...

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Never go to bed angry - if there is a misunderstanding or resentment building always discuss and work it out. A sense of humor is also important!

Best Wishes!

-Elizabeth

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I wander what you guys think about shared property in marriage. Should all property be shared? Most of it? Only enough for maintaining a shared home?

This strikes me as an inherently subjective experience, and thus one which varies from relationship to relationship. The reasons why people value their property vary from person to person. Thus their willingness to actually exercise their "property rights" varies according to the property in question, and its value to that person. If some peice of property (such as a diary) is valued because of the appeal of its privacy, then it "should" be under the complete control of the owner. But if a rural couple values a car because of its ability to help them both get to work, then at the very least it seems counter-productive for one person to assume the rights and responsibilities that come with ownership.

This is not to say that people don't retain their property rights when they enter into marriage. But if they are marrying the right person, they presumably have a good understanding of what property is "off limits" and property rights will not even need to be addressed. Anyone who will infring upon your right not to have your doorknob collection messed with if you so choose, gets a red flag in my book. On the flip side, anyone who is not willing to value the relationship more than the pieces of property each brings to the relationship also gets a red flag.

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I wander what you guys think about shared property in marriage.

If marriage is truly a lifetime commitment to each other in body and spirit -- which is how I think of marriage -- then in such a partnership it makes sense that all the money goes into one pot. How to manage that money is then the issue, and that is an accomodation which must be reached on both sides.

In my own marriage, Betsy tends to be the more frugal one, while I am more liberal in spending. We compromised on a range of spending where we each act on our own discretion, but we have to agree jointly on bigger spendings. We have things which are ours, and things which are individually our own. I am not sure that "property" adquately describes that difference. My corvette is legally our property, but we both think of it as being my car.

We each live our own lives, yet we share our lives together in marriage. I think our "property" follows along that same line.

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If you are smart, you will make explict in a contract what you believe about marriage rather than relying on an implied cultural understanding. Our culture changes, and you don't want to be bound by your initial misunderstandings.

I'd like to see some married people spell out what the marriage committment/contract they are in looks like.

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