As a couples’ counselor, many people ask me what the secret is to a long and happy marriage. While no marriage is perfect, what I have found through my many years in practice and research is that there seems to be four common components to marriages that last a lifetime. I call them pillars. Pillars in construction terms are those components that are used to support and strengthen a building, so that it can bear the weight of a structure and keep it stable over time.
In marriage, the first pillar is Purpose. This is the most important one because it defines the approach to every other pillar. It can best be described as the “why”, as in “why are we doing this?”. What is the fundamental goal we are trying to achieve by committing our lives to each other? Without a defined purpose, many couples will struggle with achieving any goals in life.
The second pillar is Perspective. This is how I choose to view things in the marriage. My perspective must align with my purpose, or else I will be continually frustrated in the marriage. I have to share the same perspective with my spouse on the decisions we make, as they relate to the purpose of our relationship.
The third pillar is Patience. This is a tricky one because I only gain more patience by being in situations that require more patience than I already have. It’s the only way to grow more patient. Having the right perspective helps me achieve greater patience when needed.
The fourth pillar is Perseverance. A marriage is a marathon, not a sprint. I have to be in it for the long term. Life is filled with ups and downs, good days and bad days. In order to stay committed to my purpose, I must not let the temporary disappointments in my relationship define the long-term outcome of it. Reminding myself often of my purpose, which shapes by perspective, gives me the patience to persevere in the pursuit of my goals.
If you want to learn more about how the pillars can improve your relationship, please schedule an appointment with one of our therapists. Insurance is accepted.