Want a Healthy Relationship? Learn from a happily married friend!
Yesterday, I participated in an unusual birthday celebration for a friend’s 50th. I got an invitation from Meg to join her in helping prepare an apartment in the Bronx (New York) to become a transitional home for immigrant and refugee settlement. This program is run by the Lutheran Social Services of New York. We were invited to finish work on an apartment to get it in final shape for refugees from West and Central Africa, Haiti, and the former Soviet republics. I jumped at the chance to get my hands dirty, work up a sweat, join in this charitable effort, and be in the presence of my friend, Meg, whom I greatly admire in many ways.
I first met Meg about three years ago. She was teaching an Israeli music hip hop class at my local JCC. I enjoyed the class, and later spoke to Meg about possibly teaching a class at my upcoming belated 50th birthday party. We discovered that she and I shared many things in common; 1. a love of good parenting ~ she was a parenting consultant, I was coaching parents at the time 2. we had many friends in common, including a coaching colleague, and 3. her son went to the sleep away camp where I worked as art director!
One of the things I love most about Meg is her incredible character. She is so clear about her values. She also brings spirit and mindfulness to all that she does, from being a great mom, to being a loving spouse and a dynamic businesswoman.
So, I jumped at the chance to join her for this project, to be in her presence and meet the people in her life.
As I sat and talked with her husband, sharing delicious fruit shakes at a Mexican restaurant, I got a sense of why her 25-year marriage has been so successful. In fact, I was surrounded by happily married people. The woman to my left had just celebrated her 30th anniversary!
In today’s climate of an enormously high divorce rate, including my own, I am always intrigued by what makes a marriage work.
I think you can learn a tremendous amount from the lucky few who get it right.
6 Keys to Meg’s Happy Marriage
1. They respect each other. They are two very different people who have tremendous respect for each other. It shows in the way they speak to each other and about each other.
2. They are good at communicating with each other. They talk things out. They have family meetings. They vote on things, like where to go for family vacations.
3. They have impeccable values. They share common goals and values. This is key to a great marriage.
4. They keep the attraction alive. Meg is in great physical shape, and looks fabulous for her age. She understands the importance of keeping the attraction alive and well. This is something that many long-term couples have trouble keeping up. It takes mindfulness to make it work.
5. They laugh together. Both Meg and Seth are able to laugh easily. They are warm, they appreciate humor and they are interested in engaging with others.
6. They give easily. Illustrated by Meg’s generosity of spirit at her birthday party, this couple gives; easily, readily, and from the heart. A full heart can give. An aching, empty heart has trouble giving.
There you have it. Simple tips, yet it’s so hard to get it right.
Happy birthday, Meg. May you continue to be an inspiration to so many!