The Fairy Tale Marriage
Several types of marriages often have trouble. The first type is the fairy tale marriage. The couple believe they have found the perfect person to meet all their needs. They believe marriage will make them happy. When they discover their partner is not perfect they become disillusioned. When troubles or struggles come (and they will with every couple) they are devastated. Since they believed the other person would make them happy, they think the solution is to leave the marriage and find someone else.
The Dominant Submissive Marriage
The second type of marriage is a dominant/submissive one. One person is in charge and the other person accepts this. They both may be comfortable with this arrangement for a while. Sooner or later the submissive one becomes depressed, resentful or withdrawn. It's difficult to act like a non-person. This couple believes that living together is only possible when one person is dominating the other.
The Care Taker - Rescuer Marriage
Another version of the dominant submissive marriage occurs when one partner feels inadequate and seeks a partner who will rescue and take care of him or her. The caretaker is loaded with all the responsibility for the relationship and the one being rescued continues to feel inadequate. There is no room for growth; there is no equality.
The Power Struggle Marriage
Another type of common difficulty is the power struggle. This struggle can be subtle or it can be open warfare. Each person is determined to prove they are right. Both are engaged in a fight to convince their spouse that they know best. Differences are threatening and viewed as wrong. They are engaged in a battle of self-justification.
The Contented Marriage
Couples who remain together enjoy and respect each other. They are affectionate with each other. They accept their struggles and view them as challenges. They learn to accept their differences. They learn to cooperate. They learn to accept each other's immaturities and idiosyncrasies. They work at understanding and communicating with each other. They are committed to each other and encourage each other's growth and development. The main ingredients of a lasting enjoyable marriage are love, respect, effort, communication and commitment. Marriage is never easy!
A couple in a Fairy Tale Marriage will need to recognize their expectations were flawed. They must learn that no partner can meet all their needs and that all marriages have some conflict. The Dominant Submissive marriages must take the risk to allow each other to be real, to each make decisions, to differ. A couple in a Power Struggle Marriage will need to realize no one is always right and that often there are many right ways to do things. In order to change these problem marriages, counseling and marriage enrichment courses will help. I believe any couple with some maturity who truly want to work things out can do so.
“Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” Ephesians 5:33 NLT