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Salt of A Happy Marriage – When Too Much Of A Good Thing Makes A Marriage Go Bad

Category: Loving Relationships

How to Have a Happy Marriage / Relationship
Photo Courtesy of Hamed Masoumi

To Keep A Fire Burning Brightly, There’s One Easy Rule:
Keep The Logs Together, Near Enough To Keep Warm And Far Enough Apart For Breathing Room.
Good Fire, Good Marriage, Same Rule. – Marnie Reed Crowel

I learnt a simple principle while learning to cook – salt adds flavour and taste to food. And so happy I was to find the magic of making good food, I promptly added the right amount of salt to my meal. And then; Alas some more!

What was to be a sumptous meal became inedible; because I over-used the right ingredient. In my desire to make a delicious meal, I excessively used the right ingredient.

This is so much in parallel with the way marriage works I thought. The simple principles of marriage I learnt are so much like salt – essential to have a happy marriage but disastrous in excess.

I share with you two salts of happy marriage; Use them to have a successful and happy marriage, a loving and wonderful marriage but … use them the right way.

The Two Salts Of A Happy Marriage

- When Too Much Of A Good Thing Makes A Marriage Go Bad

1. In Love, In Marriage, Two People Become One

Marriage Is When A Man And Woman Become As One; The Trouble Starts When They Try To Decide Which One.

In proportion:
Two people become one in love and marriage – they love self and their partner equally. There is no distinction in the way they love and care for themselves and the way they love and care for their partner. There is no distinction in heart and mind when we think of self and our partner. And this is how it should be.

We are one with our spouse – we live our lives together, we share our joys and sorrows. We share our dreams and goals, we work together to achieve them. We rejoice together with every dream come true, we grieve together for all losses. We live so much of each others life that they truly become one.

In excess:
Two people become one in love and marriage – and then they think they have actually become one. They try to spend all time together, not leaving time for family and friends. They try to do all activities together, and not focus on those which only one of them likes. Soon they find they lose some friends and drop away some hobbies – unknowingly one day at a time. They forget to focus on themselves as well.

And now suddenly it seems as if, both people aren’t who they were when they fell in love and got married. And both of them miss that part of each other and themselves.

Food For Mind:

  • What does “Two people become one” mean to you?
  • How has your life changed after marriage?
  • How have you changed after marriage?
  • Do you still have your old friends with you?
  • Do you pursue your hobbies and interests which do not overlap with your partner’s?
  • Do you strive to spend all the time together with your partner?
  • What are you postponing or avoiding because they do not include your partner?
  • Do you share your life, your dreams and desires with your partner?
  • Do you allow your partner to be a part of your life?

Take home:
A relationship is formed between two people; so is marriage. In marriage, there is a “you”, a “me” and a “us”. Neither relationship, nor marriage can survive without the “you”, the “me” and the “us”. All are required and essential for the marriage to work well.

2. In Love, In Marriage, You Get To Be Yourself

All Married Couples Should Learn The Art Of Battle As They Should Learn The Art Of Making Love. Good Battle Is Objective And Honest – Never Vicious Or Cruel. Good Battle Is Healthy And Constructive, And Brings To A Marriage The Principle Of Equal Partnership. – Ann Landers Says Truth Is Stranger…, 1968

In proportion:
In love, in marriage, you get to be yourself – there is no need to hide behind a mask as we sometimes do in the world, no need to put on a happy face when heart is crying out, no need to fake strength when we are feeling weak within, no need to hide our faults in fear of rejection or being ridiculed. For when you love, you love the other for who they are and who they are not. There is no judgement of you, only whole hearted unconditional acceptance.

And in this acceptance and love, you are free to be who you truly are. You are free to vocalize your inner thoughts, your desires and fears, you are free to believe you will be loved doesn’t matter if you are going through tough times, some fights, some moodiness. You will be loved even if you are not perfect in your own eyes.

In excess:
In love, in marriage, you get to be yourself – to some this means they are free to be rude when they are in a hurry, free to be angry when inconvenienced, free to lash out and hurt the other because they are hurting, free to speak own thoughts aloud without thinking how it would affect the loved one.

And then, they think where has the magic gone away. Why are there so many fights, so many hurts and misunderstandings. Why did two people who loved each other so much, suddenly feel differently about each other.

Food For Mind:

  • Do you feel free to be you in the relationship?
  • Are you scared of being judged and rejected/not loved?
  • How do you treat your partner in tough times?
  • Are you courteous enough? Do you show respect to your partner?
  • Are you considerate and understanding?
  • How do you deal with anger and frustrations?
  • How does your negative mood impact the way you treat your partner?
  • Is ‘Thank You’, ‘Sorry’ and ‘Please’ a part of your regular vocab?

Take home:
You are free to be you in a marriage but not free to treat the other whatever way you like. To respect, to love, to understand, be considerate are laws of any relationship. You cannot break them and assume nothing will change.

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Reader's Comments

  1. Davina | August 4th, 2008 at 10:32 pm

    This all makes such good sense. I’m guilty of not living up to these sometimes, but I continue to aspire in their direction. Relationships are a learning experience that’s for sure.

    Davina’s last blog post..Look Ma, I Can Fly!

    Reply to this comment
  2. John Rocheleau - Zen-Moments | August 4th, 2008 at 11:06 pm

    I agree with you. There should be some space in the togetherness of marriage, so that each person can grow into their own potential; both adding their uniqueness to the partnership.

    “There is no judgement of you, only whole hearted unconditional acceptance.”

    This is the ideal. We should strive to accept and support the best that we see in our partner. It is achievable. Anyone can begin to do more of this in their marriage. Like many other good things in life — it is a choice.

    I enjoyed your thoughts.

    John

    John Rocheleau – Zen-Moments’s last blog post..How Much did You Pay for that Comfort Zone?

    Reply to this comment
  3. Evelyn Lim | August 5th, 2008 at 12:02 am

    As a cook myself, I know what it means to use the right ingredients and in the right proportions. Meals in street side stalls to dining in some of the finest restaurants have also allowed me to know that the quality of the ingredients is what counts to make a perfect dish.

    I totally agree with the idea that a couple should not spend all their free time together. Time apart is also important to nurture individual interests’, friends, hobbies, etc. It gives space for letting each discover more about themselves. Yet, there must also be time to grow and bond together.

    Great article!

    Thanks for sharing,
    Evelyn

    Evelyn Lim’s last blog post..Raise Awareness; Release Guilt

    Reply to this comment
  4. Marelisa | August 5th, 2008 at 1:16 am

    I think it’s like a dance: sometimes you hold each other close, and sometimes you let go. But as long as you’re both dancing to the same music, it’s fine.

    Reply to this comment
  5. Shilpan | successsoul.com | August 5th, 2008 at 7:09 am

    Avani -

    The entire article can be summarized in these sentences, “All Married Couples Should Learn The Art Of Battle As They Should Learn The Art Of Making Love. Good Battle Is Objective And Honest – Never Vicious Or Cruel. Good Battle Is Healthy And Constructive, And Brings To A Marriage The Principle Of Equal Partnership. – Ann Landers Says Truth Is Stranger…, 1968″ — Absolutely wonderful thoughts on the relationship.

    –Shilpan

    Shilpan | successsoul.com’s last blog post..Forrest Gump: How to Build Your Self-Confidence

    Reply to this comment
  6. Lance | August 5th, 2008 at 11:38 am

    I like the comparison between salt and marriage, Avani. It is true what you say, that too much of a good thing can be bad. I find in my own marriage that we are happiest when we have a good mix of together time plus separate activities.

    In the second part about getting to be yourself, this I think is the harder one to not have too much of. Using this one in excess, I think, is much easier, and takes more work to use the right amount – and is very important to a healthy marriage.

    Reply to this comment
  7. Bamboo Forest | August 5th, 2008 at 12:25 pm

    “You are free to be you in a marriage but not free to treat the other whatever way you like.”

    This is a good point. Though I’m not married, it’s clear to me a successful marriage demands hard work. One must work on their character, in order that they excel at treating their partner well.

    The rewards of marriage are vast. But, just as with most things that give us great reward, they require great effort too.

    Bamboo Forest’s last blog post..What’s The True Value of Blog Comments?

    Reply to this comment
  8. Rachel | August 5th, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    Balance is always key in a marriage. You have to learn to meet in the middle. Good article.

    Rachel’s last blog post..I Reached my First Goal!

    Reply to this comment
  9. Ari Koinuma | August 5th, 2008 at 1:59 pm

    I don’t have much to add to the discussion but I just wanted to say the format you used here really works very well! A sign of a good blogger is not just in the content but also in how you present it. I like your presentation and framing very much.

    ari

    Ari Koinuma’s last blog post..How to Apply Process-Oriented Principles in Real Life

    Reply to this comment
  10. Urban Panther | August 5th, 2008 at 4:44 pm

    Oh, I love what Marelisa said! A dance. The Urbane Lion and I dance. Sometimes he’s off doing something with his son without me, or I am off training for a race. We are still dancing, we are just doing solo steps. The trouble lies when one partner decides to sit it out, or one does the salsa while the other is trying to do the waltz. Then toes can inadvertantly be stepped on. It happens to the best of couples. The trick is to stop, decide as a couple which dance you want to perform (maybe the Mashed Potato this time), and get right back into step with one another.

    Urban Panther’s last blog post..Yep, tastes good

    Reply to this comment
  11. Avani-Mehta | August 5th, 2008 at 8:15 pm

    @Davina: One has to always keep working on relationships.

    @John: Understanding each other is the key. When you understand fully, you automatically accept, support and love.

    @Evelyn: So true. Sometimes, what we do separately adds to conversations and relationship in general.

    @Marelisa: Relationship as a dance … wow, I like that thought. It’s deep and very romantic. Urban panther has added more on this thought.

    @Shilpan: I loved that quote as well.

    @Lance: I believe it’s a myth that in a relationship, you need to spend all time together. The second point becomes easy once we start focussing on being considerate and think before speaking/acting rashly.

    @Bamboo: Yes, marriage is hard work. But it’s worth the effort. A happy and successful marriage can make your life sail through smoothly even in most difficult times. It’s like having one solidity in your life; one thing which will always be there and you can comfortably rely upon.

    @Rachel: You nailed the entire article in one sentence – Balance is the key to a happy marriage.

    @Ari: Thank you for the feedback. It’s appreciated and provides encouragement.

    @Urban Panther: I love the way you have extended Marelisa’s analogy of relationship being like a dance. It doesn’t matter how you dance … as long as you dance.

    Reply to this comment
  12. Jean Browman--Cheerful Monk | August 6th, 2008 at 12:46 am

    My husband and I have been married for a gazillion years by now, and I love the fact that we can be ourselves, have our own interests and still have that bond of love and acceptance I’ll take mature love over the excitement of new love any day. Thanks for reminding me. :)

    Reply to this comment
  13. Barbara Swafford | August 6th, 2008 at 1:28 am

    Hi Avani,

    What a great post. Yes, marriage is about balance. Neither partner should feel suffocated, nor should they feel neglected. It’s finding that which works for each couple, not copying what works for someone else, but what works for the two individuals.

    As Marelisa so wisely put it, it’s a dance. When it’s the waltz it’s pretty special.

    Barbara Swafford’s last blog post..Interview With Lorelle VanFossen – Part 8 – The Future of Blogging

    Reply to this comment
  14. Michael Miles | August 7th, 2008 at 10:29 am

    I like the idea of balance – not too much or too little. Holds true in many things.

    Reply to this comment
  15. Jennifer | August 7th, 2008 at 10:02 pm

    We can’t be the best to our partner if we do not take care of ourselves. In a marriage 1+1=1, not 0+1=1 or 0+0=1. I know that doesn’t add up mathematically, but it’s the only way a marriage can work. I have always been one that requires a large amount of “me time”. If I don’t get it I’m not much fun to be around at all. But with it, I’m a fulfilled happy person who can give of herself.

    Thanks for this great post!

    Reply to this comment
  16. Avani-Mehta | August 8th, 2008 at 11:39 am

    @Jean: Wow, seems you have got the balance right. What’s your secret?

    @Barbara: I agree. Any tip/advice we pick up should be customized for personal effectiveness.

    @Michael: Anything in excess is a recipe for trouble.

    @Jennifer: Nice mathematical example. And it’s true in this case. I too need a lot of me time or personal space.

    Reply to this comment
  17. Janus | August 12th, 2008 at 7:48 pm

    Words to live by! Thank you, Michael, for you indeed have captured some of the finer points of having a successful marriage. Very well written and a joy to read.

    Janus

    Reply to this comment
  18. Girish Pant | August 18th, 2008 at 8:02 am

    Hi Avani,

    you are right,I think “Marriage is holy bond between two souls”.so,it should be balance,like ingredient i.e faith,honesty,love,caring,respect,balance, etc..

    Girish Pant

    Reply to this comment
  19. sagar | November 15th, 2008 at 5:22 am

    have read both ur articles on marriage.
    Though married for a year after reading through ur post there is a sense of deja vu, and a feeling Oops I should not have one that.

    Reply to this comment
  20. Sunny | May 26th, 2010 at 3:54 am

    nice article…. truly said is that being distant is as important in marriage as is being together…
    Well, though I m a single now, I find your words to be a precautionary measure for future….. N yes, I feel that right amount of salt is significant not only in marriage relation but also in all other relations!
    .-= Sunny´s awesome post ..Return of my beloved! =-.

    Reply to this comment

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