What’s good about marriage?

marriage, alternative, partnershipOne of my recent grooms, on his stag do, asked his married friends ‘what’s good about marriage?’ and was met with a mixture of silence and non-committal mumbling. Not very reassuring. Happily, he went ahead with getting hitched, but I promised I’d ask my Facebook followers the same question and pass on the answers. And look what a lovely flood of happily married answers I got! Martin, this is for you:

“Sharing your life with someone.”  (Holly Boult)

“A hand to hold, an arm around you, a shoulder to cry on.” (Lynn Tierney)

“The commitment that you made in a connected, loving space keeps you grounded when your emotions are telling you to walk out the door! In other words it’s a line in the sand that reminds you of what’s important to you, in times of joy, confusion, stress, anger, hope etc. Also, sharing your life with someone, being supported and supporting someone else. Growing together.” (Thea Jolly)

“Someone who’s got your back. Knows the worst about you but still loves you and cheers you on. Someone to do life with, share the big things but mostly the small things. Someone to keep rediscovering.” (Val Gayes)

“Being on the same team.” (Gemma Morris)

“We have become best friends. Both entirely grateful we met each other and don’t have to carry on looking for a partner as we found ‘the one’ (and we are both a little introverted) – and from where I am Jon makes an awesome cuppa!” (Carron Dymond)

“Companionship, growing together and laughing so much. Sharing, respecting and loving to the moon and back.” (Joyanne Williamson)

“I met my husband almost 22 years ago. We moved in together the day after I invited him for dinner. I simply LOVE being with him and never get sick of his easy and loving companionship. I have never felt more liberated than I have being married. We recently were blessed with our first grandchild. Life just keeps getting better. My husband is ALWAYS kind, thoughtful, authentic and loving.” (Veronika Robinson)

“For me it was religious – God’s hand on our relationship… And I knew that if I ever kill him then I get the lot… ;-)” (Jo Goldenberg)

“There is something tangibly different from ‘being in a relationship’ and ‘being married’, I think. There is an extra invisible layer of security and mutual comfort far beyond just a piece of paper and a name change. The feeling of being able to call someone my wife goes far beyond any time I said ‘girlfriend’ or ‘partner’. It’s a recognition of commitment not just to each other but to the world. An open and eternal declaration of love that binds you to each other. Psychologically speaking, you evaluate things differently, as your starting point is much more geared towards ‘us’, ‘we’ etc, rather ‘I’ and ‘me’. For me there was nothing remotely religious about getting married. Despite being a committed atheist (or anti-theist as some would say!), I got married in a church because I love my wife and knew how much it meant to her, and I would do anything to make that day the best of her life, and I told her and the vicar that. I’ve never considered myself to be ‘somebody’s’, and anyone who has met my wife would know she definitely doesn’t consider herself to be ‘mine’! But the change in our status from ‘being a couple/ in a relationship’ to being ‘married’ did have a profound effect on both of us. For the first year I felt a complete phoney calling her my ‘wife’, like I was not mature enough to be married, but the positive reassurance it gave us meant our relationship could grow beyond what we had before. There is a huge amount of historical and cultural weight behind it, and by getting married I feel I have joined a journey that so many millions of people over thousands of years have embarked on.” (Kit Houghton)

“I thought about it and I guess I want to be someone’s wife. Just like I take pride in when my son calls me mom. Even if no one is there to hear it but me, those words make my heart burst with love, pride and joy. To have someone want to keep me all to themselves, to have a bond that no one else has had, a piece of me only theirs for all eternity. Calling me their wife and me calling them my husband. Having that piece of them that no one else has had.” (Adele Wilkinson)

“It is about being each other’s family unit.” (Jessica Smart)

“For me marriage is about being with my best friend for the rest of our lives. Knowing I can rely on him 100% to be there for me no matter what and being there for him. Yes marriage is hard at times but the hard times make the relationship stronger. For me it also gives my children a secure home where they know they are loved beyond words and will always be safe.” (Fiona Cameron)

“A marriage is that I have my best friend for life and he has me, and we love and appreciate each other every day and we also have a great family unit. We have grown together over the years, nearly 30 to be exact. I love him just as much as I did back then if not more. It’s about being there and sharing a life together. We are as solid as our wedding bands.” (Gail Young)

“Having your best friend always there, in good times and bad. My husband is my rock and my hero (38 years married)” (Sue Ireland)

“You get a best friend, someone you always want to be on the best of terms with. Someone who understands and sees through your character flaws. Someone who wants the best for you and wants you to succeed. A team mate for life and love.” (Zoe Tamplin)

“My first marriage was deeply unhappy and I suffered domestic violence and coercive control. I felt trapped and crushed. My next relationship was deeply unequal, two children but I never felt I was in a partnership and I didn’t love him. Then I met my now husband, all the cliches, knew I’d met my other half etc and we married 8 weeks later. The best thing about marriage is that total commitment to each other, when it’s the right person. I liken it to a sleep over with my best friend every night. I have his total support and he has mine, without question. It’s equality, being taken seriously and being listened to, as well as having huge respect for the other person. It’s feeling part of a team, a partnership that is declared to the work. There is deep comfort in being a Mrs, someone wants to spend all their life by my side and equally I want to be by theirs, it is a wonderful feeling of total acceptance.” (Rebecca Cook)

“Life is much more fun when you go Two Player.” (Guy Steddon)

“The feeling of being loved unconditionally. The companionship and the realisation someone loved me enough to want to spend the rest of their life with me.” (Deborah Ann)

“Someone to trust with your deepest secrets. Who will be by your side for life.” (Carol Prior)

“I’ve been married to my best friend for 17 years and through thick and thin we are a team. It takes a good sense of humour and chocolate! We are just best friends and work together really well during a crisis. We have an autistic son and we both adore him and as we both had a similar upbringing we sing from the same songsheet. The other thing is we work hard at it and don’t give up on us at the first hurdle.” (Helen Betteridge)

“It can be the best thing in the world if you are married to the right person. The converse is also true – it can be the worst. For me, I did not really believe it was necessary and yet now, having ‘upgraded’ our civil partnership to marriage it just feels special. I feel like as a couple we have been underlined/highlighted by being married and that’s nice.” (Susan Joy)

“My marriage is a space where I can be myself. I show the absolute best and worst sides of myself to my husband. We give each other the time and space to do what we love. Sometimes that involves doing things separately sometimes together. We are proud of each other’s achievements. Our marriage is a commitment that requires working on, tweaking, re-negotiating as situations change. But the one thing that never changes is our vow.” (Sue Isaacs)

And Claire Smith shared this wonderful quotation by Dinah Craik as her answer: “Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person; having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but to pour them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, knowing that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then, with a breath of kindness, blow the rest away.”

I’d say that was a pretty comprehensive set of answers, wouldn’t you? I’d love to hear your thoughts too, so do leave a comment if you’d like to share your ideas.