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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

In Praise of the Average Marriage

Go for the Gold!

And we see the silly spectacle of Olympic athletes crying because they only got a silver or bronze medal.

It's better to aim high and miss the mark, than to aim low and make it.

Accept nothing less than greatness! And if you're not great, your lesser victory means nothing, really.

As a society, we're in love with superlatives. The biggest, the fastest, the best.

We worship champions, and those who provided the worthy competitions are derided as also-rans. We boo them.

How many people have lived unfulfilled lives, and unrealized dreams, because they aimed too high, and couldn't be content with the small happiness that was on offer?

The same thing is true for marriage. I mean, look at some of the book titles that are out there...

  • Passionate Marriage
  • A Short Guide to a Happy Marriage
  • Good Husband, Great Marriage
  • 12 Hours to a Great Marriage
You get the point.

But what about marriages that aren't really passionate, and rub along relatively well, with commitment and comradeship, but without anything even remotely reminiscent of that honeymoon feeling?

Are they to be put down, because they don't go for the gold, or because they hit a lower mark?

Do we always have to be looking ahead to the Elysian future?

I don't think so. I think that it's time to celebrate the marriage that simply works. So what if you don't have the 10-second kisses recommended by Gary Chapman? (Or if you do, both of you have your eyes open, watching for which kid is going to put the cat in the china cabinet...again.)

So what if you don't have great sex? For a lot of forty-year-olds, one night of unbridled reckless passion means six visits to a chiropractor, and how to you explain why you're there to his teenage receptionist? Ugh.

So you take it slow, and one or both of you falls asleep halfway through...but what's wrong with that? At least you're together.

And so what if your husband's idea of a romantic gift is a toaster oven? Maybe he's seen what a pain it is for you to make a small meal in a big oven, or that bending down to the range oven hurts your back...and he's looking for a way to make your life easier.

More Ernest Borgnine than Brad Pitt, but is that a crime?

And what about your wife, who is too tired for sex, but who'll slip off your workboots while you're watching TV, and give your feet a wash and a massage?

If we look at what we've got, we may find that great is actually our address, and Paradise is resident in our home.

This post is linked to Wedded Wednesday, a compendium of really cool posts on marriage. If you click on the logo below, you'll be taken to www.messymarriage.com, which is the springboard to a wealth of information.


  1. I've actually struggled with the converse of this, Andrew. You're probably going to scratch your head and say, "Come again?" But I have felt like there are many high platform writers who've gotten to that position because they overcame the destruction of an affair. So as I've worked on my Messy Marriage (rough draft) book, I've felt a little inadequate that my problems were sort of "mediocre." And yet, I know that there are many out there who can relate to mediocre. I like your observation about the common marriage books out there. I've not really thought about it, but it's true. I suppose no one wants to title their book, "Turn Your Marriage from Bad to Ordinary." ha! But I totally get what you're trying to say. Perfection and idealism can wreck a marriage just as quickly as laziness and indifference. Thanks for another thought-provoking post, my friend!

  2. 'It's better to aim high and miss the mark, than to aim low and make it.'

    Now that, Andrew, is a keeper. In every area of living. Let's keep going for it, even if the goal seems impossible to reach.

    No regrets, no matter what the results. We're at peace knowing we did our best ...

  3. Such a great post. I like to think that any steps at improving your marriage are good ideas, but I don't buy that our love for our partner still needs to carry that passionate "falling in love" feeling all. the. time. It's not doable. It's not real. I love my husband deeply, and I think we have a great marriage, but it's probably not great "enough" if I were to read some of these marriage books.

  4. "If we look at what we've got, we may find that great is actually our address, and Paradise is resident in our home."

    I love your examples of this, Andrew. Often what we have can be gold to us, if we'll stop comparing it to unrealistic movie images or even our imaginations. I'm definitely thankful for my husband and the marriage we have; it's not perfect, but it's gold to me.

  5. What a wonderful post. Full of humor and insight. I need to read more. Thanks so much for sharing this at Let's Get Real today. I have a family member who is all about the superlatives. What that leads to is nobody and nothing are ever good enough. She planted doubts in me about my marriage, family, and career. I finally had to come out of her spell and look around to realize that I have things pretty good. I'm not wealthy in money, but am wealthy with love and that I wouldn't trade for anything. We don't take glamorous vacations, but we do hold hands every time that we drive in a car together. Life is really pretty sweet if you let it be. Thanks for the encouragment.