In other articles I claim that big things like love and security don’t provide enough glue to stabilize marriage. Disappointments with each other and little irritants register negatively often with ten times more impact. They chomp away and eat the glue. If enough glue-eating occurs, spouses separate.
Three glues bond together better and more permanently. Their existence prevents disappointments from getting too big and irritants becoming too impressive. In essence, all three work as balm, as suppressants for more volatile emotions. These glues are mutual respect, mutual influence within the family unit, and mutual lack of fear of losing one’s spouse.
Mutual is the key and fair and balanced turns the key to unlock marital stability. Fair and balanced means that both spouses are satisfied both as to what they are giving to and receiving from the other. Mutual acceptance doesn’t have to be equal, just satisfying and at least okay to the mind of both spouses.
Respect intermixes across all roles—man, woman, husband, wife, father, mother, male, female—and extends to the most important role, which is respect for one’s spouse as a person. When mutual respect is fair and balanced, living together begins to sing.
Influence within the family, when fair and balanced, enables daily interactions to flow smoothly. Both spouses clearly know their roles and respect the other’s. Both recognize and accept the other’s authority to make decisions in their respective domains. Successful negotiation about difficult issues becomes simple if not easy. When mutual influence is fair and balanced, living together begins to harmonize.
Marital stability starts with fair and balanced lack of fear of losing one’s spouse. All else weakens when fair and balanced goes awry. One spouse figures he/she can do without the other. Spoken or just thought, fair and balanced is gone.
Lack of fear of losing one’s spouse enables everything else to become and remain fair and balanced. If and when fear disturbs fair and balanced, the malady spreads to mutual respect, mutual influence, and other more minor glues. However, when lack of fear is fair and balanced, marital singing and harmonizing are made possible.*
*No doubt purists wonder how to balance two negatives, so I offer this: If neither spouse even thinks about separating or dumping the other, fair and balanced can be assumed.