DEFINITION: ‘Success’ is an imperfect marriage with sufficient attractions that a couple remains connected permanently. IOW, they stay together regardless of interruptions or causes that could justify separation but are outweighed by the benefits of their togetherness.
Well, how do couples do that? The wife works at it until the husband becomes Mr. Right.
The strategy for courtship is to find mutual love. The strategy for marriage is to develop success in living together. The strategy for marriage that lasts a lifetime is to take love for granted and develop a more successful process that puts the wife in charge and fuels husband’s determination to remain together. She’s in charge, and he finds her irreplaceable.
Rather than detailing how marital success occurs, allow me to start at the far end and work backwards. From stable longevity to what causes it. This husband wants very much to remain married for life.
Husband is satisfied with himself that he is where he wants to be, doing what he wants to do, and doing it with whom he wants to do it. His main satisfaction, however, depends on other satisfactions that involve the wife, specifically these:
- He is satisfied with her as a woman and would choose her above others.
- He is satisfied living with her and doesn’t care to explore it with others.
- He is satisfied that his decision to marry her was a great decision, and he admires his clear-sightedness and boldness to move out of bachelorhood/solitary life and into the unknown with her (see post 2558 for details of his decision-making problems). Marriage became the adventure he expected and had the courage to choose. His self-admiration arose out of that. He’s proud of himself for having done the right thing, and wife’s daily presence and marital performance favorably remind how wise his decision.
Without that major and those input satisfactions in the husband’s heart, success easily fades. Their continued marital success depends much more on what she does to make him a satisfied man than a well-loved husband.
Wives don’t understand. They think love endures, which it does in the heart but doesn’t seal their deal to live together forever.
A wife’s love is not much of a satisfier for husband. Her love of him did not enter the picture of his satisfactions above. That she does love him adds certainty and assures husband that their relationship will continue. That she expects her love to keep them together isn’t foolish but misplaced; it’s his life that he primarily focuses on to earn the self-admiration and accomplish the marital success that motivates him to continue as her husband.
In the final analysis, self-interest always comes before love except in the romantic notions of females. Wife is by far the most important of mates, because husband’s satisfaction depends on wife’s actions that uplift him more than put him down.
Morphing her man from husband to Mr. Right revolves on this strategy she learns to perfect over the early years of marriage. She comes to love her life with him even more than she loves him; the exaggeration is purposeful but that’s the way it appears. She builds their life together until she finds it ultra satisfying compared to sitting around cuddled up every night. Their life together becomes her dream, and she works so competently that he sees nothing but satisfaction in her. By focusing more on the future than the present, she shines as relationship manager and breathes satisfaction into his views of her and their togetherness. Her value grows as he admires himself for having married and learned to live with her.
Thus, he finds rewards to satisfy his life. What’s in it for her?
It depends on how the wife views herself worthy of her own efforts and learns to satisfy him into neutrality about her freedom to act as she sees fit. If she follows her heart, she glorifies herself at least to herself. She finds glory in finally getting her way, in being where she wants to be, in doing what she wants to do, and doing it with whom she wants to do it. The roots of conviction for doing the right things are plentiful:
- She fulfills her girlhood dreams.
- He morphs into Mr. Right.
- He acts devoted to her sufficiently well that she feels adored, senses his devotion, and appears glorified with what she has sought so much of for so long. That is, husband’s supreme attention, well-earned respect, and dependable presence made obvious in daily communication.
- She doesn’t need to be told everything. He’s not skilled enough to recognize what all she does for both him and her. With his input still not as superlative as she would like, she recognizes herself to be an important and appreciated mate, teammate, and exalted partner worthy of special enshrinement. On some matters, she has to depend upon herself for full confirmation.
Note this difference: First, her treatment of their life together makes him satisfied with her and what she does. Second, based on his satisfactions, his revised-upward treatment of her glorifies her as a good woman. Marital success achieved.