Success in Marriage

Written by Jane Brooks

how to have a successful marriageColumnist Jane Brooks comments on a joyful, contemporary marriage steeped in family tradition.

Last weekend, I attended my dear friends' daughter's wedding. I've known the bride, 32, since she was a teen and babysat my kids. I witnessed her crazy diets and met her many boyfriends.

So it was with delight that I watched this exquisite young woman, whose deep dimples and joie de vivre illuminate a room, unite with her handsome, an intelligent, compassionate prince. While "made in heaven" might be going a tad overboard, theirs was a union brimming with joy and optimism.

I pondered why this wedding seemed more blissful than others.  For example, one I attended last year although that couple was happy, too. At 41, the groom was 10 years older than his bride, both had waited years to find a soul mate.

how we choose our partnersMarriage expert Harville Hendrix calls finding our soul mate an "Imago" match. Watch this video of how we choose our partners where he explains why we are attracted to a certain type.

Their wedding was extravagantly elegant, full of ritual and pageantry. The bride and groom performed their roles flawlessly, yet there was something missing. It was too rehearsed, too planned. What struck me about Deborah and Neil's wedding was how uniquely "them" it was, how full of energy, spontaneity and passion. As Deborah floated down the aisle toward him, Neil's eyes glistened, love spilling out in his tears. Everyone laughed when he reached to kiss his bride, before the ceremony, tradition forgotten.

How marvelous to see how their bodies leaned into each other, their fingers intertwined. When Neil spoke the vows that he had written, his voice broke with emotion as Deborah's megawatt smile beamed him on. She, swaying and bouncing, was barely able to contain her excitement and her giggle was slightly audible.

It may have taken Neil a while to get over his commitment phobia but when he did, he was totally ready. No trial cohabitation needed for a couple that wanted to bind their lives together in marriage.

This was a couple that wished to follow the model laid before them by parents together for more than three decades, parents who managed to work through the trials of marriage and celebrate the triumphs. These are families that have spent lots of time laughing and enjoying each other.

When Deborah and Neil tied the knot last weekend, it was with rope reinforced with decades of family support and love, rope strong enough to pull the heavy load of a lengthy marriage, taut enough to withstand the tug of war that is inevitable through the years.

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