Stop the presses! We have discovered the most important ingredient of a successful marriage! And you know what it is? The answer is . . . drum roll, please . . . allowing time for those who inhabit the relationship to be alone!
Successfully married couples around the world over our past 30+ years of interviews have told us this very simple truth during our interviews with them – the secret to their successful marriage is having time to be all to themselves – to their own thoughts, their own meditations, their own self, and their own physical space.
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Isn’t this an interesting notion? In the best marital relationships between a man and a woman, having time alone tops the chart of what makes their marriage work. You can take this advice to the bank!
We have heard this expression, or some variation of it, over and over during our travels and interviews on the world’s seven continents. The amazing consistency of the stories we have heard about aloneness have surprised us on the one hand, but have assured us on the other. Here’s why.
This is what we have learned to be true – the most important ingredient of a successful marriage is to be content with yourself. Only those who are capable and willing to spend time alone can be described as content with themselves.
This contentment with self is so very important to a successful marriage. What we have learned from these successfully married couples is this – if you can’t live in your own skin, it is difficult to share yourself with someone else. Being content with oneself is the pre-requisite to engaging in a healthy, happy, and successful relationship with another human being.
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There are many lessons to be learned from this notion of aloneness in a successful marriage, but the most essential are:
The most important pre-requisite to a successful relationship with another person is this – being content with yourself. Learn to live within your own skin. Liking you comes first. Liking yourself allows for the development of positive relationships with others. Work on this notion as if your marriage depended on it!
Respecting your own need for privacy and aloneness is an important first step in building a loving relationship with your spouse. There is a fundamental predisposition of every human being to have time alone. Recognizing and understanding that need in yourself and your spouse is a huge step towards building a love that lasts.
Aloneness is not a bad word! Spending time alone is good for everyone. Not recognizing this need can be highly detrimental to your relationship with the one you love. Learn this lesson well. If you never give yourself or the one you love time to be alone, you do so at the detriment of your relationship.
Too many failed marriages report to us this fact with alarming consistency – their spouse would not give them time to be alone to themselves. When we probed the meaning of all this they reported to us one important finding – "My spouse suffocates me!" The meaning of suffocation in a nutshell – I had no time to my own thoughts, my own being, and my own feelings. My spouse did not respect my need nor their own, to be alone. The suffocation destroyed our marriage!
- We feel assured that the need to be alone is a "universal truth." Successfully and happily married couples around the world have reported this "truth" to us repeatedly and overtly. This notion is not an American thing. It is not a European thing. It is not an Asian thing. The secret ingredient for the best marriages around the world is to respect the need for privacy and aloneness in yourself and in the one you love. Never forget it! All successful marriages are built on this foundation.