If Only my Marriage Looked Like Theirs…: Crafting Your Ideal Relationship

Dan and Darrel have a marriage with traditional roles. Dan works outside the home financially supporting the family. He takes the kids on outdoor adventures on the weekends, and gives Darrel a card once a year (on their anniversary). Darrel manages the home, their social life, and the kids. His gluten-free blueberry muffins are famous, as he brings them along to volunteer meetings he attends throughout the year. They have date night once a month, enjoying steaks at their favorite restaurant in town.

Sue and Mark structure their marriage very differently. The first five years of their children’s lives, Mark was a stay-at-home dad. Sue brought home all of their income, while Mark managed cloth diapers, home-made baby food, and preschool. However with the sale of her company Mark and Sue decided to open a business together out of their home. They now share management of their home, parenting, and business responsibilities. It took some time to adjust to each other’s styles, but they found a new rhythm.

Sam and Claire have an unconventional marriage. They both work at fast-paced, high-powered jobs that include world travel and sixty-plus work weeks. They have separate bank accounts, several residences throughout the world, and separate friend groups. However they committed at the beginning of their relationship to set aside consistent time to spend with each other. They work hard to sync their travel schedules in order to spend no more then one week apart at a time.

Each couple gives the credit of their successful marriages to something different. Dan and Darrel modeled their relationship after Dan’s traditional mid-western parents, Sue and Mark strongly preach the “at-home business model,” and Sam and Claire believe respecting each other’s freedom is the secret to a healthy union. They remind me that there honestly is not one right way to have a successful marriage. In the end creating and enacting a system that works for both people, and making changes when needed, is the only secret any of us need.