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how to make marriage really last for a lifetime

Updated on December 21, 2014
C.V.Rajan profile image

C.V.Rajan is a retired Engineer and a spiritual seeker.With inquisitive observation of life, he writes on several human relationship issues.

A good marriage is like a delicacy. The recipe should be complete, all the ingredients must be in right proportions, the cooking should be done on the fire over the stipulated time and served neatly and sumptuously when hungry. A marriage can last for ever, just like the lingering taste of a well prepared delicacy, provided all the aspects and ingredients of marriage are perfect.

When something slightly goes amiss in cooking, an expert chef knows how to adjust and manipulate contents to ensure that the end product is ensured to be of acceptable quality. In a similar way, partners in marriage should also know the knack of adjusting for the sake of ensuring long lasting relationship in marriage.

What are the successful ingredients of a marriage that can last for ever?

In India, the reverence to the institution of marriage and family bondage are very strong. When a woman marries, she literally marries a family.
In India, the reverence to the institution of marriage and family bondage are very strong. When a woman marries, she literally marries a family. | Source

Trust in the sanctity of the institution of marriage

Marriage is just not for ensuring an outlet for the natural sexual urges for human body alone; it is a socially acceptable and time-tested practice followed across all human societies for the canalization of sexual energy in a respectable way to ensure continuation of progeny. In this process, the trust and commitment of the couple to each other is basic. The aim of marriage is a life-long togetherness for mutual care, support and for bringing up children as worthy citizens of the future.

For these to be ensured, a basic, almost "religious" trust in the institution of marriage is of paramount importance. Any marriage proposal based on fleeting attraction of the opposite sexes, mostly glorified as love for the sake of legitimacy, without a sense of commitment for long term relationship can never ensure longevity of marriage.

Of course, things can go awry in a marital relationship. Failures of marriage may be seen as the only practical reality of life all around. But that should not be a cause for entering into marital relationship without the basic trust in the sanctity of marriage. You cannot make prayers without faith in God.

Mutual respect and affection

Love is a word, which is too emotional, many times very artificially interpreted, frequently confused with love-making and many times having too short a life a span in marriage. For a marriage to last for ever, the transient love should mature in to mutual affection with an element of respect for each other. The respect need not be interpreted like the type of respect children of previous generations were expected to hold on their parents.

It is respect combined with intimacy; giving credit to the other person what is rightfully due; giving the independent breathing space; showing respect the other's relatives and friends; giving respect to the other's principles, values and beliefs; having trust in each other.

Need for a good foundation

Love and love-making enliven the marriage in early stages and undoubtedly they are essential ingredients in the formative stages of marriage. However, in a long lasting marriage, what is basic staple food in the beginning turns to a "side dish" over time! This should be natural. Satiating hunger of the flesh should not be the long lasting role of love and sex in marriage.


Being self-centered: Yes. Being selfish: No

There is a thick veil of difference between being self-centered and being selfish. Many people do not grasp the difference between the two.

Every individual has physical, emotional and intellectual needs - income/ financial freedom, creature comforts, love, care, respect, social status etc. If people go behind acquiring these needs with least concern about the trouble and discomfort caused to others in the process, they are selfish. On the other hand, as long as one goes in pursuit of acquiring these needs without intentionally and arrogantly causing trouble and inconvenience to the spouse in a marital relationship, they are self-centered needs.

When the spouse is willing to adjust, accommodate and even sacrifice to some extent to the self-centered needs of the partner, the marriage can last for ever but certainly not under selfish machinations of one over the other partner.

Absence of egotism

Strange though it may be, it is not uncommon to see people, who are basically far less egoistic with friends and relatives, behaving egoistically with their spouses! Some women will talk freely many personal matters with friends, cut jokes, allow others close to them to make fun of them but they will not be found be so free and jovial with their husbands. Some husbands too behave in a similar way. Some husbands will not tolerate their wives cutting jokes about their idiosyncrasies in public.

Some wives will flare up if their husband cracks any jokes about their culinary skills amidst his relatives. Some will not tolerate even slight criticism about their looks or habits by their spouses. The husband and wife may have been living together for several years but you won't find the casualness of a good friendship between them.

Lack of egotism in the relationship between husband and wife is of prime importance in ensuring a lasting relationship with a bond that will be visible to others. With such a quality built in the psyche, forgiving and forgetting comes naturally. A bitter fight of today can be laughed off across the dining table the very next day, without leaving a taste of bitterness behind.

Accept the difference between a man and woman

Another wrong concept that breaks the basics of marriage is the idea of equality between man and woman in marriage. Man and woman are not equal. They join in relationship to complement each other - not to become equal to each other. A woman's power lies in her capacity to love, give, share and care. A man's power lies in being the bread winner, the protector and the leader. Man dominates by physical means and a woman balances and tames him by her emotional strength.

Where this basic difference is clearly understood, the marriage can last for ever.


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    • C.V.Rajan profile image

      Disillusioned 3 years ago from Kerala, India

      Of course ,Kate. Woman can walk the walk, but can't stop the talk!

    • Kate Mc Bride profile image

      Kate McBride 3 years ago from Donegal Ireland

      My husband was very impulsive one time and I couldn't depend on him Sometimes he still gets a bit cross(we call cross "crabbit" in Ireland ;-). Maybe the men act and the women talk . Women have to walk the walk as well as talking the talk all the same. Do you agree?

    • C.V.Rajan profile image

      Disillusioned 3 years ago from Kerala, India

      Very true Kate. It is extremely difficult for a woman to communicate with a man who talks a few words; if he could somehow express his love in a way his wife understands, he is saved. But some woman would not be happy unless a man says things verbally too.

      My father was very nice-hearted, non-talkative, unemotional type but was always supportive. My mother was somehow perennially unhappy with him! His supportive actions were not sufficient at all for her!

    • Kate Mc Bride profile image

      Kate McBride 3 years ago from Donegal Ireland

      The metaphor of lions in the circus is very good C.V. Rajan. Sometimes a woman has to "read" a man if he is not a talker which can be very frustrating for both if the communication is not good sometimes-just takes a bit of work and patience on both sides.

    • C.V.Rajan profile image

      Disillusioned 3 years ago from Kerala, India

      Thank you Abdullah, for your continuous encouragement!


    • C.V.Rajan profile image

      Disillusioned 3 years ago from Kerala, India


      You are quite right on what you said as to when wife is the sole bread winner. But one thing I observed is such a life is that males are like the lions in the circus. While most animals will obey and perform as per the diction of the ring master, lions will show their reluctance, resistance and irritation to obey; They will roar at the ring master; threaten him; but finally, fearing the punishment, they will obey very grudgingly!

    • C.V.Rajan profile image

      Disillusioned 3 years ago from Kerala, India

      Thank you Lindapringle for your detailed views!


    • m abdullah javed profile image

      muhammad abdullah javed 3 years ago

      Very impressive write cv rajan. Thanks for sharing. You have pointed out very valid points to strengthen the sacred contract between the two. While dealing with it you have nicely described the Indian culture too. Voted up.

    • Kate Mc Bride profile image

      Kate McBride 3 years ago from Donegal Ireland

      You are right to some extent C.V. Rajan. If the woman is the spouse who is the breadwinner it is up to the man to adopt some of the sharing,caring, giving and loving roles. When a man can understand and accept that, he will have more peace. A woman deserves to have a life of her own not just a wife and mother role. The old way of a woman satisying man's needs while he satisfies his own and keeps her dependent on him is an out-dated myth.

    • lyndapringle profile image

      Lynda Pringle 3 years ago from Austin, Texas

      This was a useful article about what makes marriage works. Mutual respect is very important-respecting each other's differing interests, opinions and respect for what they bring into the marriage. Providing each other with necessary space is also important. Both partners work very hard and sometimes need time alone to unwind during the evening and that should be granted by the spouse. Another key to a successful marriage is the art of compromise. Couples have differing tastes but no view should ever be imposed over the other. Surely, they can find a compromise in values or material décor that, while not completely pleasing to one of them, satisfies the both.

      As you say, marriage is a smorgasboard of recipes that, when cooked with love and delicacy, can indeed be very successful.