We have been married for over 25 years and have a good marriage. My wife wants to take a marriage class but I don't think we need it. Who is right? – J. B., Evansville
Congratulations on your 25-plus years of marriage. I commend you both for the work you have done to maintain a good marriage over the years.
You are at odds with your wife in this situation because you both are looking at it from two different perspectives. Because you have a good marriage, you feel there is no need to improve or enrich your marriage. Many couples in good marriages tend to feel this way.
However, your wife's perspective is that your good marriage could be even better. When one person in the marriage wants to pursue marriage enrichment it does not necessarily mean there is a problem. In your case, it means that your wife believes there is room for growth in your marriage relationship.
It is normal for a woman to be more in tune to the marriage relationship. In general women are more social. They are nurturers and caretakers, tending to be the ones to coordinate the calendar or call or send a card when someone is ill. Your wife's desire to attend a marriage class is an indication that she is caring for your relationship and wants the best for the two of you.
Take a moment to think about why you are hesitant to attend a marriage class. Is it because you fear it will change your relationship? Is it too much of a time commitment? Are you concerned others will think your marriage is in trouble?
There is a misconception in our culture that couples in a good marriage have no need for a marriage class. Truth is, while your marriage may be good, it's not perfect because there are no perfect people. Every marriage could use a boost from time to time, and it's important to make your marriage a priority. We take the time to bring our cars in for tuneups. We get an annual physical. We go to the dentist on a regular basis. We do these things to maintain and prevent future problems. If we take the time to care for our health and our belongings, wouldn't it be wise to spend time caring for our marriage? A marriage class is a great way to do this. It is time well spent and it's good positive marriage maintenance.
Having been married for more than 25 years, you know that selflessness and compromise are important in marriage. We all tend to have a selfish nature at times. Within marriage, it's important to put this selfish nature aside to serve and please our spouse. Agreeing to the marriage class would not only please your wife, but it would enhance your marriage and draw the two of you closer together.
It's a great feeling to be happy and content in your marriage; however I would encourage you to consider your wife's request.
John Phillips is executive director of Community Marriage Builders. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. CMB is a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating and equipping the community for lifetime marriages.
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