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22 May 2004

A perfect marriage? is there such a thing
after 14 years of marriage and we are in our early 30's, I was wondering if there is such a thing as a perfect marriage. Sure it's been tough, we've had our problems but today we have beautiful kids, a thriving business and are very happy together. We are each other's best friend and I worry sometimes with all our friends and families failing relationships if we are still to have our setbacks. I try to offer the best possible advice and feel so bad sometimes that I get told how lucky I am. My friend is contemplating going back to her abusive live in boyfriend only becos ,and I quote, rather the devil you know..... she was in tears telling me how her life has never been plain sailing. Is it the choices we make in the end, or do we all get our chance at happiness/misery?
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Expert
CyberShrink
cybershrink

01 Jan 0001

Hi Sammi,
I suppose it all depends on what you mean as perfect. Marriages as perfect as one could possibly imagine ? Probably rare. Marriages realistically happy, supportive, and comforting over time --- not rare. Yours sounds like one of the best variety, and part of that (isn;t it ?) is that issue of being really good friends, rather than merely in love.
Maybe you two are fortunate, but it's hardly luck of the gamblers sort, as I;m sure you have both worked at the relationship to achieve it's present state. Your friend's example is instructive and sadly typical --- only someone who is falsely convinced that all men are devils and every relationship is Hell, would ever dream of opting for "the devil you know". Wht not rather start hunting for the angel you don't know YET ?
Surely it is predominantly the choices we make --- by insisting, as she might be doing, on making really lousy choices, we can ensure that even the most potentially idyllic relationship will fail, or by making better choices, we can make initially unpromising relationships work.
Then there's the problem of people who insist on marrying NOT the man or woman in front of them, but the man or woman they foolisly believe they can turn that person into. Don't marry someone who needs a complete mental and social makeover, brain surgery, and years of postgraduate study. Buying a house, you can afford to get a "fixer-up" and spend the weekends transforming them, but with people --- don't marry a fixer-up.
Sammi --- be very careful. Don't allow yourself to feel guilty or excessively bad about your friends stupid choices --- that can easily become a reaction that apart from making you miserable, actively facilitates the continuation of the abuse. Nothing she has chosen is your fault, and she is insisting on deliberately deluding herself into believing all his lies about how good things will believe in the future. It's so easy to get away with lyign to someone who desperately wants to believe in the lie.
Abusive relations so typically illustrate the tragic triumph of hope over reality. It remains her responsibility to make and stick to the right decision. You can only advicse, support, and remind her that she is not responsible for him abusing her, and that abusers always make nice promises when their victim escapes.
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