Marriage - an essential partnership
I am coming to you this week from beautiful Lake George, New York where we traveled for a family wedding between young people who have known each other since grade school. The wedding was postponed three times since the beginning of the pandemic and the perseverance and resilience this couple demonstrated in not giving up or changing course will no doubt serve them well in their married life together.
Acting as officiant, performing their ceremony, inspired me to take the opportunity to reflect on the importance of a strong marital bond for overall health, happiness and even longevity.
We humans need connection. There is no doubt about that. Since the moment we looked with joy and nurturing into our mother’s eyes while being fed, we have craved that kind of joyful ecstasy of being connected to another human being. Attachment theory, in fact, stems from attachments between mother and infant and the degree of security we felt during those early moments. Whether we felt security then predicts the security we may or may not feel in our adult relationships.
But marriage involves more than just recreating a loving bond. In fact, this particular couple also bonded over the fact that they had each lost a biologic parent in their early childhood. This shared experience provided them necessary qualities for any successful romantic union: Empathy , compassion, courage and connection. Their shared vulnerability will serve them well as they move forward, navigating the treacherous waters of a long life partnership. The similarities of their developmental history will help them communicate through their inevitable marital “rough spots”.
As I got to know this couple, saw how they interacted during their wedding ceremony and with family and friends afterward, I realized they already hold the keys to successful relationship - keys we should all learn - the ability to see their partner and make them feel that they matter. Witnessing the love and connection this young couple has for each other will help me in all my relationships, and I hope learning about them will help you in yours!
Dr. John Monaco