If anything that can really make a marriage work, in fact work wonders, it is the attitude the spouses adopt towards one another. Seldom are two people alike and expecting that marriages of only like-minded people succeed is a failed assumption. It is how the two behave and conduct themselves with one another that makes a heaven or hell of marriage. Many things can be said in this regard. In my humble opinion, the success-attitude in marriage can be summed by four F’s: forbearance, friendship, forgiveness and fidelity.
Forbearance means that spouses must exercise patience and self-control in accepting each others’ personality especially in areas where both have conflicting habits and tendencies. As Tolstoy once famously put it: “What counts in making a happy marriage is not so much as how compatible you are, but how you deal with incompatibility.” Empathizing with the other is the key word here. Working out a conflict resolution strategy is also part of this forbearance attitude.
Friendship needs no explanation. Nietzsche once so very aptly wrote: “It is not the lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.” To be a friend in every sense of the word is needed. Friendship is the name of a complete attitude. Friends hides the faults of friends; they encourage one another; they fall-back on one another; they are confidantes of one another; they put themselves into pain and discomfort to provide relief and comfort to one another; they do not score points; they are always grateful for what their friends have for them; they support one another in their psychological, emotional and financial needs. The pinnacle of friendship is to become soul-mates of one another.
Forgiveness means to overlook and ignore blemishes of one another and not maintain a register of mistakes. It means not to be on the lookout for mistakes and foregoing and forgetting. If spouses adopt this attitude, they will build mutual confidence and also develop the courage to share each and every thing. If a person is prepared to share his or her faults, it is quite likely that many other issues will be shared.
Fidelity means that the spouses vouch to remain sincere with each other at all levels. It is generally associated with sexual fidelity. However, it has a much deeper connotation. It means that the spouses will reserve their emotional attachment to one another. This starts with guarding the gaze and not lusting after others not only in the real world but also in the virtual world of the internet. In other words, the spouses should not let anyone get between them in the slightest way. More often than not it is some weakness or shortcoming in one spouse that makes the other find its remedy in someone else. We only need to think that every single person is fraught with shortcomings. The remedy is to look into the qualities a spouse has and forgo and ignore the shortcomings.