The Marriage Triangle

“There’s one sad truth in life I’ve found while journeying east and west – the only folks we really wound are those we love the best. We flatter those we scarcely know, we please the fleeting guest, and deal full many a thoughtless blow to those who love us best.” –– Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Think of your marriage as a triangle with lovers, friends, and partners as its sides. Love, then, is the force that binds the sides together, the key to richness and risk, danger and opportunity; and you are the guardian of the key. But, what happened? You used to be friends, knew what kind of reactions you were going to get from each other and how things would go. Your world wasn’t always rosy; but the two of you could handle it. When things weren’t going well, you talked about it. You worked it out; but lately both of you are tied up in knots. You are always on edge; and you could cut the tension with a knife. Any more, you don’t even go through the motions of caring about each other’s feelings or acting like you care what is being said. It’s just one of those things; but if your friendship’s going down the tube isn’t anyone’s fault, then nurturing your friendship wasn’t anyone’s responsibility.

Your partnership is a shared responsibility too and can go down the tube with your friendship; so what happened? You used to be great partners, would talk and decide together what was important, what your priorities were. You were always up–front with each other about what you thought about things and were open to the other’s ideas and opinions. You didn’t always agree but it worked.

If there were problems, you worked them out and didn’t blame or accuse or threaten. You were a team, always found a solution you both could live with; but you were trying a little harder, gave a little more, and were more responsible than your partner. That wasn’t fair and is why you quit trying. Oh well, it’s just another one of those things, even though you know that when either of you gives up on your partnership, that is all she wrote, as they say.

It may be all she wrote for your being lovers as well. You know how it goes. It’s just one of those things. Sure, it used to be magic. You and your lover each knew what the other wanted, how to scratch the itch, so to speak. Love making was passion at its best and most intense. You were considerate of each other’s feelings, each other’s needs. No one was in charge, no one gave more or got less. It wasn’t that kind of thing anyway. It was magic and you took turns being the magician; but one thing lead to another and then to another and it was gone; but now you finally get it, even if a bit late. Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, love is in the heart of the one who is loved. That is why when you feel the magic slipping away, you need to concentrate more on being a better lover than on being loved better. Dinah Shore really was right when she said, “Trouble is part of your life, and if you don’t share it, you don’t give the person who loves you enough chance to love you enough.”

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Think of your marriage as a triangle with lovers, friends, and partners as its sides. Understanding and succeeding in each dimension is the key to happiness, the foundation of the tie that binds. This article helps you understand the marriage triangle and strengthen that tie, strengthen your marriage.

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Gary A. Crow, Ph.D. is the Executive Editor of Leadership Village Press and Leadership Village, a network of sites focusing on leadership, personal success, interpersonal excellence, family and parenting matters, and related topics. You can find contact information, training materials, and other articles from Dr. Crow at http://www.ParentsLead.com
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