It’s no secret that marriage doesn’t quite mean the same thing as it did just 100 years ago, and definitely not the same as several hundred years ago. In fact, it wasn’t that long ago that marriage was all about security; in a world with limited opportunity, you wanted to make sure your future had some stability, and marrying was a big part of that. It’s actually only a recently development that people marry for love. It begs the question—is love enough?
Yes and no. Obviously something is amiss when roughly half of all marriages end in divorce. Perhaps we aren’t meant to marry for love because love is something we can’t always count on being there, or perhaps love isn’t really what carries us through day to day life. Or maybe we’re just in a specific type of marriage and don’t even realize it.
Here are the 5 types of marriages. Why is this important to know? So you can realize that marriage isn’t always flowers and romance. It is actually there to help us accomplish something. Why should you pick one? So that your marriage makes more sense to you, so that you both can get more out of it, and so that you can better balance love and purpose to create a more meaningful relationship.
1. The Partnership
In this type of marriage, the husband and wife act a lot like business partners. They are equals in so many ways. Most likely, they both work full-time jobs and share a lot of the household and child-rearing responsibilities equally. They are both interested in contributing their half in order to make a more cohesive whole. If you are in this type of relationship, you’ll feel out of balance when the other person isn’t doing the same things you are doing. So if you feel like you need to have different roles, you’ll need to really dissect it and negotiate until you both feel you are still on equal footing. This applies to all aspects of the marriage—even the romance part. You must both be making equal efforts in this area.
2. The Independents
People who have this type of marriage want autonomy. They more or less live separate lives alongside each other. They don’t feel like they need to agree on everything, because each person’s thoughts and feelings are separate from their own and valuable in their own right. They give each other room to be who they want to be; they may even spend their free time apart. When it comes to doing things around the house, they tend to work separately in their own areas of interest and on their own timetables. They may have less physical togetherness than other couples, but feel just as fulfilled. People who enjoy this type of marriage will feel stifled if their spouse is too needy or wants to be together all the time. Just know that an independent isn’t pulling away because they don’t love you—they just need to have that independent space.
3. The Degree Seekers
A couple in this type of marriage are in it to learn something. Many times the husband and wife in this relationship are quite different—even opposites. One could be really good at something, and the other not so much, and vice versa. So they each possess skills the other would like to develop. In essence, the marriage is like a school of life. They are constantly learning from each other. They find it very stimulating to watch how the other lives and handles themselves in different situations. Over time, they begin to pick up on their spouse’s skills and feel good about that process as it unfolds. If they ever feel like they are no longer learning anything from their spouse, they may feel disillusioned; so keep things fresh by always learning and growing for yourself and so you can offer something to your degree seeking spouse.
4. The “Traditional” Roles
This is the type of marriage depicted in old TV shows. The wife stays at home and takes care of the house and kids; the husband goes to work and comes home and reads the paper or watches TV. The wife has clearly defined roles and the husband has clearly defined roles, and they are different. In this marriage, when the husband and wife find joy in their roles and are supported by the other, it works well. But when the roles aren’t fulfilled or they roles overlap, there can be resentment or loss of self.
5. The Companionship
In this marriage, the husband and wife want a life-long friend. Their relationship is familiar and loving. What they are really after is someone to share their life with—someone to be by their side through everything. There is less independence in this marriage, and that’s ok. They appreciate a lot of togetherness.
Every marriage is different, and there is no one way to have a good marriage. The important thing is that you both are on the same page and are able to help each other fulfill your wants and needs. Could your marriage morph over time? Definitely. Just make sure you take those steps together.
Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.