What Makes a Marriage Strong? “LEGS”
by Lynn M. Griesemer
I’ve had the pleasure of serving with Psychologist Dr. Bill Commins during a few engagement preparation programs in the past. He’s a great speaker who believes that LEGS makes for strong marriages.
He begins some of his talks stating that marriage is a contract that we give each other in order to get happiness. We actively enter a contract with our spouse; we are not passively receiving something granted from the state or religious institution. In this contract, we bargain, exchange goods and we expect happiness.
As we are seeking happiness, let’s ask, “What makes a strong marriage?” Dr. Commins says that Loyalty, Empathy, Generosity and Self-Sacrifice (LEGS) provide a sturdy foundation, like legs that support a table. I will share some of Dr. Commins’ ideas here, blended with my thoughts too.
Loyalty. Loyalty might make us think of allegiance to our country or boss / profession and other obligations. Loyalty is also faithfulness to another person. It involves unwavering attachment and affection and standing firm to a value, ideal or person. Negative talk or complaining and criticism behind your spouse’s back is contrary to demonstrating loyalty.
Empathy. Orienting yourself to the feelings of your spouse promotes love.
Generosity. This is the gift that you can give over and over! Have a generous spirit by assuming the other is well-intentioned. Show admiration and kindness as opposed to criticism. Be generous with the gift of yourself.
Self-sacrifice. Even when you may be tired or feeling like you want to do things your way, consider doing something for your partner. Let’s say you’ve both had long days at work and neither wants to make dinner. You’re on a tight budget and do not want to spend money going out to eat. By making dinner and cleaning up even when you do not feel like it would be a huge boost to your partner, who might have had a more tiring day than you did. You will both feel grateful afterwards. It is the little sacrifices that add up. Making bigger sacrifices should be done with a spirit of enthusiasm.
A strong marriage has LEGS. Ask yourself, “When was I incorporating ‘LEGS’ or not including ‘LEGS’ in relating with my spouse?”
Dr. Commins was a guest on my radio program last year. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/marriagecoachlynn/2011/03/28/the-second-time-around-second-marriages