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MARRIAGE: “We both said, ‘I do!’ and we haven’t agreed on a single thing since.”

Movie quote from: So I Married an Axe Murderer (1993) - Stuart Mackenzie (Mike Myers)

axeWhat is it about marriage that causes ‘deeply passionate relationships’ to slide into ‘taking each other for granted on a daily basis’?  Why does a sense of permanence make it less likely a couple will stay together?  Although the craggy old Scottish father in So I Married an Axe Murderer is joking when he says the quote above, this is the reality for many a modern marriage.  Fortunately, a bland marriage can be rejuvenated by adopting a novel perspective for what a lifelong relationship really can be.

It is not natural for individuals to stay with one person for a lifetime.  All living things naturally deteriorate unless they are attended to.  This is true for individuals, couples, families, businesses, communities, and nations.  If we don’t use our vitality to grow, our vitality will take us into a slow process of decay.

For a marriage to be healthy, each partner must commit to continuously growing three living things – ME, YOU, and US.  Developing ME is easy, we are naturally inclined to do things that promote our own physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual health.  Developing YOU is important for a healthy couple.  Each partner is wise to support the unique needs and aspects of their mate. 

However, it is the development of US that offers the greatest promise for a relationship that intends to last a lifetime.  A couple has its own collected physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual needs.  They represent a combination of the aspects of both people.  A good relationship proactively utilizes the strengths of YOU and ME to become things together that each individual could never have experienced or achieved on their own.  A poor relationship pays no attention to US, choosing instead to argue for the wants and needs of ME.  It is easier to be selfish.  It is more challenging, and much more rewarding, to construct an US that is vibrant and alive.

Most couples assume all the work comes before the marriage.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Two unique individuals, growing and changing over time, must work to stay together.  In couple talk, ‘work’ means honest communication, adaptability, respecting the differences, and sharing time together.  Saying ‘I do!’ is easy when you’ve got the whole world ahead of you.  It is a more important phrase when you are working together to build a meaningful shared lifetime.        

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