Filmmaker Doug Block learned a lot about marriage by accident. A documentarian who also works as a wedding videographer, Doug Block visited a handful of couples whose weddings he'd filmed -- anywhere from five to 20 years later -- and interviewed them about the state of their marriage. The result is his unexpectedly revealing, tender, and thought-provoking film 112 Weddings.
The hope and uncomplicated joy of a wedding is often a stark contrast to the real-life challenges of day-to-day married life. Some of Block's couples weathered the years well, and some did not, but all reveal a lot about our relationships, the expectations and hopes we put into them, and what marriage/commitment really looks like.
If weddings are the splash and fizz of opening night on Broadway, marriage is the slog of the dozens, hundreds, thousands of performances that follow. How are couples supposed to maintain the best parts of the early days of their relationship amid the slings and arrows of day-to-day life?
1. Pick Right
People often couple for the wrong reasons----convenience, expectations, and pressure to have kids. Other common reasons can be conflation of lust and love, fear of being alone, or even simple security. A "deep period of self-discovery" before jumping into marriage is advocated. The must-haves reasons to marry someone includes aligned goals, sexuality, and spirituality.
2. Treat Each Other Right
That kindness and respect come up frequently when people are asked about the most essential elements of a healthy marriage. What all the respondents' comments boiled down to, at bottom, was friendship. Every trait cited for how a person should treat his or her partner was -- not coincidentally -- the definition of how you should treat a friend.
3. Fight Right
No matter how well you're navigating the seas of marriage, storms will come. It's how a couple weathers them that can separate a successful marriage from a failed one. "fighting well" entails the following:
Decide the rules of engagement, e.g., how to discuss problem.
Calmly, without yelling or screaming.Be polite.
Grace and forgiveness.The fine art of compromise.