The Three S’s of Marriage


From time to time I have the opportunity to speak to someone about what I have learned in my nearly 6 years of marriage and I have simplified my solution for a happy marriage down to three S’s; support, sex, and a sense of humor. Every marital issue we (my husband and I) have run into can be sorted into one of these three categories. I would say that in general we have a happy marriage and our marriage has been relatively smooth, but there have been times where I feared that if we didn’t resolve this issue or that issue it would result in divorce. Both my husband and I come from divorced families and when we were married we made a special commitment to each other that no matter how bad it got, how miserable we were, or how much we felt like it we were NOT going to get divorced. None the less there have been a handful of times when I was fearful.

Now I am going to write about my three S’s from the perspective of what I consider to be the wife’s “duties” within a marriage. These rules work for my husband and I, and they might not work for everyone but I believe they are general enough to be applicable and precise enough to be a useable guideline.

I think that the most important category is “support.” Being raised as a baptist I heard about being a submissive wife my whole life. But when I got married I soon realized that being submissive wasn’t quite right. Playing the “yes man” role for my husband who loves me for my brains and opinion as much as anything else seemed wrong and unnatural. However, I also realized that if I wanted my husband to be successful in whatever he wanted to pursue it would be part of my job to be a support network for him. So what does that mean? It means that I need to be a level headed bouncing board for my husbands ideas. It means doing the grunt work required to help my husband, and through extension our family, be successful. It means holding my tongue when my husband says something I disagree with in public and waiting for a private setting to discuss the disagreement (this is especially important when dealing with our kids.) It even means going along with some things I may not agree with or think will fail, if it means safeguarding my husband. It means choosing my battles very carefully, and leaving emotion at the door when we are resolving issues. All of these things I consider to be in the “support” category. So what strategies do I use to operate within the role of supportive wife? First of all if there is an issue I look at myself first. Okay I will be honest here, when there is an issue my first response is usually an emotional one and usually it is anger or fear. So my first real step is to check my emotions. Then I can look at my actions. Why look at my actions when my husband is being irritation or has hurt me? Because I can not change him, but I do have to power to change myself and if I change my actions my husband will more than likely change his responses to me. So after I look at my actions, and adjust what needs adjusting (usually I have been being selfish and or stubborn and unsupportive) then it is time to go to my husband and admit my wrong doing. This sounds crazy, I know, and it sounds like I am somehow being ultra submissive and maybe even be oppressed. I assure you this is not the case. Here is my reasoning. If I go to my husband and accuse him of hurting me and doing something wrong he gets defensive and our entire conversation becomes negative and is rarely productive. However, if I go into the conversation and humble myself right at the start my husband is not on the offensive and we are able to have a rational conversation about what each person is doing to cause friction and once we know exactly what the problem is we can actively work on changing the behavior that is causing friction. The last step in this strategy is to forgive each other. It is amazing how much better things are when you can talk about an issue, resolve it, and forgive each other. There are times when my husband and I have argued until late into the night having all the negative emotions that have built up spew into the open and we work through it until it is resolved. The relief felt when all of those little things are out in the open and fixed is amazing.

Sex is the next “S” and it is almost as important at support. There is no set rule to how much you should or should not have sex or what kind of sex is appropriate. That is for each couple to decide. However, the amount needs to be sustainable and pleasurable for both of you. It is unfair of a wife to expect her husband to go without every time she is not in the mood, and it is unfair of a husband to expect his wife to give it up every time he is interested. I am lucky. My husband and my sex drives are relatively well matched and we generally agree on what activities we like to engage in. I encourage you to find your comfort zone as a couple. Be mindful of the fact that the chemicals released into the brain with sex or pleasure are very powerful and they serve to help put people in better moods and even when released regularly make for happier more productive lives and can even help with conflict resolution. The only other thing that I feel needs to be said on this topic is I think it is important to be open to new experiences and you need to be open with your partner about your desires. Especially when it comes to sex honesty is king. Keeping secrets just leads to pain and distrust and it is the most important thing in the world that with something as intimate as sharing your body with another person you are completely vulnerable. This will take time. My husband and I have been married nearly six years (not an absurd amount of time but a good start) and we still surprise each other with honest confessions. Of the people I have spoken to who have been married for 50 plus years, sex was always a regular part of their relationship and I cannot dismiss that as coincidence.

The final “S” is a sense of humor. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Not everything is a personal attack, and not everything is about you. That remark about your “boyfriend” is probably not an accusation of infidelity but rather a subtle hint that you seem distracted or distant. That poke in the side, while irritation and maybe not timed properly, was probably just an attempt to start some sort of flirty game. When he is laughing at your misuse of words, laugh with him. If you let things slide off your shoulders and have a good sense of humor about yourself then some of the worst days can actually be funny a few days or hours later. It is one of my goals in life is to be the kind of wife who laughs and has a good time. I don’t want to be a buzz kill, or the kind of wife who wares on her husbands nerves. I do want to be the kind of wife who makes her husband laugh and who laughs with him.

I sincerely hope that you found this helpful, or at least interesting. Thanks for reading!


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