We've faced some SERIOUS problems in the marriage, problems that have routinely broken up many other couples. Among the things we've faced: I left the Witnesses, she remains a Witness; we had a child who was abused by a JW; at one time I was sexually involved with a few other women and my wife knows about it; we've faced some serious money problems; we both made major career changes late in our marriage; and many, many more.
So why are we still together? Actually, we're seeing a marriage counselor, and this is one of the questions we've discussed in detail with her. What stands out as factors keeping us together include the fact that - despite everything else - we have a huge amount of love and respect for each other. That seems to be based on an understanding of why each of us does what we do. She understands why I've left the Witnesses and why I essentially despise the organization, and I understand why she has decided to remain an active Witness. We're both willing to allow the other person to think and believe differently, and feel no compulsion to have to CONTROL the other.
We laugh together all the time.
We talk everyday.
For most of our married life we've had great sex - and when there was a problem with that, it led to other problems as well. That physical connection is vital, and we work hard now to maintain it. We flirt with each other, we make nasty comments to each other, we do a LOT of touching and cuddling and kissing and holding hands. For example, last night we awoke and made love THREE different times, and that is not unusual. Not being able to keep our hands off each other, after all these years together, adds a lot of excitement to a marriage when it could be all gone by now. But you have to work at that, work at keeping yourself looking physically desireable to each other. Taking each other for granted (which has happened in our marriage at times) is DEADLY.
And while I have no belief in the idea that we have this one soul mate that we must find and marry ( a totally illogical concept), my wife often reminds me of how well we seem to fit together, and how effectively we work together as a team. When problems arise, say something really serious with the children or grandkids, a lot of couples end up turning on each other. My wife and I do just the opposite, and end up depending on one another and working together very effectively as a team.
We know how the other will act and react, and we can depend on the other to do whatever is necessary to get the right thing done. I have huge respect for her due to that, and vice versa. And there is a long, long shared history to all of this, which would be impossible to replace with someone else.
I know that's a long answer, but it's really a complex question. A good marriage - and by that I don't mean a marriage without problems, but a marriage that may have numerous problems but that handles them all successfully - is a combination of a lot of important factors. These are just a few of them.