Great Marriages Have CARP

Many people in the area I live (Western PA) know about the carp at Pymatuning, “where ducks walk on carp.” Over 300,000 people a year throw chunks of bread into the water and watch the carp literally swim on top of one another to eat it. So many carp clamber over one another that ducks can walk on their backs. That carp has nothing to do with a great marriage. I just like the image. But, great marriages do have CARP.  They are overflowing with CARP and both spouses like to feed the CARP.  Don’t get grossed out. I’m talking about Commitment, Adventure, Respect, and Persistence (C.A.R.P.).

C—Great marriages demand Commitment.  Commitment involves doing what it takes to make your relationship successful. This will involve communication and compromise for the benefit of your healthy marriage. Spouses committed to their marriage serve their spouse and make sacrifices for spouse…and they do so willingly. They are ok with compromise and sacrifice because they know it strengthens their marriage and benefits the one they love.

A—Great marriages love Adventure. In fact, people in great marriages view their marriage as an adventure. They love to try new things as a couple. They encourage their spouses to learn and grow. They are excited to help in that growth and to witness their spouse blossom and bloom. They plan and dream together. They also support one another’s individual dreams and take great joy in the adventure of their spouse’s dream.

R—Great marriages practice Respect. Spouses honor one another. They value one another, viewing one another as diamonds among the coal. As such they strive to lift up their spouse and place their spouse in a setting that will reveal and enhance their beauty. They express fondness and admiration, gratitude and appreciation for their spouse on a daily basis. Even in the midst of conflict, both spouses maintain a level of respect. They do not engage in name calling, criticism, or contempt. Instead, they listen, encourage, and work toward mutual growth, intimacy, and peace.

P—Healthy marriages are made up of Persistent spouses. They do not give up. They have a long-term vision of their marriage and work toward long-term goals for their marriage. There is no mention of divorce or leaving even in the midst of anger and disagreement. They do not get caught up in short term stresses and disagreements. Instead, they focus on the long-term happiness and security of their marriage.

Healthy, happy marriages focus on CARP. They love to feed the CARP in their marriage. So, if you want a great marriage, go ahead and feed the CARP.

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