What is the Perfect Environment for your Marriage?


Have you ever thought about the perfect environment for your marriage?
Would it be one with or without snow? With or without hot, hazy, humid days? With or without a lot of rain and drizzle? Does weather lead to fights or resentments for the two of you? Or does it encourage you to cuddle up inside?
Would your marriage flourish if you lived in a place where you open the front door and walk comfortably and safely, whether to cool off before continuing discussion or to have some together time with exercise?
Would your ideal kitchen be one where one of you can comfortably sit and chat while the other prepares a meal? Where you can work side-by-side? Or one small enough to guarantee you’ve got it all to yourself when you’re cooking?
Is your ideal living room one with room for two guests? Six? Sixty two? Would it have a piano? A karaoke machine? A large, HD television for sports?
How about your dining room or kitchen table. Does it feel great to sit at opposite ends and preside over the family or the meal from two sides? Or would you feel closer seated next to each other?
Is it near a swim club? A tennis court? Horse trails? A certain type of dance club or eatery? Old friends? New friends? Maybe a cherished relative or two?
Is your ideal bedroom soundproofed? Locked? Decorated for romance or for relaxation?
What sort of home would help keep you from drifting apart, getting bored, or fighting over your differences? What can you do today to make yours just a bit more wonderful?

About the author

Patty Newbold

I am a widow who got it right the second time. I have been sharing here since February 14, 2006 what I learned from that experience and from positive psychology, marriage research, and my training as a marriage educator.


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  • Patty. We ignored this for the longest time and when we addressed our environment, it made an unexpectedly huge difference in our level of comfort and ease. Great stuff as usual, Patty!

  • When people are addressing issues in their marriage, they usually focus on behaviors and attitudes, and often ignore the impact the environment can have. Some years ago we were going through a rather tense time, and we realized that in addition to the various issues we wanted to address, we needed to recognize that we had let home maintenance slide. Fixing the sink, painting the house, replacing old patio cushions and cleaning the hot tub won’t directly solve relationship problems. But the quality and functionality of the environment does affect our general sense of well being and the starting attitudes we have before beginning a conversation.

  • We’re both lovers of the cold (or perhaps more correctly, the cooler months). Always thought that living in a cooler place to escape the exhaustion and frayed tempers of the hotter weather was the answer to a happier state of being. However, as we are now in middle life we both tend to think that any extreme climate will be less forgiving on us and feel that living in a temperate zone might work best. We love to cuddle up in winter but feel that our earlier plans of relocating to a cold, snowy climate might just be going OTT. We can both hear our joints click in winter and don’t want to make it worse!

  • I have been struggling with “urban-itis” and what seems to be Seasonal Affective Disorder for many years. From the onset of autumn until mid-spring I battle fatigue and mild depression – not to mention I’m just plain cold! (we live in the midwest). During the school year, the pace of life is always hurried. But once mid-spring hits, the days get longer and the temps heat up, the pace of life slows, and I can spend some time outdoors every day, and I am full of life and energy. I am 100% certain I would benefit greatly (as would our marriage) from the climate and a non-metropolitan area of the south. We often talk about just packing up and doing it – but we also have much to loose if we leave here. My husband loves his job, our whole family is here, and we are established in our church, homeschool group, etc. Moving would help in some ways, but possibly just create a new set of struggles in other ways. So, for now it’s just a pipe dream…

  • Chis, pipe dreams are a passion of mine. When we treat them as all or nothing, we miss out on the benefits we could be reaping right now. Could you:
    – Build a greenhouse or solarium on your property to let you garden in the fall and winter?
    – Take vacations in the rural south during school breaks to test your theory and find your place, your church, your friends, and some grandparent types whose grandkids don’t live nearby?
    – Take one or two July vacations in the rural south to test that you and your husband can stay civil through them?
    – Talk to your family to find out if any of them also want to move, would find it great to visit you there regularly, or would be glad to host your return visits?
    – Redesign your husband’s job to allow him to share it with someone equally qualified who has a similar job in the south they could also share?
    – Cut out expenses or activities to let you slow down more during the school year?
    – Buy some SAD therapy lights and full-spectrum lights for your home?
    – Volunteer in a museum room that’s lit and heated to simulate the tropics or in a warm baby nursery where they need people to sit and rock with the babies for a few hours a week?
    – Find a non-urban get-away cabin near you that you can rent regularly or buy to get away from the city?
    If you sense that a slower, sunnier, warmer winter would improve your marriage, why wait until you can have the whole package?

By Patty Newbold

Patty Newbold

I am a widow who got it right the second time. I have been sharing here since February 14, 2006 what I learned from that experience and from positive psychology, marriage research, and my training as a marriage educator.

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