What’s the difference between a marriage and relationship? The way I’m using the two words may be different than the way you look at it. As a therapist, I often have couples come in to fix something that’s not working. They complain about what the other does or doesn’t do or one doesn’t like how the other acts or talks.
I am less interested in preserving a marriage than I am in building up a relationship. When the relationship is repaired, the marriage is usually fixed automatically. If the marriage is the arrangement, then what’s a relationship? In a relationship we are interested in spending time with somebody we enjoy. We want to be with someone we are attracted to. Most importantly, we want to sacrifice parts of ourselves for the well-being of our partner. Without the desire to sacrifice for our partner out of care and concern, I don’t believe you have a relationship–you just have an arrangement.
When we love someone, we want good things for them. When we are “in love” with someone, we make good things happen for them. We want to open the door for them, we want to warm up their side of the bed, we want to take on some of their chores, we want to express our appreciation to them.