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My Thoughts

marriage is like good architecture

When confronted with a question about marriage, I scrambled to come up with a good response.


Gregory M Houston – Author

Name – Photographer/Illustrator

Last week my wife asked me an intriguing question. Like most men, thought provoking questions are the bane of my existence, especially when it comes to relationship and / or marriage questions. I avoid them like the plague, and when confronted by them, look for ways to run against them. Unfortunately, I have about as much success as the Broncos did against the Carolina defense in Super Bowl 50! Of course, sometimes you just have to man-up and answer.

Her question…Now that you’re an old married man what advice would you give to someone about marriage?

My answer (a week later)…Marriage is like good architecture.

a good foundation is critical

A house will not stand long without a good foundation. The International Building Codes tell us this, any structural engineer worth their salt will tell you this, common sense tells you this. The bible tells you this.

A good foundation for marriage requires:

  • Trust
  • Respect
  • Love
  • Humor

Trust is critical to a good relationship, marriage or otherwise. When betrayed, it will “bring the house down” if not repaired properly. Respect is another key to a good marriage.  Particularly when you don’t agree.  Respecting each other during a disagreement will mean making-up will be easier. Love is the thing we identify with most relationships.  Loving someone means that you’re all in.  It’s easy to love someone when they are loving you back…but true love means loving someone even when they are unlovable. Humor will see you through many situations good and bad. After all, if you can’t laugh at yourself and situations you get yourself into, you’re in for a long ride.

It’s not always aesthetically pleasing

Good architecture is not always beautiful, but it is always good architecture. Sometimes the design solution is beyond beautiful. Sometimes, the correct response is something plain or even ugly by some standards.

Marriage will offer up good times and bad times. This is obvious. What will make a marriage good is how you respond to these situations. Ecstatically living in the good times will make working through the bad times and enjoying the boring times easier. Marriage is an up and down thing. The bad times will be the hardest thing you have every had to live through, but the good times will be beyond your wildest dreams.

The best thing is, you get to share these experiences with someone you love. It’s not what it looks like that’s important. It’s how it feels that counts in the end.

remodels and additions make it better

Rare is the piece of architecture that doesn’t require an addition or remodel in it’s lifetime. Sometimes you need more space, sometimes it’s a face lift, but in both cases the additional value can be priceless.

What is marriage without children? The short answer…Peaceful…and yet unfulfilled.

Afterall, marriage stories shared with others are just that, stories.

However, those same stories shared with and among family members become memories. Children are the legacy of marriage and those memories, shared throughout time become the legacy which makes a marriage good.

Your marriage will change over time and require a great deal of work, but the work you put into it will be more satisfying than any commission or promotion you earn at your job.

Location, location, location

When it comes to good architecture, site is as important to the design as the initial concept. In fact, it should constantly inform the design throughout. If done right, that piece of architecture wont work anywhere else.

The same is true of a good marriage.

None of it works without the right woman, at the right time, in the right place. It’s about beauty, its about feelings, it’s about all of those things you just can’t put your finger on. And if you can, you probably have a very difficult time putting into words what it is. And if you can, it’s personal, and what makes it special is not as important to any other relationship as it is to yours.

Eleven years ago I was fortunate enough to marry the woman of my dreams. Over those eleven years I have been LUCKY that she has been able to see past my faults and see the good things I am. She has the ability to see what I can be, while at the same time respecting what I am. She is a loving wife and caring mother. She is stubborn, driven, forgetful. She is beautiful, strong, sensitive.

She is the love of my life.

Real marriage and love is never like the romantic comedies Hollywood feeds us…it’s better.

Happy Valentine’s day Sherri Houston. I am the luckiest guy in the world because I get to grow old with YOU.