Can a Pet Help a Marriage Succeed?

We’re all familiar with the emails that make their way around the net that tell a story compelling enough for us to forward the email along to our friends. Some of these emails tell a hilarious story; some inspire us to do something kind, compassionate or perhaps even adventurous. We do love stories!

Well, today I received one of those emails and it was about a very grumpy father (in his 60s) and his daughter’s attempt to bring some joy and peace of mind to her dad. And as the title of this post suggests, it was about a pet.

Now, I realize not everyone is a pet lover. And I certainly respect that. I grew up without any pets in the house and I always felt I missed out on something. So when I got my own place (a beat-up apartment above a restaurant that had fabulous French Fries), one of the first things I did was get a dog. It wasn’t a pure bred, but he sure didn’t know it, and he and I had a fabulous relationship.

Some years later, my fiance and I were sitting outside chatting away when a stray dog came by and befriended us. We gave the little fella a bit to eat and she decided right there on the spot that we were an acceptable couple for her new home. (Yes, we tried to find her owners but were not successful.)

My wife and I have been married now for 28 years and during that entire time, we have almost always had a wonderful pet, sometimes two. Our daughter was thrilled whenever there were puppies and/or kittens to take care of.

For me personally, I really enjoy the friendship that can exist between a dog and a person. And I’m sure for others a cat or even a bird can bring a great friendship into being.

But I also observed a very interesting effect a pet had on my marriage. My wife and I love dogs and this was a strong point of agreement between us. There have been times when my wife and I were upset with each other and our dog would come between us and do one of two things: 1) she’d bark at us with this commanding intention that we stop fighting or 2) she’d come right into the middle of us if we were in bed or on the couch and snuggle up next to both of us. Invariably my wife and I would step back and start laughing, realizing that our dog was doing what she could do to end the upset.

Beyond the “marriage counselor” role that our dogs have played, they have always been considered a part of the family. And this bond had a very positive effect on the bond that existed between my wife and I and between us and our daughter. Anything that increases reality and agreement between people will also increase the affinity and communication. This principle (of the effect Affinity, Reality and Communication have on each other) is discussed in greater detail in this article.


This article was written by Stan Dubin. Additional information can be found at the blog: Marriage Success and in the book: When the Thrill Is Gone. You may republish this article in your newsletter or at your web site or blog providing the entire article is kept intact, including the contact links.



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