Ken Rona on Why Mutual Respect Matters in a Marriage

In Chapter 3 of 15 in his 2012 Capture Your Flag interview, digital media executive Ken Rona answers "Why is Mutual Respect Important in a Marriage?"  Rona references a book written by a marriage counselor about how he could predict a married couple's future based on only a few minutes with them.  Rona notes why it is so important to be supportive and not be dismissive as well as to stay committed to growing the relationship over time. 

Ken Rona is a Vice President at Turner Broadcasting, where he leads teams across advertising sales, big data software development and business strategy.  Rona earned a BA and MA in Political Science from Stony Brook University and a PhD in Behavioral Economics from Duke University.


Erik Michielsen: Why is mutual respect important in a marriage?

Ken Rona: I think if you’re gonna be married a long time you have to be friends with the person. I think there are other things that, you know, when you’re 18, you get married and you think are important are not as important when you’re 45. I can’t imagine being married to somebody where there isn’t a really, pretty big nugget of respect for them. You know—Do you know this research around snap decisions? I forget the name of the book. There is this marriage counselor, right? And he can basically within 30 seconds of watching a couple interact, predict if they’re gonna get divorced or not, and he has like—I thought—I wanna say he had like 100% success rate. I don’t remember the book but it’s a story in the book. 

And what it really is, is his critical—the thing that he synthesized is—the thing he’s looking for is are they treating other respectfully? Right? It’s not like, you know, Hi, sweetie, I love you. It’s more like, you know, that you listen, that you—That you—I said, that you’re not dismissive. So I think it’s core to any marriage. 

I really find it—I can’t imagine how would you even propose to someone? I think the trick actually in marriage is that as people change that you have to kind of figure out what the new thing is, right? Like what—Like as people shift, how do you maintain that level of respect? Right? Or how does it grow?