Marriage Tips

Marriage tips? Well, we hear it’s just "fall in love, get married, live happily ever after" - storybook stuff, but we do so much better when we know and prepare for the realities. First of all, those feelings of euphoria, being swept off our feet, will fade in just a few short years if even that long. After all, who could stay on such an emotional high for "ever after"? Would we even want to? How could we eat, sleep, work, and meet our everyday responsibilities if we were so preoccupied?

When this reality sets in, where do we look to regain some of that early euphoria, or other level of satisfaction? Is it for something new, be it a person or a "thing"? Doing so opens the door to all kinds of problems, including infidelity or other excessive behavior. We know those pursuits only provide temporary satisfaction, if even that, and when it runs out the same negative cycle begins all over again.

Rather than looking outside of our marriage for that next fulfillment (and never finding it), we do best when we start looking inside of it, starting with ourself. Much like a workout program to get ourselves fit, there are certain exercises we can do to make our marriage stronger, and ourselves a lot happier:

Marriage Tips: Be Self-Aware

  • What do you believe in? What are your personal values, your goals in life, your sense of purpose? Look to match these same pursuits with those of your partner.

Marriage Tips: Take Responsibility

  • Be accountable for your role, your part in the relationship. As problems and frustrations arise, accept responsibility for your own actions. Sharing blame instead of shifting it, helps each partner understand root causes of the problems, avoids greater frustrations, and leads to joint solutions.

Marriage Tips: Communicate & Acknowledge

  • Know when it's (your) time to talk, when it's (your) time to listen, and appreciate the difference between the two. Share your innermost thoughts and feelings clearly and honestly, and listen carefully to those of your partner. Demonstrate your sincerity to communicate in this way, through love, kindness, and compassion.
  • Identify not just the "bad things" that you find in your marriage, i.e., the things that upset you most, but also the good things for which you are most grateful, and share those with your partner. Acknowledge your own faults and shortcomings, asking what things can be done differently to the satisfaction of both partners.

Marriage Tips: Appreciate Differences But Share Some Interests

  • Get beyond the simple acknowledgment that men and women are hard-wired differently. Understand and appreciate the real distinctions in personality, preferences, style, habits, and traits. How dull would things be if we married a clone of ourself?
  • Discover one or more of your partner's greatest passions, whether active or passive, to see why it is so. It may or may not be something that you find nearly as much passion for, but learning about it or trying it shows that you value your partner and that you want to spend some time together. Even if it's "just not your thing", having a basic understanding of the topic or activity stimulates conversation, and shows that you support your partner's quest for fulfillment.

Marriage Tips: Build Trust

  • Believe that you can depend on your partner. One of the strongest statements we make in any relationship is that we trust our partner completely. In marriage, we depend not only on fidelity, but the safe pursuit of all the goals we share regarding family, health and financial security.

Marriage Tips: Practice Intimacy

  • Make love, not war! Much more than a catch phrase from our boomer generation, it's the way we reveal the most private things about each other, to each other. Making love goes beyond even the intimacy of intercourse. It's the deepest sharing of whom we are as an individual, and the total comfort we show in doing so, with absolutely no fear of judgment or reprisal from our partner.

Marriage Tips: Grow & Commit

  • Know that our lives are ruled by the choices we make, and not by the feelings we have at any given moment. Feelings are temporary; choices are lasting. A good marriage grows when each partner willingly chooses to make changes, adapting to the needs of the other, because each knows that it brings greater happiness to the other.
  • When all else seems to fail, know that commitment is the ultimate bond in your marriage. Remember your wedding vows, each of you holding a candle and lighting it from a single flame, two individuals joined as a union "for better or for worse 'til death do you part". Committed partners will endure the problems and challenges that life together will bring, sometimes resolving them and sometimes just outlasting them, but always committing to get past them.

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