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
- 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
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
- 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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