As many of you know…my daughter Britta is getting married in 2 1/2 months (yikes!)….and next month will be mine and Dave’s (the hubster) 26th wedding anniversary (wow!) So needless to say, marriage has been on my mind lately.
I think about my daughter just starting out on this journey called marriage and then the decades that Dave and I have under our belts and I want to be able to tell Britta exactly what she should and shouldn’t do to make sure her marriage is long and happy and free of conflict or pain. Of course that’s not possible. Everyone has to experience their own journey, pitfalls and all.
While I can’t tell her how to live her life, or how to ensure her marriage is a happy and long-lasting one…I can share with her at least a few of my own personal “secrets” to a happy marriage. Secrets learned through trial and error, many, many ups and downs, and a few good books. :-)
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10 Secrets To A Long-Lasting Marriage
Giving Time A Chance
When I first got married, a LONG time ago, someone gave me a book entitled, “Giving Time A Chance: The Secret Of A Lasting Marriage“. Many times over the years I have turned to the advice betweens it’s covers. Advice that comes from real-life couples who have successfully navigated the sometimes rocky road of marriage.
The basic premise of the book is that time is a marriage’s best friend. If you expect to stay and work things out, then time makes marriage easier. Time gives you security. You aren’t afraid that something you’ve said or done is irrevocable. People who stay married have decided that leaving isn’t a viable option.
Communication With A Capitol “C”!
If communication is missing in your marriage, before you even realise it, it will slowly destroy your relationship. Everyone talks about honesty in a marriage but that’s only possible if communication lines are open. So even if you’re busy with your work, children, gym, household chores or social activities, just set aside 15 minutes in the day, especially for your spouse. Use this precious time to sit and talk about things, not just about work and family but anything and everything!
Love is overrated, it’s RESPECTING your spouse that will strengthen your bond and help your relationship in the long run. Learn to respect each other’s feelings and decisions, even if you don’t agree.
Let your partner know that your respect and value for him or her supersedes the specific issue you are discussing.
Maybe it’s the way we’ve been conditioned, but a lot of people feel that compromise is a sign of weakness and so, are often unwilling to do it. But considering the vast number of decisions every couple has to make during the course of their lives, you’ll often come across situations, where you will have to find middle ground. That doesn’t mean you always have to give up on what you believe or think is right. Make it more about reaching a consensus or solution that both of you will be happy with.
True commitment means that you are willing to make sacrifices to keep a relationship alive. The challenge is that taking steps to maintain the relationship means that you may not get your way in certain areas.
Both partners in the marriage must be prepared to put their partner’s happiness ahead of their own from time to time for the marriage to truly work.
Sense of Humor
Studies reveal that individuals who have a strong sense of humor are less likely to experience burnout and depression and they are more likely to enjoy life in general — including their marriage.
Dating your spouse is one of the most important forms of marriage “maintenance” you can do. It helps you re-connect and reminds you why you married them in the first place. Dating also creates variety and interesting experiences in your life that in turn create memories that strengthen your relationship and can act as a shock absorber during difficult times.
Commitment Is Crucial
Have a long-term view….kind of like investing in the stock market, you don’t pull your money out as soon as it takes a dip.
Your partner is a package deal: You have to take the good with the not so good.
Recognize that marriage is a journey that ebbs and flows; passion will wane, but reignite over time.
The success of your marriage is not measured by how you celebrate the good times, but by how you support each other through the challenges.
The best kept secret to a long lasting and happy marriage, is all about acceptance. Spending all your time trying to change your partner or perfect those annoying little traits will bring nothing but disappointment. You fell in love with the person in front of you. Staying in love is up to you.
Which leads me to one of the most important secrets of a long-lasting marriage…and one that has seen me through many rough patches over the years……
Remember Why You Married Your Spouse!
Always remembering what it is about your partner that drew you to them will make certain that you never forget your love for your partner. It will also ensure that they are always beautiful in your eyes. Many things may change throughout the course of your marriage but the one thing that will always remain is the reason you fell in love in the first place.
A happy marriage is not guaranteed no matter how much the partners love each other. There are so many variables that can have an affect on the happiness and success of a marriage. It is important that both partners realize that they must continuously work on all of these aspects if they want their marriage to remain “happily-ever-after”. :-)
What advice would you give my soon-to-be-married daughter?