There is no simple formula to a perfect marriage. Over the years, there are some trends and principles that can help us better understand what set a sustainable and loving marriage apart from one that ends in separation or divorce. Positive and life-affirming relationships bring great pleasure, but unhealthy relationships can bring deep pain and sorrow. In order to make your marriage last and thrive, you need to ensure that mutual respect, trust and love are always present in your partnership. You need to show respect no matter what. Even in the heat of an argument, there should still be respect for partner. Don’t insult or degrade him or her. You have made a vow to support and love your partner in good and bad times. So practise your lifetime vow every day. Express grace and forgiveness after a heated argument and dispute. Reaffirm your love and praise your mate’s character and strengths. Use words of affirmation to describe your mate to others. The more you and your partner focus on positive common grounds and successful goals that you have achieved in your partnership so far, the more likely you’ll be happy in your relationship.
So how can you protect your marriage and shield it against the risk of divorce? It’s very important to understand the needs and wants of your partner. Most people have same basic needs to be valued, respected and loved. For most women, they need to be listened to, cared for, and made to feel attractive and wanted. For most men, they need to feel that they are the leader of the household, and the provider and protector of the family. Obviously, they need the full support of their mate to assume this role. In order to understand and know the specific needs and wants of your partner in life, you have to ask him or her. There is no other way. Therefore, open and honest communication is essential. Poor communication leads to unhappy couples more than almost anything else.
Discuss your financial issues in an open and honest fashion. Ensure that you both spend money and the family budget responsibly. Most importantly, inject and embrace fun and friendship in your couple’s relationship. Have fun and enjoyment together by going out for a walk, dinner, a movie, on a weekend trip, on a week vacation, or a ten day cruise. Have quality time together whenever you can, not only on special occasions. In addition, maintain strong friendships outside your relationship. Various surveys show that happy couples have numerous friends and hobbies outside their relationships. They love to try new things on a regular basis, and have fun with their friends. The correlation between fun and marital happiness is high and very significant.
Marriage is a give and take partnership. You need to forgive stupid stuffs and ignore the little things that sometimes drive you up the wall. Work together to build a real partnership and teach your values to the children you bring into the world. Most of all, no matter how long you have been together as a couple, don’t let a day go by without doing a little something for your partner: a touch, a smile, a kiss, a gift or a chore. Let your spouse know your appreciation and gratitude for sharing your life’s journey. Many people think marriage means you belong to each other. The truth is marriage is a true partnership, and you have to work hard to keep it so.
Excerpt from my book: In Pursuit of Relationships