People want love in their lives. People need love in their lives. As they walk down the aisle, people believe in “forever,” and they are firmly convinced their own marriages will last.
However, in modern society, divorce is no longer an uncommon event for once-happily married couples; it has become a way of life. In fact, not only are divorces more widely accepted than ever, but today, it isn’t unusual for individuals to be divorced more than once. While we increasingly have the freedom to select (and de-select) a partner without fearing the repercussions of societal stigma, divorce is still one of the most traumatic experiences a person might ever face.
Want to increase the chances of your marriage lasting? Consider these ideas:
1. They have good conflict management skills.
As good as life can be, it will never be perfect. All married couples experience personal challenges which will affect their relationships. The chances are great there will come a time when the things that make you happy (work, money, children) cause serious conflict in your marriage, too.
Whether the conflict manifests as a full-blown relationship meltdown or subtle tension bubbling below the surface, happily married couples address it. They tell their partners how they feel and what they would like, then they listen to what the other person has to say. Happily married couples manage conflict with empathy, open-mindedness and kindness.
2. They treat one another with respect.
As days, months, and years of marriage pass, people start to take their spouses (as well as their best qualities) for granted. As you find yourself falling into this complacency, your partner could someday recognize (in surprise) that you treat your dog with more respect than you treat them. This is a painful realization.
Happily married couples understand their partners want to feel like the king or queen of the castle. They know how to treat royalty; with the honor and respect the partner not only deserves, but that was a promise of the marital union. Not only do happily married couples know how to be respectful, they are respectful–even when they are angry or have been wronged.
3. They support each other in achieving their dreams and overcoming their fears.
Along with shared dreams and challenges, individually, married couples possess unique desires and worries. Happily married couples guarantee the safety of their partners’ hearts by treating those hopes and anxieties with care. While there may come a time when a partner has to express disagreement (for the highest good of the relationship) with something the spouse wants (or with an unhealthy pattern of behavior), as often as they can, happily married couples bolster their spouses.
4. They get on the same page about money.
Many marriages fall apart over money. While people don’t have to share identical philosophies about finances, happily married couples talk about how much money they have, how they prioritize spending and how they will save for a rainy day. They recognize that not arriving at a common ground over money leads to worry, stress, and most certainly the beginning of the end.
5. They allow each partner to have a life independent of the relationship.
Happily married couples know that healthy individuals create a healthy partnership. Part of being a healthy individual is exploring and expressing your own passions without the interference (or forced involvement) of your partner. Nothing will smother the flames of love more quickly than jealousy and possessiveness. Happily married couples recognize the value in allowing each spouse to spend time being “selfish,” which ultimately increases the willingness (and ability) of each to be selfless.
6. They place their friendship as the highest priority in the relationship.
When everything is going wrong in the relationship (or in life), happily married couples draw on the biggest asset they share – friendship. A couple’s friendship is an ever-evolving work in progress, and it changes as people age, as interests change, as children are born, and as the nest becomes empty. Happily married couples constantly cultivate the friendship with their spouse to ensure the roots grow strong and deep, qualities which serve the marriage when it’s forced to weather a storm.
7. They remember everything is temporary.
Happily married couples understand that everything is temporary and hard times will pass. Through uncertainty and fear, there are lessons in perseverance to learn. Happily married couples look at difficult experiences for those lessons, shift perspective and adapt in concert to make it through…together.
8. They are optimistic, laugh and have fun.
In spite of hardships that will happen, happily married couples look for the joys in life. They believe there is always something to be grateful for, and they look for the gift in each difficult experience. Above all, happily married couples remember the value of keeping a sense of humor, laughing and having fun together.
May you find great happiness in your marriage.
Featured photo credit: Young couple in love outdoors via bigstockphoto.com