Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Thoughts about a happy marriage.

Post 433 - “When you’re in love, you can’t fall asleep because reality is better than your dreams,” according to Dr. Seuss. Yet, it can be very hard to stay awake and alert, focusing on the big picture, when you’re in a long-term relationship. Barbara and I have been happily married for 40-years come next Sunday, so this is a topic where I have some direct experience. Hopefully, those of you who are currently married, or are considering getting married, will find the following observations helpful:

* First and foremost, keep the doors of communication open. Always take the time to talk to each other about what’s going on in your separate lives, your life together, finances, family, everything that’s important. There are no secrets or out-of-bound areas in a good marriage. Once people stop communicating, their marriage begins to break down. When they’re no longer communicating, one or both spouses seek out other people to communicate with. This is how affairs often get started - because people are lonely and need someone to talk to. Never ever give your spouse a reason to feel lonely.

* Spend time together. Schedule a "date night" at least once a week. Make it a special time that you spend together where you can enjoy each other's company exclusively. Get a baby-sitter. Shut off the cell phones and actually spend time alone together.

* Make time for the physical side of your relationship. Don’t make excuses that you’re too tired, or stressed or whatever. There’s really no excuse for not being intimate with your spouse. This is one of the main cornerstones to any marriage. Once you lose this intimacy, your marriage is sure to follow.

* Never criticize your spouse or make them look bad in the company of other people. Remarks like this, however harmless they may seem, have a way of becoming a habit. This often starts off as a joke, but the next thing you know, it becomes nasty and bitter. Always look for kind things to say about each other.

* Blame is never good. If your partner's at fault for whatever reason, they probably already know this and could do without you pointing it out to them. This isn’t a good thing for their self-esteem, or for your relationship.

* Make sure to tell your partner every day how much you love and care for them, and how thankful you are to be together. Surprise them with an unexpected romantic gesture at least once a week - a rose or favorite chocolates or wine or a love note you made just for them – you get the idea.

* When problems arise in your relationship, sit down together and think it through. Make notes of what you think is wrong and why, and you’ll usually be able to see where the problems are coming from, which connections have broken down. And once you can see the problems, you can usually figure out how to go about fixing them.

* If you consciously decide from the beginning that your relationship will be successful and that you’ll never get divorced, no matter what, you’re much more likely to work at making your marriage work. Marriage is an ongoing process, not a finished product, and all marriages need hard work in order to stay healthy.

* We all need dreams and goals to aspire to, otherwise life can be pretty mundane. If you and your partner can continually set goals together, then you both have something to aim for. This creates a stronger bond between you and gets you working towards a common goal.

* And lastly, don’t forget the words of the poet Natasha Josefowitz, who recently observed, “A woman marries a man thinking he’ll change. He doesn’t. A man marries a woman thinking she won’t change – and she does.”

1 comment:

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