Experts say for a happy relationship, it's important to heighten and reinforce your sense of oneness, then guard and protect it. When you're in a long-term relationship with someone, you make tons of decisions together, both big and small, but there's perhaps no. So why not consult them? Why not ask them for their best relationship/marriage advice? Why not synthesize all of their wisdom and experience.
These were all smart and well-spoken people from all walks of life, from all around the world, all with their own histories, tragedies, mistakes and triumphs… And yet they were all saying pretty much the same dozen things. Which means that those dozen or so things must be pretty damn important… and more importantly, they work. I got married the second time because I was miserable and lonely and thought having a loving wife would fix everything for me.
It really is that simple. When I sent out my request to readers for advice, I added a caveat that turned out to be illuminating.
I asked people who were on their second or third or fourth marriages what they did wrong. Where did they mess up? Pressure from friends and family. Being young and naive and hopelessly in love and thinking that love would solve everything. Without that mutual admiration, everything else will unravel.
It is something that can be both healthy or unhealthy, helpful or harmful, depending on why and how you love someone else and are loved by someone else. By itself, love is never enough to sustain a relationship. They go into relationships with these unrealistic expectations. And more importantly, sticking it out is totally worth it, because that, too, will change.
It expands and contracts and mellows and deepens.
In ancient times, people genuinely considered love a sickness. Parents warned their children against it, and adults quickly arranged marriages before their children were old enough to do something dumb in the name of their emotions. We all know that guy or girl who dropped out of school, sold their car and spent the money to elope on the beaches of Tahiti.
We all also know that that guy or girl ended up sulking back a few years later feeling like a moron, not to mention broke. It generally only lasts for a few years at most. It does for everybody.
True love — that is, deep, abiding love that is impervious to emotional whims or fancy — is a choice. That form of love is much harder. But this form of love is also far more satisfying and meaningful. And, at the end of the day, it brings true happiness, not just another series of highs. Every day you wake up and decide to love your partner and your life — the good, the bad and the ugly. Many people are instead addicted to the ups and downs of romantic love. They are in it for the feels, so to speak.
And when the feels run out, so do they. Many people get into a relationship as a way to compensate for something they lack or hate within themselves.
This is a one-way ticket to a toxic relationship because it makes your love conditional — you will love your partner as long as they help you feel better about yourself.
You will give to them as long as they give to you. You will make them happy as long as they make you happy. That is the truth. But you never want to lose respect for your partner. Once you lose respect you will never get it back.
Talk about everything, even if it hurts. But we noticed that the thing people with marriages going on 20, 30, or even 40 years talked about most was respect. My sense is that these people, through sheer quantity of experience, have learned that communication, no matter how open, transparent and disciplined, will always break down at some point.
Conflicts are ultimately unavoidable, and feelings will always be hurt. You will judge their choices and encroach on their independence. You will feel the need to hide things from one another for fear of criticism.
And this is when the cracks in the edifice begin to appear. Of course, this means showing respect, but that is too superficial.
You have to feel it deep within you. I deeply and genuinely respect him for his work ethic, his patience, his creativity, his intelligence, and his core values. From this respect comes everything else — trust, patience, perseverance because sometimes life is really hard and you both just have to persevere.
I want to enable him to have some free time within our insanely busy lives because I respect his choices of how he spends his time and who he spends time with. And, really, what this mutual respect means is that we feel safe sharing our deepest, most intimate selves with each other.
Because without that self-respect, you will not feel worthy of the respect afforded by your partner. You will be unwilling to accept it and you will find ways to undermine it. You will constantly feel the need to compensate and prove yourself worthy of love, which will just backfire. Respect for your partner and respect for yourself are intertwined.
Never talk badly to or about her. You chose her — live up to that choice.
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Common examples given by many readers: NEVER talk shit about your partner or complain about them to your friends. If you have a problem with your partner, you should be having that conversation with them, not with your friends.
Talking bad about them will erode your respect for them and make you feel worse about being with them, not better. Respect that they have different hobbies, interests and perspectives from you. Respect that they have an equal say in the relationship, that you are a team, and if one person on the team is not happy, then the team is not succeeding. Have a crush on someone else? Had a weird sexual fantasy that sounds ridiculous? Be open about it.
Nothing should be off-limits. Respect goes hand-in-hand with trust. And trust is the lifeblood of any relationship romantic or otherwise. Without trust, there can be no sense of intimacy or comfort. Without trust, your partner will become a liability in your mind, something to be avoided and analyzed, not a protective homebase for your heart and your mind. We have so many friends who are in marriages that are not working well and they tell me all about what is wrong.
A large percentage of these emails involve their struggling romantic relationships. These emails, too, are surprisingly repetitive. A couple years ago, I discovered that I was answering the vast majority of these relationship emails with the exact same response. Then come back and ask again. If something bothers you in the relationship, you must be willing to say it. Saying it builds trust and trust builds intimacy.
It may hurt, but you still need to do it. No one else can fix your relationship for you. Nor should anyone else. Just as causing pain to your muscles allows them to grow back stronger, often introducing some pain into your relationship through vulnerability is the only way to make the relationship stronger.
Behind respect, trust was the most commonly mentioned trait for a healthy relationship. But trust goes much deeper than that. If you ended up with cancer tomorrow, would you trust your partner to stick with you and take care of you? Would you trust your partner to care for your child for a week by themselves? Do you trust them to handle your money or make sound decisions under pressure?
Do you trust them to not turn on you or blame you when you make mistakes? These are hard things to do. Trust at the beginning of a relationship is easy.
What if she is hiding something herself? The key to fostering and maintaining trust in the relationship is for both partners to be completely transparent and vulnerable: If something is bothering you, say something. This is important not only for addressing issues as they arise, but it proves to your partner that you have nothing to hide. Those icky, insecure things you hate sharing with people?
Share them with your partner. Make promises and then stick to them. You cannot build that track record until you own up to previous mistakes and set about correcting them.
This is hard and will likely require confrontation to get to the bottom of. Own up to it. And strive to be better. Trust is like a china plate. If you drop it and it breaks, you can put it back together with a lot of work and care. If you drop it and break it a second time, it will split into twice as many pieces and it will require far more time and care to put back together again.
But drop and break it enough times, and it will shatter into so many pieces that you will never be able to put it back together again, no matter what you do. Figure out as individuals what makes you happy as an individual, be happy yourself, then you each bring that to the relationship. You are supposed to keep the relationship happy by consistently sacrificing yourself for your partner and their wants and needs. There is some truth to that. Every relationship requires each person to consciously choose to give something up at times.
Just read that again. This is the person you chose.
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It will only backfire and make you both miserable. Have the courage to be who you are, and most importantly, let your partner be who they are. Those are the two people who fell in love with each other in the first place. What do I mean? Have your own interests, your own friends, your own support network, and your own hobbies. Overlap where you can, but not being identical should give you something to talk about and expose one another to. People sung the praises of separate checking accounts, separate credit cards, having different friends and hobbies, taking separate vacations from one another each year this has been a big one in my own relationship.
Some even went so far as to recommend separate bathrooms or even separate bedrooms. Some people are afraid to give their partner freedom and independence. BUT, more importantly, this inability to let our partners be who they are, is a subtle form of disrespect. What does it say for your respect for yourself? Drives me nuts when I see women not let their husbands go out with the guys or are jealous of other women.
We have changed faiths, political parties, numerous hair colors and styles, but we love each other and possibly even more. Our grown kids constantly tell their friends what hopeless romantics we are. And the biggest thing that keeps us strong is not giving a fuck about what anyone else says about our relationship.
I can get on board with that. Among major life changes people told me their marriages went through and survived: Amazingly, these couples survived because their respect for each other allowed them to adapt and allow each person to continue to flourish and grow.
You know who they are today, but you have no idea who this person is going to be in five years, ten years, and so on. You have to be prepared for the unexpected, and truly ask yourself if you admire this person regardless of the superficial or not-so-superficial details, because I promise almost all of them at some point are going to either change or go away.
In fact, at times, it will be downright soul-destroying. Which is why you need to make sure you and your partner know how to fight.
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Much like the body and muscles, it cannot get stronger without stress and challenge. You have to fight. You have to hash things out. Obstacles make the marriage. What Gottman does is he gets married couples in a room, puts some cameras on them, and then he asks them to have a fight. He asks them to fight.
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Successful couples, like unsuccessful couples, he found, fight consistently. And some of them fight furiously. He has been able to narrow down four characteristics of a couple that tend to lead to divorces or breakups. Stonewalling withdrawing from an argument and ignoring your partner. The reader emails back this up as well. Out of the 1,some-odd emails, almost every single one referenced the importance of dealing with conflicts well. Advice given by readers included: Never insult or name-call your partner.
This solves nothing and just makes the fight twice as bad as it was before. Yeah, you forgot to pick up groceries on the way home, but what does him being rude to your mother last Thanksgiving have to do with anything? If things get too heated, take a breather. Remove yourself from the situation and come back once emotions have cooled off a bit.
This is a big one for me personally, sometimes when things get intense with my wife, I get overwhelmed and just leave for a while. I usually walk around the block times and let myself seeth for about 15 minutes. Lies break trust and trust is the foundation of a strong marriage. Best Advice For Marriage Be patient with each other.
Your spouse is always more important than your schedule. Model the kind of marriage that will make your sons want to grow up to be good husbands and your daughters want to grow up to be good wives. Never talk badly about your spouse to other people or vent about them online. Protect your spouse at all times and in all places.
Always wear your wedding ring. It will remind you that you are always connected to your spouse and it will remind the rest of the world that you are off limits!
Connect into a community of faith. A good church can make a world of difference in your marriage and family. Every marriage is stronger with God in the middle of it. When you have to choose between saying nothing or saying something mean to your spouse, say nothing every time! Try to reconsider divorce as an option. Never put your in-laws Father, Mother, Siblings or relatives before your spouse The primary duty of a man is to love his wife, protect and provide for his wife and family, while the woman should respect, honour, and support her husband.
For example, does he want a housewife or one who works; does she want him to support in carrying out house chores or is she comfortable doing it all alone.
Husbands should try hard to reinvent themselves with romantic words said to his wife, while the wife should always look good for her husband even after the arrival of kids. For a marriage to work, partners must be ready to tolerate a whole lot and be patient with each other, putting in mind the different upbringing of the other partner. If you must correct some flaw, do so lovingly as many time as you can and usually, with time, there would be change.
In the marriage, remember that when the wine of human love runs out, never forget to tap into the highest love made possible through the grace of God.