We all know the sad truth that over 50% of people who say “I Do” in fact “Don’t” around seven-eight years after that blissful stroll down the aisle. Suffice it to say that my work with couples which has spanned over two decades suggests that many people head into marriage almost totally clueless of the realities of what makes a relationship work. Marriages may appear easy in the beginning, when the hormones are racing and love can blind us to not so favorable attributes in our partner. A few years down the road, add a mortgage payment, a couple of kids, money issues, maybe a stalled career and well, life in general, and your marriage can suddenly appear to be on a downward spiral.
Following are 3 truths about marriage/relationships you must know if you want to survive the tough times that will surely lie ahead.
- Marriage is not about you – it is about the partnership of the relationship. Talk to anyone who has been happily married for more than 5 minutes and they will tell you one secret to their happiness lies in their ability to compromise on an issue, and/or to respectfully agree to disagree. In the end, you need to ask yourself: “Is it more important to be right or to be in this relationship?” Your answer will become startlingly clear.
- Giving is the key to happiness in all our relationships, and this is especially true within our marriage. Focus your energy and love on what your partner wants and do not be totally obsessed only with what you want. Authentically giving to your partner fosters good will and positivity and prevents the buildup of resentment over time. Interestingly enough, the more you give in your relationship, the more you usually get in return. But remember, you are not keeping score.
- Sex –don’t underestimate its value in a healthy relationship. A marriage without a healthy sex life is not really a healthy marriage at all. Be realistic about your sexual expectations. It is not always going to be like the 4 th of July every time, and the frequency will ebb and flow throughout the years. Yes I know the kids, the house, the job are exhausting but we cannot out our sex life on the back burner until the kids are grown – since we might not have a marriage, let alone a sex life to come back to! The bottom line is to make sex a priority in your relationship, but a priority with realistic expectations. And ladies, if your husband isn’t quite hitting the mark shall we say, help him out by showing and/or gently telling him – he won’t know if you don’t let him (gently of course), and he cannot read your mind.
Enter into your marriage or goal of a long-term relationship keeping these 3 truths about marriage in mind, and you will be equipped to live happily ever after.
Rekindle Romance and Happiness in Your Relationship,
Dr. Patty Ann