How long have you been married?
Is yours a happy marriage?
Has the initial romantic buzz started to diminish?
Are you still serious about your wedding ceremony commitment?
There’s some truth in that old saying about “the seven year itch”.
If you want to keep the interest and passion flowing in your relationship, then keep reading. A psychologist colleague I talked with recently has found four key secrets that are common to a successful long term happy marriage.
1. Know yourself
Get to know yourself and work out how to become a whole, happy person.
Marriages often fail because individual personalities come with baggage. Unfortunately some of us are not even aware that we have any baggage.
The problem arises when the baggage guides your behavior and how you relate to others.
Knowing yourself, being aware of your issues, confronting and surmounting them will make you a better person and a better spouse.
If you have had issues such as low self worth, lack of confidence, fear of intimacy and the like, start by working on healing them.
Expose yourself to ideas and experiences from self-help books, classes, counseling, and support groups.
Talk to mature, happy individuals you know and learn from them.
Self awareness will help you to evolve, develop your self-esteem and a strong sense of your real self.
2. Love is a decision you made .. but that’s just the beginning
Many couples resort to divorce because they believe the love has gone. However, it’s not necessarily the love that has gone but the excitement of early romance.
Love is more than the feeling. When you fell in love you made a decision with your full, whole consciousness as a mature human being. This decision was only the first step.
Love is a doing word.
Feeling love and showing love are two different things.
To keep the fire of love burning you need to keep doing things together. You also need to do things for each other. We all have different needs so find out what your partner likes. It may be kind and loving words, soft loving touch, thoughtful gifts, little jobs or maybe just time together.
Then do what the love of your life likes and do it often. Your passion will inspire and lead your spouse to reciprocate
Actions speak louder than words and by you showing your love, you are continually building on that love.
3. It’s not Me anymore, it’s We
Once you enter into a relationship, you are no longer just two individuals. Being a couple has a life and personality of its own. You are in this together and any issues affecting your marriage must be discussed, decided and acted upon together. You must also prioritize your partnership over each of your other existing relationships including family and friends.
Make the effort each day to affirm your partnership by spending quality time with each other and continue to build intimacy in your marriage.
4. Communication….that’s the name of the game
Communication isn’t just simply talking. Talking is only the first part.
For a marriage to work, you need to talk and talk often. Talk about all sorts of things; other people or ideas, philosophies, your own insights and discovered wisdom.
Share your feelings and emotions.
If your views differ, agree to disagree. Differing views make for interesting discussions.
Talking is the key and you can
“talk of many things:
Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
Of cabbages–and kings—“
Whatever it is, talk. And while you’re at it, respect each other’s point of view.
And here’s the vital second part of the Communication Cycle.
When you truly listen, you hear both what is being said and what is not.
You learn to pick up cues from both verbal and non-verbal communication. You learn to hear with your inner sense and begin to use comprehension and understanding.
Talk with and listen to your partner and your marriage will flourish.