The Secrets To A Great Marriage
My husband and I were married in 1965, raised a family and still feel about each other as though we are newlyweds. Brides, grooms and married couples who know us, often ask us something akin to: "What is the secret to your relationship and happy marriage?"
Since I write for brides and grooms and married couples, I thought this is an important topic to write about. When you first decide to marry, you are very much in love. It is this flame that you need to nurture so it does not dim. If you do, you too will enjoy the bliss of a happy fulfilling marriage. But how do you do it? There are many aspects to married life and all are crucial. Some couples look at the movies for fairy tale marriages where all is always rosy and nice. Reality however dictates that you should never take your spouse for granted and that each of you needs to give MORE than 100 percent but expect less. Of the highest priority is that you make your marriage the MOST important part of your life and your spouse the most important person. Never compromise the place of your spouse or marriage relating to anything else. We often hear married people say that the kids come first. We say that the only exception is your spouse. After all, your children are invited guests in your marriage. Guests that eventually will leave you empty nesters. Once more, you are a married couple without children at home. Is your flame still burning? It should be! Following are suggestions that are the results of our experiences as husband and wife. SET ASIDE TIME FOR EACH OTHER We are all very busy. Our days, weeks months and years are filled with many obligations and responsibilities that are demanding of our time and energy. From work, house keeping, child rearing and volunteering even to socializing, our calendar is full. Yet we make sure to devote special time for each other. It does not have to be a large block of time. A phone call during the day just to say "“I love you", "I miss you" or "I was thinking about you"” or placing a love note in your spouse’s car does not take much time yet warms the heart. PRAISE, COMPLIMENT AND ENCOURAGE EACH OTHER It does not take but a moment to share kind words, compliments praise and encouragement. Yet they are very important to a great relationship. Both my husband and I have and will continue to tell each other how grateful, how fortunate, how lucky and how fulfilled we feel for having the other as our partner in life. Yes! Marrying my husband is the best thing that ever happened to me. We find opportunities for sentiments such as:
- “you look great.
- I really like your…,
- I am proud of you for…,
- Your idea is terrific. You should pursue it.
- Thanks for your input it really helps.
- I am glad I asked for your opinion.
- You make my life complete.
- What would I do without you?
DO THINGS TOGETHER
It is always fun to be together. So find things that both of you can participate in and do them together. Whether it is entertainment or household chores, visiting or going on vacation nothing can bring you closer than sharing and being with one another, showing interest and participating in what is important to your mate.
Take Chiho for example. She does not particularly enjoy going to the movies. Yet, she surprised Dan when she took him to a movie he mentioned he would like to see.
Just as doing things together is crucial to a great marriage, it is also crucial to remember that occasionally we all need our own space. Do not always hang around. Allow your spouse his or her own space. DO FOR EACH OTHER It is expected that married couples will remember and celebrate each other on special occasions such as birthdays, holidays and anniversaries. Ours happens to be easy to remember as we got married on the 4th of July.But the beauty and warmth of a surprise exceeds them all. Small and large gestures done without fanfare say, "I love you and think of you." And "“you are important to me". Here again, you do not have to be rich to surprise each other as acts of kindness go a long way. Neither my husband nor I ever surprised the other with a diamond ring or a new car sitting in the driveway. We just do little things for each other, sometimes serious sometimes humorous, but always with love. In fact, just yesterday my husband walked in with a lovely bonsai tree in a planter and said: "When I saw this beautiful little tree I thought of you and how much you’ll enjoy it."
Put on your thinking cap and come up with ideas that will please your mate and reflect your love.
Take your mate on a surprise day outing just for enjoyment.
Set a special dinner table and if you have no children light candles for a romantic atmosphere.
Bring home a box of candies, a bottle of wine or champagne, a dessert your spouse likes a book he or she will enjoy, a movie to watch together.Or how about a bonsai tree?.
Bring your spouse a stuffed animal, a piggy bank for the laundry room for loose change that falls out of pockets, a flower or even just a card.
Surprise your spouse with a new outfit or sexy lingerie and he will cherish the moment.
Prepare a bubble bath for your un-suspecting wife complete with romantic candles and she will thank you for your thoughtfulness.
Warm your spouse’s car on a cold morning.
Share in doing the chores.
You know what your spouse will enjoy and appreciate. Use your imagination and surprise him or her.
We are all human and no one is perfect. Every marriage includes two individuals with their unique personality traits, some wonderful and some faulty. Yes! We all have our faults. So how do we handle the faulty traits yet love, respect and be thankful for having our spouse?
Rather than criticize, we do our utmost to understand each other and turn the faults into positives.
Let us say that others think of your spouse as touchy. Why not describe him or her as sensitive?
How about turning the tables from a manipulative person to a person who is very resourceful with many creative ideas?
Have you got a fussy spouse? Or is he or she simply very organized and efficient?
Your spouse is not messy. He or she simple is very creative and creative people work best when they are not restricted.
Here again, you know your spouse better than anyone else. Get creative. Talking about personality traits raises the question of disagreements. Since each of us is an individual, we each have our points of view and ideas that may differ and even contradict our spouse’s. This may cause disagreements and even fights. Anger and resentment may build and affect the relationship. Should you allow it? Absolutely not!
Act maturely about disagreements and do not let them escalate and become actual fights. Ask our sons who are in their thirties, and they will tell you that they can not recall us ever fighting exchanging harsh words or raising our voices. This is because we never allowed a disagreement to become more than an argument. And we settled our arguments over a cup of coffee. It is crucial that you resolve your misunderstandings and arguments and kiss and make up before you go to bed.
NEVER go to sleep angry at one another.
ALWAYS kiss and say “I love you” before you go to sleep.
Some individuals do not mind showing affection in public, while others are reserved. Yet we all like and need to be reassured that we are loved. Small gestures of love even as small as an unexpected touch, kiss or even a pat on the head can make us tingle and give us butterflies. Think about how you’d feel when you are watching TV or are at your computer and your spouse plants a kiss on the back of your neck or passes a loving hand on your head or back and leaves the room. That is right! He or she came into the room just to touch you with love. So, how do you feel about it?
ALWAYS STAND BY YOUR MAN – WOMAN
If not for my husband’s encouragement, patience, understanding and support, I would never have written this article because I would not have become involved with weddings. The books I have written and published,Candles By Nily and A-wedding Day would not have been born if not for his love and caring, interest and actual devotion to seeing me happy. Though my husband may not see it this way, he made many sacrifices to allow me to pursue my dreams. I am and always will be grateful to him. Many couples do and will, and we too encountered rough spots throughout our marriage. Some such as a lengthy period of unemployment could have caused us to separate yet, because of our deep love and devotion to one another, brought us closer together. We stood by each other just as we vowed "for better and for worse" and nurtured each other knowing that "“this too shall pass" and that we shall stay together and thrive. We are not angels and each of us made some mistakes along the way. We could have gotten upset and angry with the other. However, we took the route of rationalization. Our usual reaction has been that we learned an important lesson, it cost us less than college tuition and we can chuck it to experience and go on with life. As the author of this article, I concentrated on my husband and what he did to strengthen our marriage, as I did not find it appropriate to toot my own horn.