Marriage is the biggest commitment a person can make in the world. Despite this, many marriages fail. But there are some that do succeed. Those couples who celebrate many anniversaries understand some basic things about marriage.
My parents had a successful marriage of forty years until death took my father. Here are the keys to a successful marriage that my mother shared with me.
* Don’t enter the marriage with an assumption that it is going to be like the movies or the novels that you read. Real couples are not always going to be gaga over each other. Romance and passion do fade over time.
* It is natural for couples to fight. In fact many feel fighting is necessary to keep the marriage alive. Fighting adds a spark to the monotony of everyday living. But couples should try to avoid hurting each other with hurtful barbs and taunting words. You have to argue in a positive way. If it is taken too far, angry words can shatter your partner’s self-esteem. There must be mutual respect, even when there are disagreements. Couples in therapy sessions learn to focus on how to speak freely about what is bothering them, without lashing out at each other. Fighting clean is a technique that couples can learn. But physical abuse should never be tolerated.
* You must be willing to make some sacrifices. When one partner makes all the sacrifices, it leads to an unhappy marriage. Partners must share responsibilities in their marriage. This will strengthen the relationship and promote understanding and love between you, which is a key to a successful marriage.
* Physical intimacy is a major factor in establishing a happy marriage. For some, as time goes by, physical intimacy becomes a non-issue. It may be hard to believe, but there are married couples where physical intimacy is not an issue with them. They enjoy their time together. They have learned to enjoy other aspects of their lives together.
* Money is important. Even though love is the glue that holds a marriage together, money is necessary to build security and to establish stability for a family. The traditional roles of a husband being the primary earner and financial supporter of the family is no longer the rule in many marriages. And for many couples the rearing of the children is no longer the only responsibility that a wife has in marriage. Today the wife and the husband are both expected to contribute financial support to the family and to care for the children.
* Don’t neglect to spend enough time with your partner. Spending time with each other produces a strong relationship between a husband and wife. Becoming engrossed in your career and too preoccupied with other things may cause serious problems for you. The two of you may become disconnected and distance from each other. In time you will discover that the two of you have grown indifferent toward your marriage and lack the closeness to each other that you once felt.
*Keep in mind that no marriage is perfect. It requires work. If your marriage is in trouble, don’t be afraid to seek help from someone who can give you the tools you need to re-establish love, rebuild trust, respect, and a commitment to your marriage.
*Never forget to let your partner know that they are the most important person in your life. It is the fundamental key to a successful marriage.