One of my reviewers for SOULLESS suggested it's highly possible I am very happily married. She's right. Today is my 15 year anniversary. We started out epically in love, and are still epically in love.
So how does that work? Well, here are a few secrets (in no particular order):
1. Don't live together first. "What?" you ask. But that's what people do! That's how you're supposed to do it.
No. No, it's not.
Think about this on a subconscious level. Choosing to live together before marriage is like saying, "Here, let's give this a trial run to see if it works out."
Wow. That's romance for you. NOT.
When you start a relationship, start with the deepest commitment: I'm in this for forever. Think about what that does on a base level. Your commitment is 100%. Your partner's commitment is 100%. It's not a "let's see if this works" kind of arrangement. You're both ALL IN.
Start with that basis, and your chances of success multiply exponentially. (Don't believe me? Check out source 1 and source 2. There are hundreds of others, but the facts are actually quite astonishing.)
2. Talk, all the time. And listen too. For a school project (before I was married), I interviewed my grandmother about what was most important in marriage. Her answer: Communication.
My hubby and I were apart for 2 years before we were able to get married, and our only means of communication was letters. We got to know one another pretty well through the written word. In fact, call us silly, but we still text, call or chat every single day while we're at work. It may be a simple issue involving the kids, or a quick, "I'm thinking about you." It doesn't matter what it is, but we're in touch.
3. Go to bed together. What happens when your schedules fall out of sync, is then your lives fall out of sync. Suddenly you develop different priorities. There are also studies that say couples who cuddle or touch while sleeping, have stronger relationships.
4. Do something that shows you love your spouse every day. This should be obvious, right? Here's the key: learning how to tell someone you love them.
What? You just say it, right?
For some people, an act of service is really the way you say, "I love you." For some it's physical touch. For others it's receiving gifts. Others need regular verbal reinforcement (compliments etc). For ALL, it's quality time.
5. Willingly make sacrifices. When you say, "I do", you promise to think always of the other person in your decisions. There is no room for selfishness.
I've watch marriages crumble because although a husband may say, "I love you", he won't make the sacrifice to get or hold down a steady job. On the reverse, some marriages crumble because a woman won't learn how to curb her spending.
Real love requires a willingness to change our behaviors.
6. DATE. Yes, even after marriage. I once heard a very wise man say, "Love is actually spelled T-I-M-E." Dates don't have to cost money. They can be a simple walk in the park together, viewing Christmas lights, playing board games. Whatever you do, make it a priority and be sure to plan something regularly. Once a week is awesome. Once a month is MANDATORY. WITHOUT KIDS.
7. Common interests or hobbies. My mom likes to remodel her house. Crazy, right? But each project is something she and her husband can do together. They enjoy creating as a team.
Some people enjoy playing sports, running or exercising, giving service to charities, gardening, or theater... Whatever it is, build some common ground--something that belongs to both of you.
8. Positive Mental Dialog. It's so easy to forget why you fell in love with someone to begin with, but focusing on the good in a person is one way to keep love alive. If you allow yourself to focus on the bad or annoying, you will start seeing your spouse in a degraded light. Look for the good--just like you hope they are doing for you. In fact, when you focus on the positive, they are very likely to reciprocate the kindness.
9. Religion. We live in a world where people want to say this aspect doesn't matter.
Religious beliefs are at the core of a person's soul. I suppose that's why I hesitate to share mine, even when I should, because they are so sacred to me. For instance, because of our beliefs, when my husband and I married, we married for eternity--not just until death-do-you-part. Marriage is a priority as part of our religion. God comes first, then one another, then kids, then church, then work and school...
|15 Happy Years|
Because it's my anniversary, I'm taking the week off, but first let's announce the latest winner!
Last week Stacey Nash shared FORGET ME NOT with us, along with two lies and one truth. Those who guessed the truth correctly were entered into a random drawing for the chance to win an eBook.
1. Stacey is somehow linked with identical twins. There's always been at least one set playing a major role in her life at any given time.
2. She was once stark naked in the DMV.
3. She has more ribs than most people, and that's what makes her a mutant (or if you prefer, meta-human). It's not her super power though. That's being able to hear her name whispered from across a crowded room.
And the lie is:
#2. In Stacey's own words: "The DMV (or RTA as we call it on Australia) was crowded and my then three year old and I had been waiting for over an hour for our turn to speak with an employee. He's a good kid, but he was getting rather agitated, hungry, and like me just wanted to get out of there. Finally, our number was called so I moved up to the counter to renew our car's registration. Mr three was terribly frustrated by this, because if we were moving we should have been moving toward the exit. So as I was talking to the DMV lady, he tried to get my attention. When I asked him to wait, he just grew more frustrated, until finally he tugged on my dress really, REALLY, hard. It was one of those maxi dresses that are fitted around the bust then flow out. Well, he'd tugged so hard it slipped right down to my waist together with my strapless bra. (I have trouble holding them up cause I'm tiny.) I don't think the poor lady knew where to look and thankfully the massive queue behind us could only see my back."
What a story, right?
Way to guess everyone! And the winner is:
What are some secrets you've learned for a healthy relationship? Are you celebrating anything this week? Have you ever written or read about a relationship that made you want to do better?