Although these are not the only things that will help you start your marriage off on a strong footing – these are ten things I believe to be very important.
- That being in love is not enough for building a successful marriage
The warm, euphoric feeling will come to an end and if that is all that is holding your marriage together, it will fail. We cannot imagine that this can ever happen when we are in this stage of “being in love” that all we see are the good in our loved one, and whatever “problem area” we see, we automatically dismiss because we believe that “being in love” will solve any problem. By the time we realize that it isn’t, we are down the “rabbit hole” wondering what happened to our relationship, when all that happened was “real life” and we begin to blame each other for the failure in our relationship. Marriage/relationships require that you get to really know your partner and to continue loving them regardless of the minor imperfections that you will find. Marriage takes work. And the simplest way I can help you to make your marriage successful is to continue to do the same things you did for and to each other when you were dating. Of course there are others, but that is a good start.
- There are two stages to romantic love
The first stage is the euphoric stage and in this stage our loved one is an angel sent from heaven. We do and say anything that is necessary to make and keep our loved one happy. We gloss over their imperfections and faults and see only what good about them. According to research, this stage last for about two years.
The second stage requires that couples transition to a more realistic way of being with each other. The hormones have subsided and couples now “see” and “experience” some of the ways their partner is not as perfect as they once thought. This stage has to be more intentional if the relationship is to survive. In this stage it will require that you work to keep the emotional love alive. One of the ways that you can do this is to know how your partner prefers to be loved. Everyone has a preferential way they want you to show love to them.
- It is important to have similar values in order to have a successful marriage
If you value your relationship with God and you partner values relationship with the club, there is bound to be a problem in your relationship. If you like to spend money as soon as you earn it, and your partner wants to save to buy a home; again, there will be lots of arguing and conflicts in your relationship. I’m guessing by now you see the importance of both partners having similar values in your relationships.
- Forgiveness is NOT a feeling
Most people believe forgiveness means letting go of the hurt, at which point feelings of love should be restored. But this is not what forgiveness really means. When you’re in a relationship with someone you love and you know you’ve hurt them in some way, the correct thing to do is to apologize. And realize also that the apology will not mean that the person wronged will immediately feel a rush of love for you that very instant. It takes time for them to process and time to heal, however, if you do not apologize, it’s almost impossible for that barrier that was created, to be removed so that healing can occur.
There is also the other scenario where a person will never apologize and is no longer available to work through the hurt they caused. It is at this time you have to make the decision to forgive anyway – this time for you. Again, it does not mean you have forgotten the hurt, however, forgiving frees you to move forward from the hurt.
- Disagreements can be solved without arguing
First – you need to realize that conflicts are a normal part of any relationship. No matter how well you get on together, how similar you are, conflicts are certain to happy, for the very reason that you are not exactly the same person with all the same experiences. You are different. It is at this time that couples begin to wonder if they married the wrong person. To solve disagreements without arguing,
- Realize that you are both different and will have different opinions from time to time
- Realize that conflicts can be a great teacher that will allow you to grow as a person, as you learn to be patient with and understanding of your partner’s point of view
- Realize that if you take the time to listen to your partner, that sometimes that is all it takes to resolve a conflict. Sometimes people just want to be heard and their point of view acknowledged
- Instead of saying “We need to talk!” Request a time where “we listen to each other.” Try to only bring one subject up each time this happens. Remember the idea here is to really listen to what the other person has to say. If something is not clear, repeat what you think you heard and ask if that was what he meant. Always do this in a non-confrontational and respectful way.
- If there is something that comes up that you cannot agree on – respectfully agree to disagree.
6. How money will be handled is a necessary discussion to have
However you need to have this resolved – just do it. Remember – respectful, non-confrontational interaction is the best way to listen and be heard. Before a decision is made to spend a lifetime together; there should be a clear understanding of each partner’s belief on how money should be managed. You don’t want to enter a marriage and the first couple months are spent quarreling about things which should have been resolved before entering into a lifetime commitment.
- It is important that you are friends first
Research has shown that couples that are best friends first, have a higher chance of making it through the difficult times. Best friends are committed to each other. The listen to and genuinely care about each other. They are able to be themselves with each other.
- Mutual sexual satisfaction is not always going to happen
There will be times when sexual satisfaction is not mutual. First, discuss this with your partner in a loving way if this is an ongoing event. Perhaps there may be need for medical intervention. Otherwise – they may just be having an off day. Never use derogatory comments to your partner.
- You are marrying into a family
You will have many interactions with your spouse’s family and having a good relationship with them will make it much easier and pleasant for you. Think of holiday dinners, family barbecues, picnics, grandchildren, sickness etc;
- Apologizing is a sign of strength
There is a belief that when one apologizes shows others that they are weak. However, the truth is the exact opposite. It is only the strong person who will have the inner strength to accept to others that they were wrong; it’s the weak that run away instead of face the music in an attempt to resolve whatever the problem is.