(By Carmen Harra)
What’s the secret to making sure that what you’ve created stands the test of time? The secret is that there is no secret …
So what’s the secret to making sure that what you’ve created stands the test of time? The secret is that there is no secret. Every couple’s situation is unique, but you can choose to adopt the right mentality to ensure you’re doing your part to make it work.
1. Value your marriage
Think of your marriage – not your car or house – as your most important asset. You’re the owner of your relationship, and you can mould your marriage into what you want it to become.
My advice to my clients is to place their family life before their professional life. Today, many women have become career women, which is amazing! But the problem begins when their career overlaps onto their home life. Keep your marriage and your work separate, but always choose your marriage over your work.
2. Forgive your spouse
Your spouse will commit errors along the way. Some will be greater than others, but it’s your responsibility to discern the grave errors from the minor mistakes.
In general, we have to learn to practise forgiveness more often. And certainly practising forgiveness in our marriage may very well save us from divorce.
3. Evaluate why you want to stay married
Getting married and staying married are two different stepping stones. If you are married, I want you to make a list of the ten reasons you want to stay in your marriage. These reasons may range from comfort to love to habit, and they are all valid reasons to stay married as long as they matter to you.
4. Develop the unbreakable bond
A bond is the glue of a marriage. Make yours unbreakable. This is more of a mental exercise; take on the mentality of “us against the world”.
No matter what life throws at you, think of you and your spouse as being inseparable. Affirm every day without fear in your heart.
5. Don’t take everything so seriously
So what if your husband snores louder than fireworks going off, or if your wife has a problem with being way too tidy? These are traits which make them unique. Don’t create reasons for arguments which aren’t valid.
Let your partner be who they are and admire them for both their strengths and weaknesses.
6. Envision the future of your marriage
Don’t take it day by day and hope that things will get better. Plan ahead in your marriage, as with anything else. Envision what your marriage will be like in five, 10, even 20 years from now. What can you do each day to make sure that you and your spouse will still be satisfied by the relationship many years down the road?
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7. Make three necessary corrections
Any marriage, no matter how stable, can stand to use three improvements. Just as you improve your home, so too can you improve your relationship. Evaluate what three factors in your marriage need to be addressed and corrected or improved in some way. For example, maybe your partner doesn’t trust you enough. Make it a point to speak with them about this issue right away and find a compromise to make it better.
8. Compromise, compromise, compromise
If your partner won your last disagreement, allow them to win this one. You won’t always get your way, and understanding this is one of the first steps towards a beautiful marriage.
9. Simplicity is key
We, as humans, over-complicate absolutely every facet of life. As a rule of thumb, the simpler your marriage the more pure, genuine, and solid it will be. Don’t seek to make your relationship too complex with false promises, negative emotions, or pretentious demands.
10. Worship with your spouse
The family that prays together stays together. Whether you’re Jewish or Christian or just Spiritual in creed, worship with your spouse. Even if they’re of a different religion, take turns observing the holidays sacred to each of you. Solidifying your common beliefs will deepen your relationship and will bring you both closer to Spirit.
11. Form habits together
Here’s a thought for change – do things together! Take up a new habit with your spouse, such as a new exercise routine you can both enjoy or a new craft you know they’ll be interested in. This will lead to new conversation, more mutual interests, and those tender moments which later become cherished memories.
12. Return to the beginning
Go back in time. Try to remember what made you fall in love with this person from the day you met them. What qualities made you especially interested in them? These qualities are still alive in your spouse, but maybe they’re temporarily overshadowed by anger, bitterness, or frustration. See past their negative emotions and dig deep to rediscover their greatest qualities, the ones you fell in love with from day one.
13. Prioritize your marriage
Don’t let your marriage fall behind other elements of life. Remember that this is the one person in the entire world you decided to embark on a journey with. That journey is your marriage, and it isn’t meant to end here. Place it back as your first priority, as it was when you began your journey.