After reading the book Project Everlasting, I actually felt quite hopeful that successful marriages do and can exist. I realized that a blemished marriage can become that same great marriage it once was. (see The Secrets of Successful Marriages – Part One and Part Two for details on the previous marriage secrets and an over of the book written by Mathew Boggs and Jason Miller).
All of the Marriage Masters (the name given by the authors to the couples they interviewed) didn’t just luck out and sail through their relationships.
They recognized and could articulate why their marriages were successful. And really, how can you go wrong listening to the advice from couples who are talking the talk AND walking the walk?
A piece of advice from the book is to look for a partner with similar values on family, money and religious/spiritual beliefs as this can make for a smoother relationship.
I am sure you have heard the saying ‘Opposites Attract’. What I hope these couples realize is that there will be a lot compromise in their future.
In the beginning of their relationship, it might not be as obvious. When it comes to things like what type of house to buy, what neighborhood to live in, what vacation plans to make, etc, they may be on opposite ends of the spectrum. Can a compromise be found? Yes but hopefully they walked into the relationship with open eyes.
And when you are done giving…give a little more! Relationships should not be 50/50 – they should be 100/100. Stop thinking, “Well I did my share so now my partner better pick up the slack because I am done.”
In some parts of the relationship, you will have to give more and in other parts you partner will give more. It is never really an equal 50/50 so stop measuring!
Sex and Friendship
Real intimacy stems from romantic friendship. Having fun with your partner leads to a closeness, a connection with your partner which fuels your sex life. Sex does play a role in a relationship but by itself, it cannot build a lasting romantic friendship.
When gravity does its thing and beauty fades, friendship will make all the difference. Someone you can laugh with, talk for hours with, show your true colors to…Someone whose opinion you respect, that you would trust with your life.
I am finding my level of friendship with my boyfriend is playing a huge role in my satisfaction in this relationship…especially when compared to others I have dated. I can tell him ANYTHING! Even the crazy thoughts that go through my head. He never judges me or makes me feel stupid for thinking something.
We can have serious discussions and be silly 10 seconds later. I have to admit…I can’t get enough of him – in and out of the bedroom – even after a year of dating! Now, I can imagine some readers are saying, “Only a year? Try 10 years and be able to say the same thing!”
But for those who know me, I am usually dumping guys by now. They are lucky if they make it passed 3 months. I used to have a co-worker that sang the Hall & Oats song “Man Eater” every time I walked by. I would have dumped him but technically you can’t dump a co-worker that you are not dating. Ha ha
For me to be happy in a relationship at the one year mark is pretty much unheard of. I really credit a chunk of that happiness to the fact that I can tell him anything and he understands. I believe he feels the same way about me.
It has created a closeness between us that I don’t want to give up. It’s addictive really.
Never lose yourself in a relationship
Please don’t forget the importance of individuality in a relationship. Never get into a relationship where the other person tries to take away who you are. It is each partner’s individuality that will keep the relationship interesting.
Love is a Feeling AND a Choice
I found this key a bit surprising. Love is not purely a feeling, it is a choice.
I think many of us have watched too many soap operas and used the scripted drama as a basis of what real love looks like. We want that constant love high. That initial love high is not the only form that love takes. The following excerpt from the book describes it best.
“David and Sheila Epstein pulled out a book, The Art of Engagement, and showed me the stages of love, the first two of which I knew well: illusion (my favorite), and then disillusionment, when I started noticing my mate’s flaws, fretted about her dwindling adoration of me, and became more of a ‘me-some’ than a ‘we-some’.
Much to my surprise, the Epsteins indicated that virtually all loving couples go through these stages. But the third takes more effort: decision. That’s when you realize love is not just a feeling. Love is a choice, a decision to act loving, no matter what. Love is a decision to give to your partner, putting his/her needs first.
The secret they taught me is to be loving even when I don’t feel loving. Emotions follow behavior.”
So, overall, it helps if you and your partner have similar values but if you don’t, the marriage can still be successful…you both will just have to work harder at it. Also be giving to your partner…do things for them and you will be surprised how suddenly they are inspired to do something nice for you. On your drive to work everyday, think of one kind thing to do for them and see how it changes your relationship. And don’t forget to be a good friend to your partner and the sex might just naturally fall into place.
Two Sunday’s from now, I will put all of the keys together and draw a clear picture on how to have a successful marriage and or relationship. Next Sunday, I will be discussing how to bring the naughtiness back into Halloween! Can’t wait? Neither can I!