12 secrets of successful marriages

Written by    Last updated: June 8, 2007

What do couples who make it to their ‘gold’ wedding anniversary and beyond do right? Find out some basic rules for living happily ever after…

happy couple

Delicate balance

Any partnership is a fine balance between the self and the other, but if each one tries to be caring and sharing then both stand to gain.  Achieving this perfect balance between looking after one’s own needs and that of your partner is not always easy, but it is one of the secrets of a successful marriage.

First twelve months

After the excitement of the wedding and honeymoon, settling into day‐to‐day married life can seem a bit of an anti‐climax and it’s possible to get the ‘post‐wedding blues’. Remember that it’s perfectly normal to feel this way and it is the same after any major happy event, such as having a baby. This is a time when you have to adjust your expectations with some amount of flexibility and compromise. Remember that any marriage that survives the crucial first twelve months has a good chance of making it in the long term.

Fun and surprises

The way to hold onto the element of excitement is to inject an ongoing element of fun and surprise into your relationship.  It helps to keep your relationship alive and vibrant.  Plan unexpected treats from time to time.  This can be with outings, special meals or just in the way you dress.

Communication

Most counselling techniques recommended for couples involve improving communication between partners. An exercise that you could try is sitting down with one another and writing three things each wishes to discuss. Then take turns to listen to the other uninterrupted for ten minutes. It’s useful to remember that generally men are wary of conversations that are about emotions. However, as they like finding solutions, you are more likely to get a response if you present your problem and ask for their help in finding an answer. Also, remember it is as important to listen as it is to talk.

For better or worse

Some personal habits of your partner can be irritating. Accept the ones that won’t change and that you can live with.  For the ones that you can’t, keep up with the gentle reminders and remember to show appreciation when your partner does make an effort to change.

A hug a day

Studies have shown that being touched and caressed helps to reduce blood pressure and releases oxytocin, a chemical that is essential for human bonding.  Even when you don’t have time to talk, a hug and a smile will convey as much as a thousand words.

More carrots

If you want to bring about change, remember that reward is always a better tactic than punishment. Giving your partner a hard time could actually just may make them more resistant. Learn to ignore when they get it wrong, but show appreciation when they get it right.

Common courtesy

It may sound old‐fashioned but showing respect to your partner is essential for a good relationship. Just because you are married, doesn’t mean that that the rule of common courtesy changes. Ask yourself – would I behave in the same way with my best friend?

Giving space

The reason you got married was because you wanted to be with your partner.  However, this doesn’t mean that you need to be together at every available moment.  Allow yourself and your partner to explore new things and do things that interest them.  If you can’t share the same activity, why not use the time when your partner is busy with a hobby or interest to do something that only you like.

Personal development

Maintain your interest in hobbies and interests that you had before marriage.  Just because your partner is not interested in the activity doesn’t mean you have to give up on it.  Don’t hesitate to try out new challenges, it will build your confidence as an individual and is likely to make your marriage more interesting as well.

Sex and intimacy

Early on in your relationship, teach your partner exactly what buttons to push to get you turned on, including the one fail‐safe way to satisfy you.  Sharing this vital piece of information will save years of discontentment and frustration.  Of course, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t continue to explore new and exciting ways for greater intimacy.

Simple rule

Whether one follows the concept of karma or not, it is hard to argue with the simple rule that it is our actions that produce good or adverse outcomes. Taking responsibility in the relationship is key to its success.  As Deepak Chopra, self‐help guru, says, ‘If you want joy, give joy to others; if you want love, learn to give love; if you want attention and appreciation, learn to give attention and appreciation.’

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