Inspired today by a young friend of mine whilst walking our dogs she mentioned to me how sad she was feeling over a couple of neighbours of hers who were separating. Why is it so difficult to keep marriages healthy and happy these days? Simply, it isn’t difficult but it does require work so let’s look at the relationship BEFORE it starts down the slippery slope.
Having been very happily married for over 28 years and helped many couples bring happiness back into their lives, I am putting pen to paper today to inspire you to keep your relationship fresh and alive. Marriage takes work on both parts, it’s like a rollercoaster much of the time but can also be one of the most fulfilling, exhilarating experiences you will ever have.
Are you feeling frustrated, fed up, hurt, resentful and unhappy perhaps right now with your partner or husband? Have you forgotten what it feels like to be loved and accepted? Have you had enough of trying to make it all workout? Well, you’re not alone, most people feel like this at some point in their relationship; it’s when those feelings continue and grow that they then need addressing.
For me, one of the reasons Ian and I have been so happy together is because our relationship is based on friendship; we both know what we want from the relationship, we understand our priorities, we don’t worry what others think of us, we know each other inside out and we are not out to impress.
But every now and then I feel frustrated and get upset as things don’t go to plan and I begin to get annoyed easily and start focusing on the negative in Ian. It’s at this point I take a step back and get an aerial view of my marriage and life.
So let’s inject the life back into that marriage. I believe the essence of a happy marriage is friendship along with the ‘feeling in love’ and the passion but without friendship we have no basis. So to be friends with your partner or husband show him/her that you respect them, treat them as an equal to yourself, be honest with them and take a risk knowing perhaps that there could be conflict, form dreams together and talk about the things that are working for you both and the things that aren’t.
Here are some ideas for you to start rejuvenating your relationship today:
- Stay friends – work out what makes you a best friend to someone and BE that person towards your partner and keep doing it, your relationship will blossom.
- Stop expecting and needing anything from your partner – you won’t then be disappointed when they don’t ‘do what you expect’ – you might even be pleasantly surprised, so do things because you CAN.
- Enjoy shared goals together – perhaps this is decorating the house, doing the garden, planning a holiday, trying a new activity out, pursuing a new hobby together. Brainstorm something you both enjoy.
- Do something fresh – keep growing and expanding your own life so you bring something new to the partnership – learn a new language, try a new exercise, volunteer at a local group but do something different. This keeps you alive and your partner will appreciate you more.
- Schedule sex into your life – yes it takes away the spontaneity but in our busy lives having a life with sex and passion is better than a sexless marriage.
- TALK – communication is the foundation of any relationship, so make the effort even if you can’t be bothered. Talk about the small things, as it will be then easier to talk about the big things. The more you talk together, the more you learn, and the deeper the relationship grows.
- Laugh more – this is one of the most critical in my opinion – make sure you both have those laughing times where your cheeks hurt. Laughing together glues marriages – you are enjoying each other’s company.
- Take a risk – start exposing parts of you that make you feel vulnerable; take a risk that your partner may not like what he hears but it will be worth it as this is how you get great depth in a relationship. You don’t have to divulge all of your best-kept secrets (that would be unhealthy as no-one has to know everything).
- Apologise when you make a mistake – let pride go out of the window, that’s not important and if you are wrong admit it – say sorry. This will make all the difference to your relationship and speaks volumes about you.
- You are an individual – add to the relationship not take from it, marriage isn’t a contest, there’s no-one keeping score – you accomplish more together!
Marriage above all is teamwork; it isn’t about the sex or the passion (although this is very much a part of it) but growing together as a partnership.
I hope you find some of these helpful – they are part of my life and becoming part of the lives of the people I help all over the world. I’d love to hear what keeps your relationship alive and kicking!