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What are the keys to a successful marriage?
Uh oh, not another seven point article on how to have a successful marriage? Well, that was the idea preparing for this post but they seem to be a dime a dozen.
I’ve come to the realization that not all relationships are created equal. In other words, one size does not fit all and that includes all the tips and strategies. The real secret to having a happy relationship lies with the couples themselves.
“Well that’s really earth shattering advice!”
Sure, all the advice from the experts can help but they are only meant to serve as a guide.
The truth is, when someone is giving you the seven keys to maintaining a successful marriage or relationship there will be one, maybe two nuggets in there that you will identify with, but not all.
The Successful Marriage 80/20 Rule
I’ve always thought that the Pareto 80/20 rule can also be applied to success in marriage and relationships. Of all the tips given on how to make them work, 80% won’t really apply to you but 20% will.
Take one or maybe two of them that apply to you and you will see amazing results in overcoming any issues you’re currently having.
Why is this?
Because in anything, whether it be life, sport or relationships, it doesn’t take much to turn things around. Just address the weakest link and improve it or replace it and things can suddenly improve.
They’ve got to!
Every person is different. Personalities differ, people’s likes differ; there’s extroverts paired up with introverts, introverts paired up with introverts, extroverts paired with extroverts – and the list goes on and on and on.
Key Danger To A Successful Marriage
Conflict happens when one person’s personality starts to dominate. It’s usually the stronger of the two.
Worse still, selfishness and failing to acknowledge that your partner has different tastes, is less conflictive or less outgoing.
For example, John is an introvert and has anxiety around large or semi large crowds. Although he likes people, he hates small talk and feels more comfortable in his own surroundings.
Kellie is an extrovert. She needs to get out and be around people. If she is inside the house for any length of time she’ll need a people fix. So she jumps in the car and heads to the mall just to be around others, even if she doesn’t know them.
John and Kellie have reached an impasse in their marriage. She likes to go out but many times, gives in to John’s preference to just hang out at home or just go for a walk together.
Essentially, she is the one who has made the sacrifice in pleasing John. She loves him like crazy and will do just about anything he wants – even go down the hermit route.
Resentment Can Ruin Any Marriage
Lately though, Kellie has become very restless. She’s feeling suffocated and just wished she could go out more.
John always tells her that he doesn’t mind if she does go out by herself and he completely trusts her. But this isn’t what Kellie signed up for.
Plus, she suspects John likes being alone so much that he’ll even jump at the chance to send her out by herself just so he can spend a few hours by himself with his own thoughts.
She wants to be seen with her husband arm in arm and would rather sacrifice her own desire just to stay at home with him.
Can you see the issue here?
One of the keys to a successful marriage is recognizing the danger before it arrives.
The Keys To A Successful Marriage – An Easy Fix
First danger is that the longer this scenario is allowed to continue, the more chance that resentment will start to pervade their relationship.
Secondly, there really is an easy fix here and it’s a little compromise. Kellie needs to sit down together with John and express her feelings about their current situation.
Kellie obviously needs to be careful in how she expresses herself. She needs to convey the message that at least once a week they go out together. It could be a movie, dinner, dancing or a day trip somewhere.
If John truly loves her, and sees the “pain” she’s feeling at the moment he’ll agree. After all, one day out of seven is not too much to ask for his time is it? Not in a marriage?
What if he disagrees?
Then that’s an article for another time but I’m sure some of you have already decided what your responses would be if you were Kellie.
First Key To Marriage Success – Recognize The Pre Marital Illusion
The pre-marital buildup can sometimes be a trap. Any cracks or differences are generally camouflaged among the happiness and excitement of the occasion.
There’s a ton of support from family and friends. It’s a time when that “roses and peaches world” really does exist for a short period of time and you feel indestructible as a couple.
Even several months to a year after a couple walks down the aisle there seems to be a happy demeanor about a relationship.
But eventually, two people will have to realize that “yes, it’s now just the two of us”. This is crunch time and some are left with a feeling of “wow, what do we do now”.
The answer to that question is you simply double down on the vows you made. You grow up and work on making it through the next twelve months.
It’s just the two of you and no matter how much support you have from your close friends and family, you are the ones who are going to have to make this work.
Happiness really isn’t that hard to maintain in your relationship. It’s just give and take and being prepared to make small adjustments along the way.
Having a happy marriage comes down to a little tweaking every now and again. It’s one of the core keys to a successful marriage.
Sometimes you won’t see the issue because you’ve become too consumed in your own needs. Just agree to have regular chats about whatever concerns you might have.
Or, it could take a third set of eyes to tell you where you need to make a tweak. And usually, it’s just a small adjustment.