A Happy Marriage is a Choice

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A Happy Marriage is a Choice

Marriage has its ups and downs. Sometimes you’re jiving and sometimes you’re bickering. There are times when you can’t get enough of each other. And other times when you can’t wait until they leave the house. There are people in sexless marriages, people just sticking it out for the kids, and people absolutely miserable but feel as if they are cornered. The truth is that a happy marriage is a choice. Though things could have turned out bad, they didn’t start out that way or you wouldn’t have gotten married to begin with.

First, you have to realize that happiness comes from within. Sure, we all have needs and some of them we can fulfil ourselves, others we need from our partner. But no matter what happens in life, you choose your perspective. You choose how to react to it. So happiness is all a matter of outlook. You decide one minute to the next whether to focus on your spouse’s good points or their less than stellar qualities. You decide whether to own your happiness, or unhappiness, or to export these to your spouse. So decide to be happy. Don’t focus on the flaws. If they are insignificant or something you can come to terms with do so. If not, then rethink your marriage.

Find ways to negotiate. Agree to disagree on little things. Trust your partner to handle things and don’t give them the third degree to see if they did so to your specifications. Make time for each other, even if it’s just a little each day. Choose to consistently put forth the effort and invest time and care in your relationship. Choose to make you your best self and to encourage your spouse to be their best self. Be friends and lovers at the same time. Friends enjoy each other’s company, laugh together and do things together. You should too. Laughter is one of the most essential things. If you can laugh together, really laugh and have fun, you are golden. If you are merely trading sarcastic barbs across the coffee table, you’re doomed.

Remember that your spouse is not your adversary. They are your teammate. They are on your side. And if it gets to the point where it starts to feel adversarial, remind them. And remind yourself if you stray too far off too. Remember that real happiness is centered inside you. It is a long term process, not a short term elation. It takes time, practice and effort. No one can make you happy. You can only do it yourself. Choose to be happy. Choose to make your mate happy. And choose to let them make you happy too. For more advice read, 47 Little Love Boosters for a Happy Marriage: Connect and Instantly Deepen Your Bond No Matter How Busy You Are by Marko Petkovic, M.Sc.

Things Divorce Teaches You about Marriage

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Things Divorce Teaches You about Marriage

A divorce can be devastating. It’s one of those pains that you don’t really understand unless you’ve been through it. Not only does it cause tremendous upheaval in your life, it alters how you view yourself and romantic relationships. Some people swear off marriage wholeheartedly, while others jump into the next one as if their last had nothing to teach them. But most of us reflect on the state of marriage and relationships at this time. If a split is anything it’s a great teacher. Here are some things divorce teaches you about marriage. First, marriages are always different for those living them than how they are viewed from the outside. Sometimes when someone gets divorced, others are shocked, thinking they had the perfect marriage. Issues that seem reconcilable to some are end games to others. But some people somehow find a way to make it work. Everyone’s marriage is a bit messy, much like human life, though they may seem picture perfect from where you stand. If we could just break down the walls and talk about what marriage is really like, instead of putting on airs, perhaps we could make everyone’s better.

Another problem leading to divorce is a sexless marriage. Make time to be physical together. Statistics show that 20% of marriages today are sexless. But becoming physically intimate is a way for both people to bond. Being in a sexless marriage itself may be a big warning sign that things aren’t going well for one or both parties. Of course men tend to compartmentalize. With women, if things aren’t going well in the relationship, goings-on in the bedroom suffer. That’s because to a woman the emotional intimacy in the relationship is what’s most important. Though this may be important for a man, most men are more driven by libido. A failed marriage makes us look at other marriages in a new way. What are others really struggling with and how do they make it work? Communication is always crucial. But so is negotiation, not holding grudges, clearing the air and coming to a deep understanding of one another. We also need to accept the flaws in ourselves and our spouse for what they are. Recognition is one thing, acceptance another. One of the common causes of divorce is infidelity. Some people are shocked when they find that their husband or wife was cheating. A person may be an incredible breadwinner, an expert parent, a phenomenal homemaker and still have a spouse who cheats. The reason people go astray is they are trying to heal something wrong inside the relationship through outside means.

One of the problems with modern marriage that experts often point out is that we expect our spouse to take up all of the roles that traditionally an entire village provided. We want them to be our mentor, coach, partner, lover, confidante, best friend, co-parent and more. Find some of these needs outside your relationship if you can, and take some pressure off of your spouse. Spending some time with friends or close family members and becoming more well-rounded people by spending time at one’s favorite pursuits can help replenish each person and the marriage as well. But tenaciously clinging to one’s partner can bring the whole thing down. It’s best when both people are totally fulfilled, realized people who choose to go through life together. Marriage isn’t easy. But for most Americans, they see little alternative. We’ve been called serial monogamists and perhaps it still fits, at least if you are of a certain generation. Statistically, second marriages are less likely to last. Some say the third one is a charm. Be that as it may, don’t wallow in a failed marriage, learn from it and make your next relationship the romance of a lifetime. For more pick up a copy of, Learning From Divorce: How to Take Responsibility, Stop the Blame, and Move On by Robert LaCrosse and Christine A. Coates.

How to Make Love Last

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How to Make Love Last

Despite the elevated divorce rate, long term love is not doomed. In fact many couples experience a beautiful, deep, thrilling connection throughout their lives together. A recent study conducted by Stony Brook University found that out of a sample of 274 married couples, together 10 years or longer, 49% of men and 46% of women said that they were “very intensely in love.” This study was published in The Journal of Social Psychological and Personality Science. Head researcher Daniel O’Leary and his team uncovered the secrets to sustaining romance. So how do you make love last? First, physical intimacy is important, such as hugging and kissing. It releases oxytocin the “cuddle hormone” helping the couple relax and connect. Couples who didn’t report any physical displays of love were also those in a loveless marriage. Sexual frequency also contributed to feelings of intense love. But it wasn’t necessary. 25% stated feeling this way without be physically intimate with their partner within the last month. Physical affection even makes up for other negative aspects of a relationship. Some couples who reported stress over financial decisions, different parenting styles and so on who took part in physical affection still said they were in intense love with their partner.

Couples that remained positive were also far more likely to feel intense love for each other. Some couples take each other for granted or the elements in their partner that they love, appreciate or admire fade from constantly seeing them. But those who showed more appreciation were far more likely to be intensely in love. Another aspect was sharing in interesting, unique and exhilarating experiences together. Exercising, cooking, reading and discussing the same book or article, learning something new that was exciting like surfing, traveling, exploring spirituality or going on adventures all helped couples maintain intense, long lasting love. Personal happiness was the last quality that couples that love intensely share. Personal happiness was especially important for women in these relationships. But does being intensely in love also infuse a person with happiness, or does personal happiness bring an extra spark to the relationship? This is a chicken and egg scenario, a Mobius strip without end. See if you can infuse some of these characteristics in your relationship. Practice appreciating your partner. Go on adventures and explore together. Invest in some quality time. Make sure to show physical affection toward one another. Your love will grow and blossom if you cultivate it in the right way. For more advice read, Lasting Love: How to Avoid Marital Failure by Alistair Begg.

Should you take your Ex Back?

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Should you take your Ex Back?

No matter the situation, ending a relationship is one of the hardest things you can do. Somebody is getting hurt in one way or another, and probably both of you to some degree. But a harder decision still is whether or not you should get back together with someone you broke up with or even got divorced from. Sure, the situation plays a lot into it. Some couples break up in the heat of the moment only to get back together again, and joke about it later. Another throws dishes at each other one day, only to forgive the next via rapacious bedroom escapades. And we’ve all rolled our eyes at those who get back together after a once-upon-a-time protracted and painful divorce or breakup. You mean they’re back together again?! We screech. But the saner of us from time to time find relationships that are a lot more complex. It’s hard to sort through. So how do you decide whether or not to take your ex back, including your ex-spouse? Here are some important things to take into consideration.

First, it’s high time to evaluate the initial breakup. Remember there is no right or wrong when it comes to reasons for breaking up. But what elements of the relationship led to it? If there was physical or psychological abuse, you shouldn’t go back there. If their snoring was too loud and you’ve found comfortable earplugs, maybe give it a shot. Next, think about what circumstances have brought you back together. Does it have to do with the pressure of responsibility, to piece the family back together? Is it a sense of guilt? Is the other person pressuring you? Or does it just feel comfortable and right? If you two have fallen deeply in love all over again and the problems of the past are resolved, go for it. If you truly love this person and see a bright future together, realize that life doesn’t always give you second chances at happiness. Would everything be great if you got together again, or would the same problems keep creeping up? If you just want to be in a relationship, don’t do it. Learn how to be with yourself first. You can’t be with someone else, if you can’t deal with being with yourself.

Think about what your previous relationship was like overall. Consider different aspects. Was it really a fight over something frivolous, or were there deeper issues at work? If they were controlling, had an anger management problem, a substance abuse problem or something else that’s serious, it’s important to consider who they are now. You may be walking right back into the same booby-trap with open arms. If the person tells you they want to change, be skeptical. If they tell you they have changed, look for proof. If they can prove to you they have changed, move ahead slowly. There’s no problem in being friends first, going slow and watching how things progress. It’s easier to extricate yourself that way. People can tell you all kinds of beautiful words. Remember their actions don’t lie. It is in these you can solemnly trust. Don’t let your guard down at first. Watch carefully. But be open to the possibility. Don’t deny yourself a second chance at love. Your heart is a sacred jewel. Protect it as such, and only give it to those who will treasure it. For a better chance the second time around read, The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary D. Chapman.

How to be Single and Love it

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How to be Single and Love it

Some people love being single, others can’t stand it, but most of us are in-between. The truth is that being single makes you more independent, content and forces you to develop yourself, solve your own problems and seek happiness from within, qualities that make you an excellent catch. If you aren’t comfortable in your own skin, how are you ready to be with someone else? The first thing you have to do is get rid of all the negative voices that inhibit your love of being single. Society, family and others often send out the message that you have to be coupled up to be happy. But that’s changing; 40% of American households are headed by singles nowadays. You are in good company. Put your family at arm’s length. Read articles like this one about being single and loving it, and avoid all those that only talk about relationships. Spend time reconnecting with single friends, or making new single friends to go out with. If all your friends are coupled up it can weigh you down. Although on a girl’s or guy’s night out, who doesn’t want a taken wingman? But coupled friends don’t want to spend all night at the single’s bar. So it pays to have single friends you can dish with, complain to and go out with.

Next, make sure people know that you love flying solo. Look back on your relationships and realize that you’re much happier being single and well-adjusted than in a relationship and miserable. Reconnect with yourself. Take up a hobby you always wanted to try. Travel. Start a business. Go back to school. Reinvest in yourself. Do something that scares the crap out of you and conquer your fears. Renew relationships with old friends, and even old flames. See this as a time to suck the marrow from life’s bones. Start journaling. Make a dream board. Write a bucket list of the things you want to do with your time on earth and outline plans, benchmarks and ways to reach those goals. If you feel down about being single one day, get a pen and some paper and jot down five things you love about being single. Lastly, don’t wallow in singlehood, celebrate it. Every situation has a good and bad side. Find the good one’s of your single life and accentuate them. Find things that you couldn’t do if you were attached that really speak to you and start fulfilling that list. Develop yourself. Work on the relationship with numero uno. And when you are ready, the right one will appear to you and you will know what to do effortlessly. For more advice, read Single Is Not A Curse by Tony Gaskins Jr.