The statistics on relationships are depressing: in California

alone, the average marriage lasts just 5 years. Nationwide,

43% of marriages end within 15 years. Second and third

marriages end in divorce 60-70% of the time. Clearly, how we

handle our relationships is not working. And yet, 94% of young

adults in one study said that having a good marriage is

extremely important to them. So, what can you do?

We researched much of current the literature on relationships

and have condensed the results into just a few key concepts.

These principles seem to be the common denominators in

happy, successful marriages. See how many you can identify

in your relationship.

1. It starts with you

To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, you are as happy as

you make up your mind to be. Research has shown that

happiness is a state of being, not of having or doing or

achieving. Nor is happiness a destination. People often

say, “I just want to be happy” or “I just want to have a

happy marriage” as if that is a future goal or place in

time. The problem is, they never get there. That’s

because the future is… in the future. And the only true

destination is your final day on earth. And then it’s too

late. So make the decision to be happier starting today.

There’s a relationship benefit as well. The happier you

are with yourself and your life, the more attractive you

are to your partner. Another way to look at this is: if you

were someone else, would you marry you? Start today to

work on being the kind of person you would want to

know, to date, and to marry. If you’re not that kind of

person now, how can you expect your spouse to stay

attracted or stay passionate?

2. There’s you, there’s him/her, and then there’s “we”.

You don’t have to give up your identity or be known

solely as your spouse’s partner.

It also doesn’t work when two people each do their own

thing without regard to their partner’s wishes and

feelings. Marriage is, and should be, more than

cohabitation. As the marriage vows state, “two shall be

as one”. That “one” is neither you nor him. The “one” is

a third entity: the relationship, the marriage, the “we”.

The “we” is what you share, what you have in common,

the support and nurturing that you cannot give yourself.

Think companionship, intimacy, and sharing.

3. You leave behind your emotional baggage

Are you really over your previous relationship? If not, you

can’t fully commit to your spouse. Likewise, if you are

still Daddy’s little girl or Mommy’s boy, you are not in

control of your own life. Therefore, you cannot fully enter

into an adult relationship of mutual sharing and support.

You can’t be accountable to your spouse if you still have

to please Mommy or Daddy.

You can’t reach new heights as a person as long as

you’re dragging around your emotional suitcases. And,

it’s not fair to your partner. If you’re dating but not in a

committed relationship right now, consider a time out

while you unpack those bags and resolve those issues

that keep you from being your own man or woman. If

you are committed, a relationship coach can help you

stow your baggage so you can be there completely for

your partner.

4. The marriage comes first

Marriage is supposed to be the strongest bond between

two people. Parents come and go; children grow and

leave. Your spouse is only person to stay with you the

rest of your time on this planet.

Women who say their children come first, usually can

never let the children grow up and become independent

adults because then the primary relationship in these

women’s lives would end. So the children never

emotionally leave home and are forever dependent on

the parent. This delights the women because they are

not willing to have their children grow up emotionally and

become independent adults.

Women who say their children come first also seem so

surprised when their mates eventually decide to leave for

someone else who WILL put them first. And finally, when

children are the center of a women’s life, and the

children eventually leave, the woman typically feels lost.

Her reason for existing the last 18-22 years has just

moved out. And if she should turn to her partner after a

20 year emotional abscense, it’s like going to your high

school reunion. You used to know them but its not the

same now because they’ve changed.

When partners put the marriage first, friends, relatives,

and acquaintances are still important but they’re not

primary. The man and woman, as the principals in the

relationship, are the combined heads of their household.

As such they look to eath other-and no one else-for their

primary comfort and support.

 

5. Your marriage is your top priority.

You didn’t get married to commute two hours a day,

work at the office 60 hours a week, and pay on a

mortgage for 30 years, did you? You probably got

married to share your life-not your bills-with that special

someone. During life’s ups and especially during life’s

downs, keep in mind why you married in the first place.

It wasn’t so you could get a better job, buy a better car,

or obsess over your favorite sports team. Once upon a

time, your partner was the most important thing in this

world to you. If you value your relationship, he or she

still is. Start acting like it again today and every day.

6. Don’t compare

This holds true in your life as well as in your marriage.

There will always be a couple that seems happier,

wealthier, sexier, and more perfect than you two are. So

what? Their happiness doesn’t increase or diminish your

happiness. Neither does their money, their jobs, their

house, or their prettiness. All that matters is whether you

for you.

7. Don’t wonder “what if?”

Wondering what it would be like to be with another

person-for a night or for a lifetime-is self-delusion and is

really unfair to your spouse. You see other people

socially when they are at their best. You see your spouse

when he/she is at his best, her average, and sometimes

at her worst. If you could swap mates, guess what?

You’d see that person at his/her worst, and you probably

wouldn’t like what you see. You already have a lot

invested in your partner. Take care of that investment.

The payoff is usually greater than starting all over again.

8. Realize that love can grow.

As much as you were in love when you got married, your

love and commitment to each other can grow over the

years. Despite all the old married jokes and cliches,

marriage can get better, not worse, with time. The

longer you’ve been married, the more history you have

together.The triumphs and disappointments, the

successes and the failures, all are part of sharing a life

together. And that history is unique to you. No one else

has that or can duplicate it. This is why a man who

leaves his middle aged wife for a younger woman

eventually wants to come back. With his wife he has a

history-a shared past. With the new woman there is only

the present. Leaving his wife permanently is like leaving

himself behind as well. Since she is a part of his past,

she is the best person to be a part of his future.

9. Commitment means “no matter what”.

It’s as simple as making the decision to be totally

committed to your spouse and to the relationship. No

matter what happens: financially, health wise, or

otherwise. No matter what. Once the two of you have

decided to stay “no matter what”, there is no question of

stay or go, yes or no.

Write this down: “ALL RELATIONSHIPS HAVE ISSUES”.

Happy relationships always have issues. Unhappy

relationships certainly have issues. It’s just that in happy

relationships, the couples identify the issues, negotiate

the issues, and come to terms with the issues. Couples

in unhappy relationships deny, ignore, put up, or run

away.

Once the two of you have made the decision “no matter

what” the emphasis is on the we. And, since we is not

you and not him, the only positions “we” have are the

ones you’ve decided together. In short, all problems are

negotiable because there are no his problems or her

problems. When one partner has a problem, just having

the problem should be a problem for the other partner.

Therefore, all problems are shared problems. Their

problems require their solutions.

10. Believe that a happy marriage is not only possible, it’s

yours for the making.

It won’t happen by itself. It takes intention, commitment,

and practice. But the many couples who have happy,

blissful, and satisfying marriages are proof that it is

possible. Just choose to be happy, and choose to be

happily married.

Yes, you’ll still have to work at it. But the rewards are so

much greater than the effort. Besdies, being single and

looking takes effort; being divorced and looking again

takes effort. Spend the effort inside your marriage and

stay married. Happily married.

Source by Alan Stafford

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The statistics on relationships are depressing: in California alone, the average marriage lasts just 5 years. Nationwide, 43% of marriages end within 15 years. Second and third marriages end in divorce 60-70% of the time. Clearly, how we handle our relationships is not working. And yet, 94% of young adults in one study said...
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