8 KEYS TO A HAPPIER MARRIAGE
Now that you have it all together husbands and wives, it is time to further the process of keeping intimacy alive and eluding sexual anorexia.
Newly-weds are often asked 'How is married life?' As with everything in life, the answer depends on you. For some, marriage is another word for frustration and even misery. For others, it is the bedrock of strength and support they build the rest of their lives around.
What are the differences that lead such a fundamental part of daily life down to totally opposing avenues? I don't pretend to have all the answers, but I can share with you the things that have helped me in my years of marriage, to what I feel is a very strong and happy relationship.
1. Work on your marriage
Unlike most of us, I learnt what I know about marriage from my experiences and reading. I once read that 'marriage requires attention', the moment you stop working on your marriage is the moment it begins to falter'. I remember thinking, this didn't sound very much like the movies. After all, a wedding is the culmination of a movie, that's when everything is all sorted out and you don't have to worry about anything anymore, right?' Alas, like in many other things, this has not been proven to be correct.
Maintaining a healthy marriage requires sacrifices, attention and care. It helps to think of your marriage as a living thing itself. Like all living things, it needs nourishment and protection, healing when it is sick, and space to grow and flourish.
These are all nice words, but what does that mean on a practical level? It means you need to always think about your marriage and not take it for granted.
It means you need to be vigilant against things that might threaten it, not just the obvious things like temptation, but the subtle things like imbalances in responsibility and duty, comparisons to others, jealousy and so on. It means you need to nourish your marriage with thoughtfulness for the other's needs, find time together, and sometimes even times apart.
It means when things are going wrong you need to stop and think about how you can improve them, and perhaps what sacrifices you need to make. It means that a marriage needs to change as you both change and to grow stronger.
2. Don't leave things unsaid
If you don't voice your problems they have nowhere to go. It gets even worse if you voice them to people not in your marriage - i.e. friends, co-workers, anyone else - then instead of you airing your dirty laundry you let it
No matter how long two people have known each other there will still be things that they don't pick up when unspoken. Sure you may think your partner knows what you're thinking but what if he/she doesn't?
See other keys next week.