There is nothing more endearing than seeing a smiling couple that has been happily married for 50+ years. After all, the idea is to stay together until “death do you part.” Ask any one of them how they managed to stay married all these years, and they will likely tell you through working at it. Not just when times are bad, but every single day. They have a true understanding of what it really means to be in love. Love is not just the butterflies fluttering around in your gut. It is a home, built on a sturdy foundation of important elements. What is love anyway?
Kindness – Be kind to one another. Life is not perfect and there will be times when stress will become hard to handle. There may be moments where your spouse will, unintentionally, take that stress out on you by saying hurtful things. Rather than snapping back, be still for a minute and let your spouse take in what they have said. Be understanding and treat them with kindness. By asking questions like, “Honey, are you stressed out about something?”, “Did something happen at work?”, or “Why are you so upset?” your spouse will quickly calm down. This will allow them to take a moment and reflect on why they are upset.
Compromise – Because a marriage involves two people, there has to be compromise. From complicated things like financial issues or to how to raise children, to miniscule dilemmas like which movie to see or what to eat for dinner, you have to learn to meet each other in the middle. Remember, you are a team. Your wants and needs are equally important. If only one person in the relationship gets their way the majority of the time, it is going to lead to resentment.
Embracing Imperfections – Not one person on this planet is perfect. Not one person leads a perfect life. If you moved on to another partner, they would come with an entirely new set of imperfections. Instead of fighting to change each other, embrace each other’s flaws. Love each and every blemish. Always remember that you also have faults.
Honesty – There’s a reason why honesty tops most people’s lists of important qualities in a relationship. Without it, you really can’t be sure of what you have, can you? Lay everything out on the table at all times. If you have spent more money than you should have, tell your spouse. If they find out later through a bill, or a friend, it will only lead to resentment and broken trust.
Communication – Communication is another element in the foundation of a strong relationship. Failure to communicate is one of the biggest reasons marriages fail. Why? Because if you are withholding information, even unintentionally, you are opening the door for distrust and resentment. Share how much money will be spent with each other and talk about things that are bothering you.
Maintaining a solid marriage is not rocket science, but it is hard work. Love each other, be kind, compromise, embrace each other’s flaws, be honest and always communicate. When things get rocky, stick together. Don’t jump ship at the first sign of a storm. It’s the hard times that truly strengthen a relationship.