Just about every happily married couple can share a few secrets of their successful union. When we meet couples who are renewing their vows with us after many years of marriage, we are always intrigued by their fascinating nuggets of marital wisdom. Since every relationship is different, though, not all their advice works or is pertinent for everyone. After all, forgetting to put the toilet seat down or to put the cap on the toothpaste isn’t necessarily a hot button in every marriage.
Recently, we came across an enlightening list of characteristics shared by long-term, happily married couples. We think that pondering these qualities could be an amazingly insightful activity for all engaged couples. In fact, this list has us thinking about our own marriages in a new light. Read on…
Characteristic # 1: Putting each other first. Not your best friend, not your parents, not a close sibling. Your marriage can be seriously compromised if there is someone else you go to to discuss problems within your relationship. The person you need to have that talk with is your partner. Your relationship with each other is the foundation of your marriage and your future household. Having an outside confidante when it comes to marital problems invites divided loyalties. Be very careful if you begin to see this happening.
Characteristic # 2: Feeling happy– almost all the time. A by-product of a successful marriage, after all, is happiness! It only makes sense that you feel a warm glow in the presence of your spouse. If you don’t, that likely means that your relationship needs work.
Characteristic # 3: Being faithful. You need to work out what is and what is not okay. Stick to those terms without compromise. It’s important that there are ground rules about fidelity, and that you know you can trust your spouse to abide by them.
Characteristic # 5: Being there for each other. Once in awhile, you may have to support the other person’s wacky bucket list dream, or you may have to agree to compromise on a major decision. But realize that to some extent, we all need to be who we are, and to have our partner acknowledge that. Always pay attention to the consequences of what you do on your partner, too. You can only act independently of each other to a point. Be generous about compromising, and be sensitive to the other person’s feelings when they are the one doing the compromising.
Characteristic # 6: Being each other’s biggest fan. You should feel like the day you married was the best and luckiest day of your life. At least most of the time.
Characteristic # 7: Being aware that money matters. Not how much you have, but how you spend it. It’s important to work out the details of what’s okay. If you have different spending styles, this will take work, but it will be well worth the effort in the long term. More marriages break up because of money issues than for any other single reason.
Characteristic # 8: Knowing that love is not just a passive emotion. Love has to be actively expressed in all the little ways, and as often as possible. Show your love on a daily basis, through actions and words. That’s not only the easiest part, but the best part of marriage. The little stuff. It’s what you’ll remember most and longest. A tiny note in the lunchbox, a loving text message, a silly sentimental gift or a favorite candy bar on movie night…It only takes a moment of thoughtfulness to sustain a lifetime a love.