With the divorce rates still hovering over fifty percent, couples are understandably wondering how to stay the course and beat the odds. Since length of courtship and even living together do not improve your odds of long-lasting marriage, what does it takes to stay together?
It is a well-known fact that the No. 1 reason couples fight is money, with kids and extended family a close second. There are plenty of reasons couples disagree and consequently split up, but the big question is “What can couples do to get along better and ensure a happy forever after?” Here are some words of wisdom to live by:
1. It is just as easy to be negative as it is to be positive. Make it a point to start the day off by saying something nice. It seems so easy to do, yet seldom done. Chances are that you will see a great improvement in the mood of the house when a smile and kind word greets your spouse and visa versa.
2. It is okay to argue. Staying away from disagreements actually pulls you further apart, not together. It is not what you say, but how you say it. Remember: Love and hate are equal emotions. Indifference is where it all ends.
3. Spend time together. Just being in the house together is not quality togetherness. Date night is a must. Whether it is the movies and popcorn, a romantic walk or a quaint BYOB, all couples need time to themselves to talk about life, the kids, work, etc. This does not happen effectively in the chaos of the day-to-day routine.
4. Find common activities that you can share together. Whether it is sports, cultural outings or charitable endeavors, spending time jointly enjoying an activity gives you more to talk about and connect over.
5. Both parties need to make an effort to take care of themselves. Too many times, people get married and let their appearances go. We all want to feel good about ourselves as well as the person we are with. Be proactive about staying healthy and in shape together by getting a joint gym membership and planning weekend outdoor activities.
6. Don’t go to bed angry. All things must come to an end, including an argument. Ignoring each other for days on end is infantile and futile. Don’t harbor ill feelings because it is only going to affect you adversely, both emotionally and physically.
7. Give your spouse a peck on the cheek either when you leave in the morning or when you return in the evening. This simple, yet endearing gesture demonstrates warmth, affection and a desire for closeness.
8. Keep sex as an important part of your marriage. People who stop sleeping together lose a critical bond in their relationship that cannot be replaced elsewhere within the union. Heads up, this need will inevitably get replaced somewhere else and there goes the union.
9. Say “I Love You” every day. These are the three most important words that a person can hear.
Marriage is about luck in picking the right person, maturity, selflessness and most importantly, stick-to-itiveness. Your spouse should not only be your best friend, soul mate and lover, but should be your number one priority. Children move out of the house, friends come and go and the older generation will inevitably pass on. The one constant the two of you have is each other, so treasure ever day, year and moment. It takes a lot of time, effort and work to keep a marriage together year after year, but it is a labor of love and well worth it.