How to Stay Together Happily Ever After

Ask any happily married couple. Success in a marriage isn’t about not experiencing difficulties. Success is determined by how difficulties are handled when they arise. Because, every couple experiences difficulties from time to time; it’s unavoidable.

Couples who have survived hardships and remained together during the ups and downs of life attribute their success to the four big “Cs”: commitment, communication, compromise, and consideration.

Fidelity, equality, attentiveness, and mutual respect are also important keys to success. Honesty and trust are critical. And to deserve trust, one must be trustworthy.

When it comes to keeping the flame of romance alive, marriage counselors warn against the number one enemy of intimacy: complacency. What began as fireworks can wane under the stresses and pressures of everyday life when partners become complacent. The blaze of passion is reduced to a flickering flame that slowly dies. The end result is that desire for the other becomes covered up.

Below are 7 “little things” that go a long way in keeping the marital clock happily ticking, and help dull or troubled relationships get back on an even keel, and stay there:

1.) Don’t forget the “little things.” The perks of early courtship included love notes, pecks on the cheek, spontaneous gifts, cards, and other tokens of affection bestowed “simply because.” If you want to keep romantic love alive, continue to court the affections of your mate throughout the marriage. Remember, little things really do mean a lot; they speak “I love you” without saying a word.

2.) Communicate. Lack of communication is a sure-fire way to dissolve intimacy. During courtship couples eagerly shared what they did throughout the day. Who they saw, what they learned, what their thoughts were; they shared life’s dreams, ambitions, points of view, etc. Remember, verbal intimacy encourages emotional and physical responses of the same.

3.) Promptly resolve conflicts, and hold no grudges. Unresolved conflict is love’s #1 enemy. Holding a grudge, “stuffing” feelings, refusing to talk about feelings, or going the other extreme and yelling insults, all act as “scalpels” that cut off feelings of closeness.

4.) Spend quality time together. While praying together may be the glue that binds families, “playing” together is the intimacy booster that helps to keep romance alive. Make plans for regular time together; whether it is sharing a hobby, sipping wine while reminiscing over a photo album, taking a walk hand-in-hand, or hiring a sitter and going out for a night on the town.

5.) Never, but never, cop the attitude, “If it doesn’t work, I can always split!” The inward effect of such a weak commitment is detrimental to any marriage and will sabotage true intimacy and romance. Commitment is an essential foundation for any healthy, happy, lasting marriage. It needs to be expressed verbally, as well as manifested in attitudes and actions.

6.) Equal standards are a must! While he may get laughs for his horrible behavior toward Edith on television, no one wants to live with an Archie Bunker. Demanding standards for you that differ from those of your marriage partner indicate immaturity, selfishness and lack of respect. Such unfair treatment will act as a “trust-buster,” and will cause resentment! Romantic love and intimacy will surely suffer.

7.) Make plans and decisions as a couple. While becoming “one” through the bonds of holy matrimony does not mean that we lose our individuality, it is a celebration of partnership with shared responsibilities and common goals. If lasting intimacy and romance are at the top of your list, it’s time to let go of the “me-my syndrome” and start thinking in terms of “we” and “our:” our finances, our time together, our problems.

One final word of wisdom for lasting romance and a strong, healthy relationship is to learn from past mistakes.

Marital bliss is not nearly as elusive as Hollywood would have us believe. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of breaking old habits to cultivate new ones. Swallowing pride long enough to say “I’m sorry,” encouraging and edifying the other, and taking the other’s feelings and needs into consideration.

By following these helpful hints for healthier, happier relationship, the rewards may not be immediate. It may take a little time, especially if you have been experiencing relationship difficulties. But be patient, and keep at it. Your relationship is worth it!



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