Remember the first time you met your future spouse…your heart started pounding, your hands got sweaty, and you didn’t wipe that silly grin off your face for days. In the weeks that followed, one thing led to another and before you knew it…wedding bells were on the horizon. The problem, according to author and famed salesman Zig Ziglar, is that “Many people spend more time in planning the wedding than they do in planning the marriage.” What are the secrets of a successful marriage?
Like everything else, if you take your relationship for granted, cracks will appear like weeds sprouting through a perfect lawn. Marriage is a wonderful institution. Nurture it and you’ll find that love doesn’t have an expiration date.
The most important element of a happy marriage is choosing the right person. Here are 20 other ingredients:
Ingredients of a Successful Marriage
- Make your marriage your top priority. There are many things vying for your attention. Know what matters most to you and put your heart into it. The grass is greenest where you water it.
- Agree on the BIG things. Shared beliefs and values form the heart of every successful relationship and can ultimately determine its success. The key is to understand your spouse’s viewpoints and gain agreement on how to move forward together.
- Nurture trust. Trust is the glue that binds successful relationships. Trust is built through a series of successful experiences. If each encounter is positive, the relationship will flourish.
- Keep your promises. When you break a promise, no matter how small, you violate the bond of trust. Remember, trust takes a long time to develop, but it can be lost in the blink of an eye.
- Have heart-to-heart talks. Say what’s on your mind and in your heart. Be open, honest, and empathetic. If something is bothering you, don’t let it fester. Speak your mind. And remember, don’t just talk…communicate.
- Put your spouse’s needs ahead of your own. Care about your spouse’s happiness as much, or more, than your own.
- Offer your unconditional love. Accept your spouse for who he or she is, not for who you want him or her to be.
- Give your spouse space. Cherish your time together, but give your spouse the freedom to have his or her space.
- Meet in the middle. Seek compromise rather than forcing your views on your spouse. Remember, the relationship is always more important than the disagreement.
- Be a good sport. Be your own person, but don’t forget that you’re part of a team. Complement each other’s skills and grow in the same direction.
- Handle disputes with grace. Debate issues without making them personal. Once words leave your mouth, they can’t be taken back.
- Never keep score. Marriage is not a competitive sport. It doesn’t matter who contributes more at any given time. It evens itself out over time. (And if it doesn’t, who cares?)
- Park your ego at the door. The two greatest time-savers are saying, “I don’t know” and “I was wrong.”
- Be grateful. Show your appreciation. Never take your spouse for granted.
- Live within your means. Finances are a key source of stress in a marriage. Be conscious of your spending habits. Focus on what you need rather than on what you want.
- Keep the flame burning. Keep courting your spouse. Love, laugh, and create lasting memories.
- Ride out tough times. In the course of life, you will face rough patches. A crisis doesn’t have to breed hostility –– it often brings couples closer together. Remember, life has its ups and downs so make the most of the in-betweens.
- Live without regret. Think long and hard before you do anything that places your relationship in jeopardy.
- Share and share alike. Life is more rewarding when you share your life with someone you love. That means changing your mindset from “me” to “we” and to “what’s mine is now ours.”
- Show some respect. While trust, respect, and devotion may be invisible, you’ll know that they’re present. They form the foundation of every successful marriage.
Marriage: Put Your Heart Into It
Marriage requires commitment, but some people don’t take that responsibility to heart. They fool themselves into thinking it’s like getting a new roommate, pooling their finances together, or an excuse to have an extravagant party. The truth is, marriage joins two people. “…for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part.” While those words sound wonderful, your actions determine the fate of your marriage.
People who put their heart into their marriage reap one of the greatest treasures in life. You’ll have a soul mate to share your hopes and your fears, your laughter and your tears, your joy and your sorrow. The fact is, the love of your life will make your highs higher and your lows much easier to bear. As Audrey Hepburn said, “The best thing to hold onto in life is each other.” Marriage, like infinity, offers no limit to your happiness.
What Do You Think?
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