Many people falsely believe that once you get married, you’re automatically happy and everything is just perfect. But in reality, that’s not how it is. Marriage is like a plant – you have to keep watering it or it will die. Many people also have outrageous expectations of what a marriage should be like; including me. I had to struggle with that for the first few months of my marriage because all those fairy tales we used to watch, well, they’re just that. Fairy tales.
Marriage is hard work, as beautiful as it can be, if both are willing to put in effort and work together as a team, everything will work out. Here a few core points of what I believe every relationship needs in order to be a blossoming, successful marriage.
We all have heard the saying that “Communication is key.” And yes, it truly is. If you want a person to understand your fears, know your wants and needs, be able to cater to you in a way you wish for – you need to communicate that to them. Most of the time expectations just set you up for failure. I like to keep it as direct as possible, without being disrespectful. If something really disturbs me or if I think there’s some improvement in our relationship we need to work on, I make sure to let him know. Even though we’re on one page, one might perceive the situation in an entirely different light than the other. Don’t be afraid to hurt your partner’s feelings, to come across as nagging or to ruin the vibe. Leaving issues unaddressed and letting negative feelings build up is what will definitely hurt the relationship. Just be open to each other and very importantly, be open to constructive criticism.
Trust is the foundation of a relationship. Just as with any other relationship, including friendships – you need to trust one another.
How else could you possibly rely on a person to have your back throughout the good and the bad times?
Without trust, no relationship can truly function. The best way to build such confidence is to not expect any negative actions from your partner. Regardless of what that person may have done in past relationships, circumstances have changed, and this is a new beginning for both. Of course, it doesn’t always go smooth, and trust may be broken or taken advantage of. In that case, your partner needs to prove himself through actions. Prove that whatever it was that broke your trust won’t happen again and that you’re the one they sincerely want to invest their time and effort in. That doesn’t mean that it’s okay for anyone to take advantage of your trust and forgiveness. There’s only so much a person can and should take. Don’t be a fool for love but know when forgiveness can be earned.
Spending Time With Each Other
It’s crucial for you and your partner to find time to enjoy each other’s company whenever possible. A busy schedule and your kids might make it hard but it’s important to have at least one date night a week where it’s just the two of you. Have a nice dinner, go dancing, check out a local happy hour – whatever it was that you guys used to enjoy doing before your schedules got hectic. That is what’s going to make you appreciate the time that you do have together even more. It’s not a bad thing to miss your partner, but you don’t want to get in a habit of living separate lives.
You and your partner need to communicate your fantasies and needs to each other. Trust is also needed to entirely let go of all worries and to fully enjoy the act of intimacy. And then it’s important to put forth the time required with each other to do all that. It is totally up to each relationship, but most won’t want to keep it to just once a week. Men: women are different from you all. We need the whole romance thing to get it started. Random gifts, dinners, massages, cleaning up something for us, even putting the babies to sleep – anything that gives us the opportunity to relax for a minute will also benefit you. And women: men like it spontaneous. Not everything has to be planned; he doesn’t always need to be expecting it. Keeping it fun and interesting between the sheets can do so much for your relationship. Another benefit for both is that sex reduces stress and releases dopamine, so you’ll both feel much better afterwards.
The illustration above shows what I believe are the three main components of a healthy relationship. My father taught me that. He said:
The foundation of a good relationship always has to be a solid friendship. If that’s nonexistent, you won’t be able to share your most vivid thoughts and fears with that one person. You also won’t love a person if they don’t become your friend first. Wanting to be around that one person–laughing and crying, fighting with each other and then getting over that–that’s love coming from friendship. But my favorite is the sex. Good sex is crucial. Attraction, intimacy and sex are what keeps a relationship alive.
Now, that I am married myself, I understand what he was talking about.