Friday, March 16, 2012

10 Tips on How To Live Happily Ever After

Remember that childhood chant …”First comes love, then comes marriage …”? It implied that there would be a happily ever after, and a lot of us bought into that sentiment!

The reality is that life is neither a fairytale nor is it all hearts and flowers. It can be, however, a loving, safe and nurturing place, if the partners persistently take the proper care to keep it that way.

Naturally, you want to marry Mr. or Miss Right, who is someone with whom you have much in common and to whom you feel a special connection. As time goes by, though, that “right” person has to continue to do the “right” things within the relationship to keep it alive and vibrant.

How does one stay Mr. or Miss Right? Here are 10 tips to keep you on the ‘right’ path.

1. Remember that marriage is a choice, and you have the power to choose to be happy or to be miserable in your union. If you feel stuck, dig yourself out by recognizing and dealing with your issues. Be neither a victim nor an enabler of your partner. Your life; your choice.

2. Don’t avoid conflict. It is not inherently bad. In fact, it’s how humans share their differences. It’s only how you choose to address conflict in your relationship that can make it a growth experience or a debacle.

3. Be grateful. Look for ways to show your love and be willing to accept your partner’s shows of affection (even if it is not in the way you want it or expect it).

4. Always paint your partner into the landscape of your life. Wherever you go and whatever you are doing – carry your partner with you. In this way, you are sharing your life even when you’re apart. This raises the importance of your partner in your thoughts.

5. Shun complacency. Relationships require work, for they should always be a work-in-progress. That means as each individual changes so must the relationship adapt and change, too. You wouldn’t want to operate equipment with old or wrong instructions. Similarly, you don’t want to operate your relationship with instructions that no longer apply.

6. Don’t hold grudges. This means when you are heatedly discussing Topic X, don’t bring in baggage from Topic Y that happened years ago. If you don’t release your grudges, you will have the same argument (without ever resolving it) throughout your relationship.

7. Don’t nag. Of course, you can make a polite request of your partner, but nagging (which you may think is only reminding) won't get it done any faster. In fact, it might have the opposite effect as all your partner hears after the first time is "blah, blah, blah."  Try asking for help rather than demanding or uttering the statement, "You never help around the house." Superlatives such as never and always are fighting words, for they are both improbable.

8. Keep intimacy alive – both the emotional and physical type. Withholding sex will only fuel the fires of discontent. Conversely, engaging in sex (even if you’re not in the mood or predisposed because of conflict), can help to clear the air by letting you reconnect with your partner on a visceral level. Sex naturally opens up the doors to positive communication.

9. Discuss your finances and your approach to financial management ahead of your union.  Make an active plan in which both partners have a say. If you remain passive in this area, there is no room for complaints down the road.

10. Take care of yourself and create boundaries. This is not a selfish act. If you are not good to yourself, you cannot be good to others. When you’ve had “Me Time” then you feel refreshed and able to cope with the ups and downs that all relationships experience.

It's your move!
Make it one towards building a happily ever after.

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