Work Hard at Ever After

It seems that there’s a worldwide trend of quick marriages and faster divorces. Singapore’s statistics reveals that in 2004, we have almost 2 divorces in every 1000 marriages. The alarming thing is that most of the break-ups occur within the first 2 years of marriage and after more than 5 years of dating.

Remember when you took your vows? Well, how could you keep those vows in mind when you could only see red at a point in time? Do not for any minute fall for the “happy ever after” fairytale. Marriages take a great deal of work; just check out your parents. Where do you think those wrinkles come from?

Going Solo or Team United?

Firstly, work out a balance between individualistic needs and marriage teamwork. While it is important to maintain your individuality and personality, you must also bear in mind that marriage is a team effort.

“We” is definitely a more important pronoun than ‘I’ While making any decisions that will affect the both of you, always consult your other half before proceeding. The last thing you want is a misunderstanding that mutual respect is lacking. I.e., don’t just lend your last month’s pay to your best friend who needs to buy a new car. Check with your spouse first!

However, remember that no matter how united you are, there are always times you need to be private. Grant each other the private space, either in the house, like a study room, or agree on a specific time-slot every week for you to be away from each other. And don? peep into the other’s diary. Trust your partner to be trustworthy.

A Common Wavelength

Have you ever seen couples who can’t even carry on a 5 minute conversation with each other yet had no problem yakking the night away with their friends or colleagues? Drifting apart does not take place overnight. Even continental plates took eons to move a few metres.

Make sure that you are constantly communicating with each other. Whether you are busy at work or travelling, there’s always auto-roaming, Skype and MSN. And engage in real discussion over things you both have opinions of. Which is good practice for getting round arguments later.

Forgiveness is Divine

There will always be some things you cannot stand about each other. Like not remembering to flush the toilet or leaving clothes on the floor. Be tempted to whack your spouse but don’t. Remember to leave emotions aside and talk issues over rationally. If you can’t be rational, go away and cool down. Words spoken in anger usually are words regretted. Above all, be ready to practise tolerance and forgiveness.

Mushi-mushi

All the sweet nothings you used to whisper or sms each other? Well, it is a challenge to do that till you are eighty. But one key thing to keeping a marriage alive is to keep the romance alive. Set a date every week to go dating. Keep the kids at home and switch off your phones. Dedicating a special time to your relationship goes a long way to dedicating yourselves to each other.

Keeping the Flame Alive

How do some couples keep the flame burning bright after a decade of marriage? How do they, even after twenty years together still manage to be so totally in love? Have you ever found yourself pondering over such questions? If so, you, like so many others, believe that there is a secret recipe for a successful marriage. But truth be told, marriages are only as strong as the individuals within it. Therefore, if both parties are not dedicated in making the union a success, no amount of tips and hints will help. Bearing this in mind, I have compiled a list of the many ways we can keep the fire alive and burning.

Focus on ‘us’ not ‘me’

A marriage is a partnership, but quite often, many couples get married and continue to live like they did when they were single. Although it is important for some ‘me’ time, it is also important to share your experiences with your mate, as this builds bonds and brings a couple closer together. Because most of us spend over 10 hours a day at work, it is understandable that you end up confiding your frustrations and joys to your colleagues, and when you get home, you have nothing much to say to your partner, having unburdened yourself on your work mates. The problem with this is that, you are left with literally nothing much to talk about when you get home and this may result in your partner feeling excluded from your life.

Find time to be together

It’s easy to suggest but impossible to do, but do try and make some time for each other every day. Even if it is for an hour, simply sharing the mundane daily goings-on will make your partner feel included in your life and this feeling of inclusion will bring the two of you closer together. Try to make it a point to spend at least one day of the week to re-explore each other. A romantic dinner, a trip to the cinema or theatre, a walk in the park, any of these simple activities will help restore or maintain intimacy between the two of you.

A little time to be kind

The stress of our daily routines often makes it too easy not to be as polite or civil to our partners as we could be. It’s important to remember that our partners need and deserve that courtesy the most. So take the time to recognize all that your partner does each day, show your appreciation for the efforts by thanking him or her for things done and give high praise. It’s easy to get so swamped and overwhelmed by work that you simply forget to tell your partner that you love them. Make an effort to tell and show your partner how much he or she means to you. Hold his or her hand, give a kiss on the way out the door, put a love note in the lunchbox, and compliment your partner in public. All of these acts demonstrate your love for your husband / wife.

Listen with empathy

Communication is the key to a lasting relationship. Developing good listening skills can help you build and maintain emotional empathy. A good listener doesn’t just understand the words another person is saying. He or she also understands the meaning behind the words, and acknowledges that the meaning was understood. This type of listening is called empathic listening and makes the speaker feels that what he / she says is of importance. Practicing empathic listening can lead to good relationships, emotional intimacy, and contented marriages. Unlike just hearing the words someone says, empathic listening demonstrates to the listener that you truly understand and care about what he or she thinks and feels.

Relive your courting days

Remember how much time you spent together before marriage? All those late nights spent just walking around, simply enjoying being next to each other? Those marathon conversations you both had about nothing and everything? Relive the exhilaration, the fervour and the closeness that you both shared. Don’t postpone it for tomorrow; life is so fragile; there may not be a tomorrow. As morbid as this may sound, you should value the time you have together, so if anything bad should happen, you would have no regrets.

Finding your soul mate is something that each and everyone of us dreams of, so if you have found the man / woman worthy of this title, cherish them and live every day together like it is your last.

The Seven Commandments for a Happy Marriage

Although there is no secret recipe for a happily ever after, there are some rules which can give your marriage a fighting chance at success, so listed below are seven, simple, yet effective points that can help strengthen your marriage.

1. Pride goes before a fall

Just as the age-old adage goes, where your relationship is concerned you should put aside your pride and instead, focus on solving the problem in an unbiased way. Marriage is not about who is right or wrong, it’s not a competition, its more important than that, and very often we tend to overlook its significance by getting side tracked by inconsequential matters.

2. Make up before the day ends

Constructive fighting is good for any relationship, as it helps your relationship grow and clarify differences. However, it is important not to go to bed before making up. By delaying resolving the problem, all you are doing is causing the resentment to fester and get worse, therefore, no matter how angry you may be, make the effort to solve the problem before either of you hit the sack.

3. Say you are sorry when you are wrong

If you are in the wrong, swallow that pride and admit it, no good will come about if you don?. Be mature and show your partner that even though you are mad, embarrassed and filled to the brim with pride, you are still willing to put all that aside to make the relationship work.

4. Talk, share and get connected

Remember how you used to tell your partner everything that went on in your life? Well, don? stop. By sharing your thoughts, experiences and feelings with each other, you are building a bond between yourselves. The key to a successful marriage is a strong friendship, so go head and be friends again.

5. If it’s going to hurt, bite your tongue

If what you are going to say will cause unnecessary hurt, just bite your tongue. Constructive criticism is good, but destructive criticism which is fuelled by spite and pettiness will just erode your relationship and causes more harm than good, so ask yourself, what your objective is before you utter those spiteful words.

6. Save the criticism for when you get home

Suppress your desire to lash out at your partner in public or to others. Show him / her, the respect they deserve by saving the tongue lashing for when you get home. Airing your dirty laundry to others would result in your partner losing face. Remember your vows, to ‘cherish each other for better or for worse’, well remember them whenever you are filled with desire to rant.

7. Have a little love

Having sex frequently releases endorphins, burns calories and reduces stress. It also helps you to get closer to each other. So make the time for a quick romp or if time is really a constraint, then some heavy petting would also suffice. 🙂