The death rate of marriages is far greater than twenty years ago, why is that? It seems it’s a rarity to see couples who have been married twenty plus years and yet it still strikes a chord in all of us when we see couples up in years walking together holding hands.
It doesn’t take long to determine who’s dating …and who’s settled too far into the comfort zone of married life. Next time you’re in a restaurant, observe the couples around you. Are they talking? Holding hands? Or are they engrossed in their phones, the paper, or simply eating without even looking at one another?
Truth is marriage is the most rewarding relationship I’ve ever been involved in, but it is also the hardest undertaking I’ve engage in as well. It takes daily, constant care to stick and stay together. There are often great sacrifices necessary to create a harmony or team spirit. And the daily skirmishes must be weighed out based on priority and importance. One of the tougher skills to staying married is overlooking faults, mistakes, and just plain annoyances.
Here are a few secrets that might help your own longevity:
Don’t lose the flirt:
Good sexy flirting with your spouse reminds the other that they are at the forefront of your thinking. It’s like the seasoning on a good taco. The taco is nutritional by itself, but the hot sauce adds the zesty flavor and extra enjoyment. Sexy verbal texts, good grooming, and even pizza by candle-light can be sexy.
Create your own little world away from the rest of the universe even if for only ten minutes. Generally, lives pull us in two different directions all day long. Starting the day together allows us to check in with one another. And a few moments of skin to skin contact can make all the difference in the world. In the real world, outside of dating, the joy of making love can be relegated to once a week, so ten minutes in the shower to just reconnect is a valuable sticking point.
Understanding each other’s strengths and weaknesses will better build a team that provides a well-oiled problem solving machine when crisis’s hit—and we all know the crisis will hit sooner or later. A partner you can count on with their unique skills can make a successful alliance. There’s nothing harder on a marriage than having one of the partners discount the other. For the disregarded spouse, it’s like being a world class athlete drafted to the big leagues and then benched because the coach doesn’t recognize your ability to perform. Take the time to observe the strengths in your spouse.
Relationships suffer when they become all about survival and work. If your job takes all your time, stay single. If you’re married, strive to perfect balance in a chaotic world, by finding moments of fun and intimacy. If you have children, employee grandma, trade with a friend or hire a sitter on a regular basis. It is possible to carve out time, even if it’s minutes; people make time for what’s important to them and our spouses know that. Let go of the idea of reconnecting on vacation or a twice a year extravagant date. Don’t lose those ideas but realize that breakfast once a week, a short drive, or a soak in the tub for twenty minutes can be just as invigorating to the psyche of a relationship.
Little Things Matter:
Please, Thank you, I love you, I appreciate you, and how’d I get so lucky? All these little things matter. Write them on a note, text them, leave a card, on the bathroom mirror. Find twenty ways to say I love you or you mean the world to me and say them often. Do a chore that is typically the other person’s job without saying a word. Leave a voice mail message listing five things that you admire about your significant other. Praise them for doing the day to day mundane tasks they do to keep the team afloat.
Breakfast Business Meetings:
When schedules and events over-run your lives, take time away from the hustle and bustle and hold planning meetings. Bring your calendar, ideas, and issues to discuss on a list already established in priorities. Then stick to the topics, jointly decide what goes, what stays, and strategize a plan of attack. Leave the emotions behind by considering this a business strategy meeting. If you come to an impasse, the person that cares the most carries more weight in the decision or voting process.
Don’t take yourself too seriously. Learn each other’s sense of humor. Remember for joke’s to be funny, laugh together at something, not at the other person’s expense. Explore doing things that the other person likes, and find common ground that both of you can do together.
Be open, vulnerable, and try to see things from the other person’s perspective. Think before you speak and respond before you react. Don’t hold grudges and get to forgiveness quicker. If you can do these things, you’ll be that elderly couple still holding hands celebrating 50 years of togetherness.