We're happy to present this story from one of our favorite sites, The Good Men Project. Today, Mark Tyrrell offers eight relationship tools to make your marriage work.
"All marriages are happy. It's the living together afterward that causes all the trouble." — Raymond Hull
So how do you make your marriage work? Or do you just blindly hope it'll take care of itself?
Think of a hot, successful date with someone you’re attracted to. You have fun, great conversation and more sexual chemistry than a warehouse full of pheromones. You don’t have to “work at” the date because it’s self sustaining. It runs as smoothly as the gliding hand of a classical guitar maestro and you can’t wait for another rendition.
But marriage, or any long term relationship; well that’s a whole other caboodle.
If we’re not careful, marriage can deteriorate into little more than a torturous assault course; littered with routine boredoms, frustrations and resentments. Couple all that with external pressures and sometimes marriage feels not worth the effort. But there are major benefits to being hitched or committed, other than just a beneficial tax regime.
Healthy marriage; healthy people.
Being happily married bestows heaps of health benefits. You might be forgiven for thinking that if you’re married you don’t live longer it just seems like it but, no, a good marriage really can help you clock up more years (1) and married people are happier (2) even though they don’t always look it from the outside.
But when marriage doesn’t work it can feel being manacled to a maniac, marooned with a misogynist or nailed to a nag. And I don’t care what the studies say, that’s not healthy. You may hear couples say stuff like: “We are making our marriage work!” but how do we do this?
Making it work.
We pay lip service to “working on the marriage” but what is the work we need to do? Marriage vows such as “to love and to cherish” and “forsaking all others, for better or for worse” don’t really tell us how to make it work, although they give us a clue.
Fortunately a ton of research has been done on what to do and not do to make your marriage, or any intimate relationship work. Follow the guidelines here to become “good at marriage."
Tip one: Be romantic but keep it real.
We are all (force?) fed romance in movies and novels. The handsome man gets the beautiful woman. But what I wonder is what happens after our romantic couple ride off into the sunset together? What do they do exactly? Bicker? Moan at one another? Start to ignore each other?
After all that romance, our beautiful couple is bound to have massive expectations of their life together. But when rose tinted expectations clash with day to reality, watch out!
Romance is vital in any relationship. Always seeing the best in your partner helps to keep things intimate and love should be expressed. But if you have been raised on Mills and Boon Romance novels or feel-good movies, then your own romantic expectations can work against the sustainability of your long term relationship.
When day to day life fails to live up to the giddy, heady lust-filled days of the pre-settled down romance people can become angry, even blame one another: “This wasn’t what I signed up for." They find it hard to take the rough with the smooth because they never really figured there would be any rough.
Expectations not diluted with at least a dash of realism can be a royal road to relationship ruin. Your partner may be an angel, but they have feet of clay. You must learn to love those feet or at least accept them a bit!
Get the rest after the jump!