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3 Keys To A Successful Marriage (Or Love Life)

Jul 3, 2008
No one enters into marriage (or any modern variation on a long-term committed relationship) intending it to end. No one thinks that will happen to them.

Yet you'd have to be a supreme ostrich not to have some awareness of the odds of your marriage lasting " 'til death do you part." (I'm going to say "marriage" to save a lot of typing from here on, okay? Insert your own variation as we go along!)

So here are a few keys to increase your chances of your marriage being one of the successful ones. (You know the kind: when the press ask you on your 80th anniversary, "What's the secret of a successful marriage?")

Successful Marriage Key 1 - Know Your Outcome.

Ideally, you should do this before you propose or accept the proposal, but it's never too late to change!

Ask yourself, (not your beloved - yourself!), what kind of relationship suits you.

For example, whilst equality may be one of your ideals, if you're scrupulously honest with yourself, are you actually naturally drawn to being dominant in other areas of your life?

If you're bossy at the office, (even if you're not the boss), the leader and motivator of your social group, it's unlikely you'll be happy being a mouse at home! If that's your personality type, for you to have a successful marriage, choose a spouse who's happy being led by you.

On the other hand, if you're comfortable being the deputy, and you're a great organiser as long as someone's told you how they want their filing cabinet sorted or their garden to look, then you don't want a mousy partner if your marriage is to succeed.

Are you extrovert or introverted in nature? Are you optimistic or pessimistic? How resistant are you to change like moving house or career change?

Give yourself a personality workout. It's these kind of characteristics far more than "interests in common" that make a couple compatible.

If you're already well into a marriage by the time you read this, at least you know where to look, (inside yourself!), for where the causes of any struggle might lay. Once you get some clarity about this, have a really deep and honest conversation or ten with your spouse.

Successful Marriage Key 2 - Learn Each Other's Language.

It has been said that only 7% of communication is verbal. The old chestnut of "my wife doesn't understand me" - the almost cartoon excuse for an extra-marital affair - isn't going to wash in the twenty first century.

The main reason that couples don't understand each other is because they don't know each other's language. I'm not talking about what you say in words.

You each will have codes. Facial expressions, tones of voice and of course, codes of conduct. These are behaviours each of you will have grown up with. I know of at least one couple whose marriage suffered badly in the early days because whenever they argued the wife would leave the room, whilst the husband was yelling "Don't you dare walk out on me!"

It turned out that he had grown up in a family who believed that no matter how big or bad the disagreement, you stayed until it was resolved. His wife, on the other hand, grew up in a family where it was considered the ultimate insult to dignity to be shouted at, and you simply didn't stay in a room where that was going on.

Once they discovered this, they were able to at least come to some agreement about how to disagree!

Successful Marriage Key 3 - Dare to be honest.

It sounds simple but this can be the toughest one of all because every one of us has fears that if "you knew X about me, you wouldn't like me."

We all have them because no one gets through childhood without ever receiving some kind of message that parts of us are not perfect. We are reminded that it's rude not to say thank you, impolite to belch publicly and so on.

Then there are social, moral and religious codes that we are "obliged" to follow, not to mention legal rules. Most of us, at times, walk tightropes on some of these areas of life, and a few of us have even been known to cross the odd line from time to time. (No one I know ever has, of course! But I've heard the rumours).

But the more you are prepared to "psychologically unpack" with your nearest and dearest, the more you'll build up trust between you, but there's a much more important result to this.

You'll feel more loved, because you'll discover that the parts of you that you yourself had thought unacceptable, even unlovable, are now accepted and cherished as part of you by the person who matters to you most.

In return, you'll love her or him all the more for loving you.

Now who'd want to leave a marriage like that?
About the Author
Trevor Emdon is a self improvement author, life coach and workshop leader. He is a trained mental health professional & NLP practitioner.

For advice, free articles and more about heartbreak recovery, visit his website www.trust-in-relationships.com
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