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The ABCs to a Successful Marriage

Aug 5, 2008
Acceptance is the first core value. It's absolutely vital that both partners accept each other the way they are. I have learned to celebrate both my husband's strengths and his weaknesses, but it didn't happen overnight. He (we'll call him Sam) can be a pretty flighty guy. He loses car keys, receipts, and cell phones without fail. He forgets appointments and doesn't read the fine print before he signs his name on something.

As much as I love him, Sam just doesn't care about details. That's who he is. But his brilliant and creative mind are something I love about him, and if you made Sam any less of a free spirit I'm convinced he would lose those traits I love so much. I've learned to accept the good with the bad. Yes, it irritates me when he spaces out, but that's Sam and I love him.

Biting your tongue is the second biggie in our marriage. We fight so little because both of us have learned to fight fair. No name-calling when we fight, and I always try to pause and think of how to phrase my statements in the most diplomatic way possible. For example, instead of "You never spend any time with me!" I'll instead say, "I feel lonely" or "I miss you." I try to stay away from statements that begin "you always" or "you never" at any cost. Those are sure to start a fight I didn't mean to have.

Communication is the third vital part of our marriage. I've learned in my years of marriage that it's amazing how two people who know each other so well can still misunderstand each other. If he's frustrated about something that happened at work, I might misread his body language and think he's mad at me. If I'm sad because a good friend moved away, he might think I'm upset over something he did.

We need to verbalize our feelings and let the other know what's going on with us. Neither of us are mind readers. I've also learned that we take a lot of things for granted and don't bother to spell them out for others because they're just so obvious to us. But in a marriage you need to spell it out.

Just recently Sam and I were going to the mall to shop at J.C. Penney. It was raining so he said, "I'll drop you off at the door." I waited faithfully for 10 minutes by the mall entrance where he dropped me off, and he went straight to J.C. Penney and waited for me at the store entrance. Little communications like that happen with us all the time, just because we don't spell out our expectations.

Try to avoid saying things like, "we don't have enough sex" or "we're spending too much money." Quantify what you mean by subjective terms like 'too much' or 'not enough.' You'll be shocked to learn how differently the two of you see things.

So we've found these three ABCs for a successful marriage, but really they can be applied to any relationship that's important to you. I hope you've learned something from Sam's and my mistakes! Have a great marriage and enjoy each other.
About the Author
Chris Jensen is a contributing author of Jetfly Blog. For more related articles and views visit Jetfly Marriage & Dating Blog now. Also, for the best up-to-date related online products, check out Jetfly Marriage Book Shop for todays current online deals.
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