Monday, April 27, 2009

Happy Marriage Tips

Hi, I told you I was going to re-post some of the "good" articles from my old blog. This one was originally posted on Valentine's day, and was fairly well received. If you didn't read it yet, hope you find it helpful ...

I usually get most of my marriage and relationship advice from my friend Lin’s blog. But, seeing as how it’s Valentine’s day and all, I thought I might share a few little nuggets that I’ve picked up over the years.

I’m not on my first marriage. Ana and I had both done this previously. To be honest, I’m not sure whether that makes me less, or more, qualified to offer advice on making it work. I hate to say that my first marriage was just a “test” or a “learning experience”, but I can say unequivocally that I get along so well with Ana to some extent because of the lessons I learned when I was in my 20s.

:-)

I’ll start out with the most important one first …

  1. Banish the phrase “how it should be” from your vocabulary.

    Your marriage (and really life in general) is how it is. It will pretty much Never be exactly how it “should be”.

    Wanna know why? Because “how it should be” is a moving target.

    It’s kind of like one of my favorite quotes: “True happiness is not having what you want, it’s wanting what you have”.

    Can you think of a better way to define a successful marriage?


  2. Accept that No One (not even your spouse) can make you happy, angry, sad, etc,.

    Your husband or wife may be able to create or enhance conditions that make it easier for you to be happy. But ultimately, our happiness is not dependent on someone else … we always have some degree of control over how we feel.

    And here’s kind of a funny thing. The more we love ourselves, and take control of our own happiness, the easier it becomes for others to enhance those feelings.


  3. Loving someone doesn’t mean you need to be together 24 hours a day.

    Ironically, this is a lesson that my wife Ana helped me get a better grip on. It’s ok if we don’t always watch the same tv shows. It’s not the end of the world if I want to go golfing on Saturday and she’d prefer to shop. It’s great if we have some friends in common … but it’s also perfectly healthy to occasionally do our “own thing” with “our own people”.

    In short, the fact that we can be happy and fulfilled as individuals makes it much easier to also appreciate the good feelings that we get from doing things as a couple.

    This may be a bit simplistic, but my interpretation of this is that “wanting” to be with someone is a healthy and desirable thing … “needing” them; probably not so much.


  4. Admit when you’re wrong, but don’t always try to “fix” it (mainly aimed a guys)

    ALL couples will fight … or have disagreements if you prefer … and, there’s almost always plenty of blame to go around. Over many years of “experimentation” (almost none of it willingly), I have come to the conclusion that the “best” way to resolve a serious disagreement with your spouse is to accept responsibility if you messed up (which let’s face it, if you’re a guy, you probably did … it’s in our nature); apologize; then just let time work it’s magic …

    When I was young, I was already reasonably good at accepting responsibility, and I think apologizing is pretty easy for most people, but boy did I have a hard time if everything wasn’t “fixed” quickly enough. The sad result was that silly little arguments too often turned into huge fights … because one or the other of us didn’t apologize back right away … you know, like we “should” have done … which led to more arguing …

    Now, either I’m older and wiser, or I just got lucky and found a partner who’s temperament is better suited to mine (most likely a combination of both). When Ana and I have a disagreement, if she tells me to leave her alone, I listen. I know that in a couple of days, everything will be ok … or at least good enough that we can have a rational discussion.



It’s only been a couple of years, but so far I can honestly say that we’ve yet to have a “fight” that I’d be embarrassed for my kids to know about. (again, unfortunately, not something I can say about my first marriage).

Anyhow, I’m obviously no expert on marriage, but I do feel quite happy about how mine seems to work. If any of my advice or lessons happens to resonate and help you, all the better. And as always, please feel free to share your own stories and opinions in the comments below.

Happy Valentine’s Day,
Todd

4 comments:

  1. Pretty good Todd. You may want to add 'Don't compare what you have with someone else because their life may not be all that it seems.' I know of many people who are unsatisfied with what they have because someone across the road treats their spouse differently and why can't you be more like him / her.

    Sire’s last blog post..The 10 Stages Of A Twitterer

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  2. lol, the easy solution to that problem ... just don't let your spouse talk to anyone across the street :-D

    Seriously though; yes, that can definitely cause some conflict. In my first marriage, I was sometimes compared to my father-in-law ... and not necessarily in the favorable light I would have liked. And yes, even in those apparently "perfect" looking relationships, there is almost always some form of "... the rest of the story".

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  3. You know Todd, I've also found that on those occasions where the dissatisfaction has led to divorce, thinking that the grass is greener on the other side, they find out that it isn't as they perceived, but naturally they will never admit they were wrong.

    It's just like some people who fail in business, it wasn't their fault it was the economy or something else out of their control.

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  4. Good advice indeed. I think sometimes people go into a marriage expecting another person to make them happy and never hurt them. So, you are absolutely right. All couples fight and there will be blame and hurt now and then. It takes maturity to deal with disagreements and conflicts. You just cannot expect your spouse not to hurt you and make you happy everyday, right? That's just not possible, I think.

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