When a couple falls in love and decides to marry, neither one is thinking about how to make each other miserable “till death do us part.” Sadly, and way too often, instead of the fairy tale ending of “happily ever after,” the two, once they become one, begin a collision course with disaster instead of an eternal honeymoon.
Is there any way to avoid the nightmare that follows the dream wedding? Are all couples doomed to settle into a life of bickering and eventual hatred of each other? This is quite a pessimistic view of marriage.
Plenty of people do live quite well and thrive in the marital state. Although this is hardly ever stated, fifty percent of marriages remain intact! Did you get that? Fifty percent of people who marry stay married!
How do they do it? There must be some secret of their success. There are many things that distinguish happily married couples from the unhappy ones. Here are three secret behaviors of happily married couples: acceptance, appreciation, and admiration.
Acceptance: this is not mere tolerance. Acceptance means that each person has decided to love the other without reservation. They accept the shortcomings and the imperfections of their spouse. Instead of focusing on how they can fix each other and make each other into better people, they agree that those imperfections are all right. They prefer to work on self-improvement rather than making their spouse a “fixer-upper project.”
Appreciation: in small ways and in large, the members of this happy couple let each other know what they like that the other does. This means they are generous with phrases such as “thank you” and “that was great” and “I love it when you ______.” They do not expect that their spouse can read their mind. They know that words of appreciation are mood-lifters. They strive to create a home that is a refuge from negativity that may bombard them during the day.
Admiration: children are not the only ones who need to hear, “I am so proud of you.” Couples who express admiration for each other and for accomplishments give each other that needed support and encouragement that keeps them going, even during rough times. Expressing admiration shows they believe in each other. After all, they were attracted to what they admired in each other initially. They remember to keep pointing out the fact that they still admire each other.
If your relationship needs a morale boost, begin by practicing these three secret behaviors. Make it a daily habit to show acceptance, appreciation, and admiration. Expect nothing in return and simply do it to practice your own self-improvement. Depending on the state of your relationship, you could notice changes fairly quickly or it may take a while.
If you need help to create the marriage of your dreams, I would love to help. Contact me at michelle (at) trueloverelationshipcoaching.com and we’ll set up a complementary Get Acquainted Session.