Monday, May 3, 2010

Your 5 Minute Guide to a Successful Marriage

Ok, so since I've been married for 14 years (and happily so), I feel that I have some good information to share with the masses. Not that I'm an expert, but I think that my experience could really be helpful to someone out there in cyber world.

So in keeping with my forte for keeping things short and sweet, I am going to hit on the 6 major things that I believe can make all the difference between a happy marriage and a miserable one.  Here we go:

1. Put God first- This is the most important thing that it seems like people forget the most. When couples get married they get so wrapped up in themselves and their wants and needs that they forget to invite God into their union. That's why divorce is so rampant today. When you get married you stand before a pastor and recite your vows before God and then leave Him on the doorstep until something goes wrong. If you allow Him to guide you, your relationship and your household you will find that many of the other things will fall into place.

2. Communication- Not to sound cliche, but communication is basis for every relationship; spouses, friends, family, co-workers, etc... You have to know how to effectively express yourself to other people. Especially your spouse. And communication is not just talking, it involves listening as well. After you have had your say, you then need to close your mouth and LISTEN to what the other person has to say. You may or may not like it, but the fact still remains that you need to let them express themselves so that your relationship can flourish. When couples stop communicating that gives way to a bunch of other problems.

Just remember that women are emotional and men are not mind readers- you figure it out from there.

2. Trust- This one is a no-brainer. If you and your boo don't trust each other, you're pretty much doomed from the jump. Trust is a very fragile thing and once it's been broken it's very hard to rebuild. So here's my rule of thumb for maintaining the trust factor- DO NOT PUT YOURSELF IN BAD/COMPROMISING SITUATIONS!

For example, I work in the entertainment industry so I am always around people of the opposite sex. Due to that fact I never want my husband to have a reason to feel any kind of way about anything I may or may not be doing while I'm out and about, I do simple things like making sure that I answer my phone when he calls or calling just to let him know that everything's cool if I'm out late. Little considerate things like that go a long way in keeping his confidence in me. And visa versa.

4. Make time to do things together-  Life happens and people get busy, so it takes real effort to spend time together.  Set aside time everyday to spend some 1-on-1 quality time with your spouse. This will keep you from growing apart and allowing other temptations to set in.

And be open minded! Don't be afraid to try new things. Allowing your marriage to become monotonous and predictable is dangerous. Spontaneity is a good thing, don't be afraid of it. Ladies, if he asks you to do something a little more risque than usual (if it's not completely off the wall), humor him.  Who knows you may be surprised; you might like it.  Fellas, if she asks you to help clean up the house, why not lend a hand? If she's not completely exhausted at the end of the day that could only work out in your favor.  

5. Learn to value your space- As much as togetherness is important in a marriage, couples also have to have room to breathe. Having different hobbies and pastimes help keep you both from feeling smothered by each other. There is nothing wrong with having a life outside of your spouse. Learn to value your "me" time and know when it's time to come back together.

6. Understand your role- Men and women need to have a clear understanding of the role that they play in a relationship. That means, ladies, no man wants to be the female in the relationship. In this day and age we have become so independent in our lifestyles that we have forgotten how to let men be men. We need to learn how to fall back sometimes and let him do what God put him here to do: lead and take care of his family.

By the same token, fellas, no woman is going to fall in line and allow herself to be led by a weak man. And that's not to say that women are subservient and need to be led by a man to be happy, I'm just saying that deep down inside most women want a man who can make her feel like a woman by sacrificing for her happiness, working hard to take care of her and make her feel secure, and knowing when, and how, to take charge.  Chivalry is not dead.

Being that I was only 18 when I got married, I had a lot to learn about how to be in a relationship. But fortunately my husband is a great communicator (and if you know him you know I'm not lying), and he taught me a lot, and by the grace of God our journey together has translated into going on 15 years of a loving relationship.

Yes, we get on each other's nerves, but at the end of the day we love and respect each other and we value what we have in each other.  And we believe that it's worth fighting for every single day.

Marriage is not hard. It's work, but it's not hard if you're willing to put yourself aside long enough to do what's best for your relationship.

That is all for now.
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