Has marriage become an old-fashioned concept or is it still worth the effort? Is it better to remain in a relationship without letting religion get involved? Whatever your thoughts are, a successful marriage or any relationship needs a lot and constant work.
Being fully committed to someone special and to no one else requires absolute dedication and loyalty – unless you come to learn that your commitment was misplaced due to the actions of your mate. Depending on the severity of that action, it would, for me, determine my course of action.
If you have ever known anyone who lives with another in a committed relationship and isn’t married, they may express equally intense love and loyalty for each other. Some people simply do not feel the need to be legally married. In the U.S., marriage is generally held as a religious service in a church or synagogue.
It is mainly our society’s attempt to legitimise a sexual relationship so that two people can engage in an intimate relationship and not commit what society has decided is a “sin”.
The legal rights of marriage were drafted by politicians who were either religious themselves or influenced by religion, serving in office and expressing their ideas, opinions and beliefs, or the views of those that voted them.
They allowed those beliefs to creep into many of the laws we have today. Because the legal definitions of marriage are based mainly on religious concepts, it is surprising (to me) that courts have been so slow to break down their impact.
Most of the legal benefits of marriage can indeed be contractually created, such as each person’s rights upon splitting assets. Still, there is something unique about the feeling of being married.
Marriage is a state of mind. I am for it. I don’t think it has run its course, and I doubt it ever will, not as long as there is one couple left that feels the thrill and excitement of getting married.
Indeed, some people should not be married, at least not to each other, and some people shouldn’t marry at all. As for my personal suggestions for those that have taken that critical step, and are curious as to my top ideas for maintaining a successful marriage (or relationship in general), here they are:
Staying in love
Not just strong feelings but a mature understanding of what it means to love another is integral. There will be many times when you may become frustrated or angry with your partner. The easy step might be to give up and walk away. That is the weak way to approach any relationship. Think of that: Would you quit a newly-started business because it has become difficult? Are you a quitter?
Lots of work
Successful people are the ones that work out the problem. They address issues head-on and figure out what they believe is the way to best handle the situation. They don’t quit; they work! They sometimes make big mistakes, but they take them in stride and move forward. Learning what does not work is just as important as learning what does. Relationships are a lot of work. Love is work. Love means continuous compromise; it means putting the other person first; it means not trying to get in the last word; it means apologising even if you don’t feel you are in the wrong.
Love means having compassion for your mate’s feelings, knowing what is important to them and trying to help every time you can, and even when you cannot.
To live in a successful marriage you have to be honest, loyal but at the same time kind and caring. Here are some ways you can help that along.
Communicate. This doesn’t mean just talk. It means to make sure that the other person understands what you mean with the same understanding of your message that you are trying to convey. Many misunderstandings of the meaning of the exact words lead to unnecessary hurt and frustration. You intended the message to say something. Did your partner interpret it differently? Learn how to properly communicate with your partner is something that will help you with any kind of relationship either personal or professional.
Express your feelings. It doesn’t help to make your partner guess what you are thinking or feeling. You need to tell them what you are feeling and why – the more thorough, the better. Heart to heart conversations usually work. Maybe not all times but honestly is generally appreciated by everyone. Such conversations build trust. They combine honesty and emotions and make you strong.
Honestly and Openness are Imperatives. If you fail to be honest, you create suspicion even if none is deserved. If you are afraid of hurting your mate’s feelings, there are ways of tactfully telling them what you feel. If they have spinach stuck in their tooth, they will want to know it. If the shoes don’t match the dress, they need to know. If you don’t know, ask them the question.
Loyalty means what it says. Stand behind your partner and give them your support. That doesn’t mean in a private conversation you can’t question them about their decision, but don’t question it in front of others. Be there for them. Loyalty is also part of the commitment.
Commitment. You made a choice to be with your partner. That means you stay committed. You don’t stray. It’s very easy to cheat on a person. It happens every day. But you made a commitment. You took vows. Are you a person of your word? Are you honourable? Or does your word mean nothing? If your word means nothing, then thank you for reading this article, but the truth is that you should consider getting advice on how to improve yourself.
Trust is wonderful. There is nothing like the intense feeling of security you feel when you know you can completely trust another. Trust is vital in every single relationship. It is so easy to lose and almost impossible to regain. Value it and never abuse it.
Integrity and Ethics are required every day of your life. You know the right thing to do, so do it. Live the life that is an example for others. Be the person you want them to believe you are – it’s excellent practise for being a parent someday.
If you feel like your marriage or relationship is in trouble, don’t hesitate to put some more effort and visit a psychologist or a couples’ counsellor.