I am a relationship expert and yet I have been married 4 times. I gave up a marriage that could have been workable if only I was not so tunnel visioned.
If only, is a very sad phrase.
All I was aware of at the time was my need to get out to explore what else was out there. It is embarrassing to admit to such superficiality, but there it is.
Now some people can learn from other people’s mistakes. Some learn only from their own. I share my thoughts with you after almost 40 years counseling other couples, and seeing that advice does not always fall on deaf ears.
Here’s the some of my learned-by-experience advice for you:
Do not ever take your partner for granted. This means to continue to court with dating, with intimate kisses, with hello and good-bye and thank you. Protect both of your hearts by loving yourself as much as you love the other’s. Do not let anyone else share that space. Whatever else you have to do can wait.
Prioritize the few minutes it takes to reconnect. Save what was in the beginning so it can remain precious and cherished.
The truth is, you both have choices. You don’t have to stay with one another. Individuals are changing every day. Neither of you is the same person you were when you met. It can feel easier to walk away than to rekindle the old sparks.
But if you lose that connection by not hearing the needs of your partner, you may never get it back. Alas, so many people in my office are in disbelief that their relationship is over.
They listened too late. You don’t have to take that path.
Even the research shows that the most happily married couples focus on what they love about their partner. Focus ONLY on what you love. The way to stay in love is by focusing on those qualities that make you respect your partner.
When you focus on what you don’t like that will become your total reality. You may think that being realistic is what keeps a couple together – not so. If you comment on the best, that is what you will get.
We may not have seen this growing up but the truth is, it is not the job of a spouse to change or fix their partner. We do change over time. We may like or dislike the changes and if you love that person, accept that to unconditionally love is to grow with our partner, not stand in their way.
It is not our partner’s job to make us happy and they cannot protect us from being sad. We are all responsible for finding our own happiness. The joy in enjoying our own lives will spill over into our relationship.
Watch for part 2 of this advice on keeping a marriage together. Too much advice, even good advice can be overwhelming. Savor and apply on a daily basis.