On an online group, a few weeks ago, a girl married for around seven years asked, “Do happy marriages really exist?” and there were over a thousand replies. If I could vaguely categorize the answers, over 80% said happy marriages were just an illusion. The other 20% were more optimistic and yet placed the dependency on having the perfect partner to make the relationship a ‘happy one’.
Some might scoff – Isn’t that an over-optimistic topic? Is it possible to have a ‘perfectly ever after’?
I believe that our outer world is a reflection of our inner world and marriage, or any relationship for that matter, allows people to grow, first as individuals, and then within the relationship- even when it involves walking out, but peacefully.
Here are seven tips to have a happy marriage:
1. Define What A Happy Marriage Means To You
Happiness is quite subjective and could vastly vary across age groups, cultures, social and economic status. The meaning of happiness changes with travel exposures, friendships made, knowledge gained, and the experiences gathered along the way. Quite honestly, it will evolve over the years for the same individual, depending on the phase they are in.
The biggest problem in a relationship is the lack of awareness of what could potentially make one happy. That leads to a wide range of expectations from the other without even knowing oneself thoroughly. When one has at least a structure to what makes one happy, it can be shared with the partner for their understanding.
Remember Will Smith talking in an interview where he thought that throwing the most star-studded party for Jada Smith would make her intensely joyful on her birthday, where in reality, noise was everything she despised. So, know what happiness means and communicate it to your partner.
2. Know Your Boundaries And Find Out Your Partner’s
Boundaries are essential in any relationship. When in love especially, we often forget to draw that invisible yet delicate line. Boundaries are often misunderstood as distance, but in reality, the most respectful relationships have healthy boundaries. Khalid Gibran’s version of relationships so beautifully describes this, “Let there be spaces in your togetherness; fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.”
3. Discuss Your Values
One major cause of difference is the gap in the value systems. Say one person believes that raising one’s voice to make a point is required (maybe that’s how they were brought up) and the other believes that conversations can be and should be more civil, irrespective of the topic of disagreement, no matter how tiny or trivial. THIS difference of value could potentially create a bigger gap than the disagreement itself.
4. Heal Yourselves Individually
As humans, we have resorted to defense mechanisms to cope with hurtful situations life throws at us. When one is unhealed, they tend to project it on the person they love– the adage that we hurt the people we love, holding true here. While that is not to be accepted as a rule, it is what happens when both partners are unhealed or even when one is unhealed, as that would put the entire brunt on one partner to maintain the sanctity when the other lets off steam. Doable for a short period but definitely not manageable for a lifetime.
5. Schedule Time Together
Life will be unpredictable, but having guidelines can help one navigate through it. Most relationships, after certain years blend every single aspect together. Date time is now with friends or kids, family time is with colleagues, dinner table conversations include budget talks and by the end of it, either one or both partners feel stressed.
Allot segments to life and then create days or dates to meet these segments specifically. It won’t always go exactly as planned, but will at least direct one’s attention to the importance of planning. In couple-therapies, the women often complain that they don’t spend time together, which confuses the men. They site examples of a family outing, office parties, grocery shopping, etc. Clearly then, it’s not an issue of time but of allotted time for specific segments.
6. Grow Together
This I have personally found to be a big turn-on for long term relationships. Supporting each other’s growth is a big boost, a constant foreplay and aphrodisiac to any relation. When relationships are strained, the one common thread is a lack of support when either partner is having a hard time in life.
Remember, our best friends are those who stand by us in our dark hours. So helping each other climb the ladder is an indisputable requirement for a successful relationship.
7. Meditate, Reflect and Relax Together
Reflection is a part of life. We reflected on our grades in school, reflected on our performance in our appraisals at the workplace, we reflect on business success at the end of the year or every quarter; some even do a weekly check-in.
Then why not a reflection for our relationships?
Meditation as a couple has ten-fold benefits.
⦁ It helps relax and align
⦁ It aligns both partners in the same frequency and the same zone
⦁ It improves communication
⦁ Aids healing and ensures constant growth.
Relaxation, of course, does one a world of good for the mind and body, and making time to relax together is as good as it can get for your intimacy too. So as the world celebrates Valentine’s month, I encourage you to apply at least one of the steps to build your happy relationship.
A happy heart after all let’s you focus better on all the other important aspects that need your attention as an entrepreneur.