If you’re looking for relationship advice, why not go to the source – couples who are living the dream of a happy, successful marriage? Here’s a few gems of wisdom they have to offer:
Choose to See the Good in Your Partner
“Every day we have a hundred little tiny opportunities to lift each other up, or bring each other down. When you consistently choose to uplift one another, you end up weaving a rich, strong tapestry of love to support you over a lifetime. Greg (my husband) is a master of this, choosing to see and appreciate talent and goodness where there is only a hint of it. But by praising my efforts, he helps me feel better about myself, which of course, makes me shine brighter, and that glow spills over into our love.”
– Jennifer Oikle, Ph.D. Relationship Psychologist and Newlywed
Honesty Comes Before Compromise
“You need to be honest with yourself—and with your spouse. Even the smallest lie will get you in trouble. You need to remember that you want to spend the rest of your life with this person. You chose them to continue your life’s mission, to share your deepest and most meaningful ambitions, fears, and questions. If you cannot comfortably share what you truly believe, you compromise and settle for something less, and are in fact scared to discuss this with them, then you will be doing your significant other a grave disservice. This is what I have found to be true. Follow this and your lives will only move forward.”
– Blake, from Laguna Niguel, CA.
Communicate, Laugh, and Preserve Peace
“Most important is communication. Too many people wall up and don’t discuss things, particularly in this age of electronics, with families text messaging and e-mailing each other from the next room. Laugh a lot, and out loud. Don’t sweat the small things. So he leaves his dirty socks on the floor every night, and no matter how many times you tell him the hamper is in the bathroom, not on the bedroom floor, is it really worth getting upset over? Pick your battles, and forgive and forget. It’s going to happen – a weak human character flaw will appear, and may result, or feel like, an earth shattering event. Whether you choose to go on as a couple or not, work to forgive, forget, and let it go, if for no other reason than to preserve your own peace.”
– Teri Hurley, Austin Texas, travel agent
Live Separate, Yet Together
“My husband and I have been married for 16 years, and together for 21. Find things you enjoy doing together, but also find those things you like to do yourself, as well. You need your alone time! And when your significant other wants to go to his or her own thing, whether it is getting together with the girls or going golfing, you need to be able to entertain yourself so that there is no resentment. I find that many of our friends who don’t have their own hobbies, lose their identity, and can’t figure out what to do on their own. They resent their spouse when he or she does something on their own. Years ago I couldn’t imagine doing trips without my husband (or he going off without me), but after a couple of days apart, things are much better. We talk every day, but we have our independence too.”
– Shelley Rael, Albuquerque, NM
“Begin each day giving thanks for what you have and for what you will receive. End each day being thankful for the blessing of that day. Never say things to each other that are insulting, degrading, disrespectful, etc. When we got married we vowed to never say things to each other in anger that we would regret. Now, 35 years later we are still happily married and can honestly say that we have kept that vow. Find a shared vision of life, faith and work. We both love art and design, and spend our time working toward mutual goals. Find a great place to live. Remove losers and negative influences from your life. Yes, that might include some family members. Life is too short to waste energy trying to counter the negative vibes of losers and bad situations.”
– Pablo & Beverly Solomon, Texas, Artists
What’s your advice for maintaining a happy marriage?