There’s something about being with someone that makes us feel complete. This is why most of us spend our lives searching for “the one”. However, once you’ve found the one how do you make sure the marriage lasts so that you don’t end up another statistic?
Every relationship is different and there’s not a one size fits all approach for having a successful marriage, after all, relationships are hard work. However, most people aren’t willing to put in the work which is why the divorce rate is so high. According to the Center for Disease Control, 50% of marriages end in divorce. Relationship expert Dr. Phil Mcgraw says that “The quality of a relationship is a function of the extent to which it is built on a solid underlying friendship and meets the needs of the two people involved.”
In order to ensure that the needs of both parties are met there are several key elements that must exist. Commitment, honesty, trust, and communication are needed in order to have a successful marriage. Creating relationships isn’t the hard part. The hard part is sustaining them. Sustainability isn’t about a quick fix or a cheap solution. Generally, it means making a commitment & trying, as best we can, to honor it.
Commitment is essential in that each individual has to put forth the same amount of effort and time into nurturing the relationship. It also means not giving up once you hit a bump in the road. Overcoming the hurdles and adversities in a relationship helps to solidify the foundation that is being built. In any worthwhile situation we will face challenges but giving up when troubles arise is not the answer. Most of life’s troubles can be overcome if we are willing to work through them. However, not many of us are willing to do this.
Honesty is also an important factor of any successful marriage and is sometimes overlooked. Honesty isn’t only about establishing trust, because although it is important to always be truthful with your significant other honesty is also about being honest in whom you are as a person. Don’t try and hide facets of your personality because you are unsure how your spouse will react to them. Be who you are at all times so that the person you are with loves you for who you are and not for some contrived persona you have created. You have to accept each other as is.
Lastly, maintaining open lines of communication is key because not only does it bring you closer to your spouse but it also eliminates playing the guessing game. When you are clear and concise about what your needs are your spouse is better equipped to fulfill them. Marriage after all is a partnership and as with any business agreement one misunderstanding can blow the entire deal.
Balancing these elements isn’t always easy but they are necessary in order to make your marriage, relationship, and friendship work. When it comes to relationships you never get a day off so if you want yours to work you have to wake up every day ready to go to work.
Mcgraw, Phil. A Good Marriage. October 2010. Retrieved from http://www.drphil.com/articles/print/?ArticleID=53