Well, you have gone and done it! You’ve stood across from the love of your life and made your vows in front of your family, friends, and God. You’ve entered into the contract of marriage, but while it may be a solemn contract, that certainly doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be fun. It’s strange how many newlyweds expect life to undergo some kind of seismic shift upon tying the knot, assuming that their lives will not become a pattern of domestic drudgery with pleasure, intimacy and fun going out the window and that elusive spark between you fading away until you either can’t stand the sight of each other or are happy to tick over despite the grinding mutual resentment. Happily, the truth is that marriage is neither a ball and chain nor a grueling assault course. But like anything worth having, a marriage needs to be maintained.
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Why do so many marriages fail?
There are many reasons why people get divorced and it would be disingenuous to suggest that the times we live in didn’t play a part. Some argue that divorce is so profligate because it is so easy, but if you’ve been through a divorce you’ll know that it is anything but easy. The truth is that married couples are working harder, taking less quality time together and have greater career and monetary worries than our forebears. Furthermore, one could argue we live in a fast food culture of instant gratification that is at odds with taking the time and effort to give a marriage the effort and attention it needs. But this is by no means proof that the concept of marriage is fundamentally flawed.
So, in an age where 40-50% of marriages end in divorce, how do you avoid becoming one of them? The good news is that you’ve demonstrated your love for each other by making this commitment. It’s now a case of maintaining what’s already good.
Learn the value of just being there
A lot of people, especially men feel the need to come up with an instant solution whenever they see their spouse hurt, worried or upset. While noble in intent, this can lead to frustration and even resentment. Appreciate the value of just being there for your loved one. When they know what they need from you, they’ll tell you.
Don’t sweat the small stuff
In the words of John Lennon, “love is all you need”, but it’s all too easy to get lost in the minutia like work, money and the rigors of day to day life. Don’t let this impact on your love for each other and be each other’s sanctuary from the world’s troubles. No trouble is insurmountable and whether it’s finding loans with poor credit or planning a bulletproof family budget there’s usually a workable solution. Don’t let the small stuff become a reason for marital trouble.
Be prepared to change
You should never let someone stop you from being you, but you should also strive to be the best version of yourself for them, and that requires change. Change is good. Change makes you a better person, not just for your spouse but for everybody including you. Take the time to be a better listener, be more patient, take more time for your family and work through your personal shortcomings.