Every time we see old couples, who hold each other’s wrinkled hands, kiss each other’s cheeks, and remain madly in love through the years, we cannot help but ask: what is your secret to achieving a happy and long-lasting marriage? How have you kept your love for each other alive?
I read a very heart-warming article in Good Housekeeping about an old couple John and Vera Patterson who recently celebrated their 77 years of marriage. In the interview, John said, “we never had a bad fight.” “And if we did, we forget,” the wife, Vera, added. The story of the happy couple from Freeport Illinois proves that true love can exist in a restless world like this is.
It appears that the “secret” to achieving a happy and long-lasting marriage is no secret anymore – letting go in order to save your marriage. What are the things you have to let go? Those negative things that spoil your marriage and keep you from sustaining happiness, passion, intimacy, companionship, trust, and of course, love.
Relationships don’t work until you do. If your relationship with your spouse is currently on the rocks, maybe it’s time to let go of the things that often start a toxic fight in order to strengthen your bond as a couple. Here are seven things that aren’t worth holding on to and you have to let them go.
According to Rachel DeAlto, a relationship expert, coach, motivational speaker hypnotherapist, and media personality, one of the most common marital issues is not having the same manner of sanitizing the house. Married couples argue on simple household duties, like who will clean the dishes, who will take out the trash or how “untidy” is untidy.
Don’t sweat the small stuff. Though the arguments seem shallow, they are still frustrating and they can ruin the mood when they occur on a regular basis.
We all have our personal issues that we find ugly. Most of us have had terrible experiences, like painful breakups, family dramas, and other traumatic events we can never forget. The problem exists when these emotional pieces of baggage still haunt you in the present that they constantly become the root causes of your arguments
You need to let go of your past, period. Thinking of these “what if” and “what could’ve been” scenarios won’t help you move forward. Make peace with your past and leave your emotional baggage behind. In this way, you can build a happy, loving, and healthy relationship.
Before you decided to tie a knot, you have an ideal picture of what your marriage would look and feel like and how your partner should and should not behave. However, your marriage and your partner, aren’t things you can control. The dilemma exists when you’re still hoping for your unrealistic expectations to happen after years of living under one roof.
The key is acceptance. Accept that if you want happiness, respect, and companionship to flow in your marriage, you have to give up your unmet expectations and appreciate “what is.” Instead of wasting your time and energy seeking perfection, use them to cherish and nurture the beautiful relationship you have right in front of you.
“What is your secret to a successful message,” I asked my grandmother. She replied, “Simple – we didn’t force each other to do the things we didn’t want to do.” Couples are often caught up to the idea of “possessing” each other that they forget that beneath the marriage certificate they hold are two individuals with different characteristics.
Wedding rings are signs of love, not handcuffs to show control and ownership. So allow your partner to breathe and give him or her space and freedom to enjoy with friends or stay a little later than 7 pm after his or her boss calls for a company dinner. You don’t have to be together all the time. The more you try to control your spouse, the more you push him further.
So your sister makes it very clear before you got married that she doesn’t like your husband. Your husband feels likewise. You know what? It doesn’t matter.
It’s normal to feel bad when the two people you cherish the most don’t get along. Though, it’s not your duty to always fix their disputes. What you should focus on, however, is maintaining a good relationship with each one of them for the benefit of your marriage.
Have you ever heard comments like, “You’ve changed” or “You’re not the same person I married” or “If you change your attitude, our relationship may work”? Albert Einstein once said, “Men marry women with the hope they will never change. Women marry men with the hope they will change. Invariably, they are both disappointed.”
The point is as long as it has nothing to do with your relationship, it is never your responsibility to fix your partner’s flaws. It’s like giving your spouse a hard slap on his or her individuality. If they are committed to changing, let them be but don’t expect it from them. Instead of always pointing out what’s wrong with your partner, pay attention to what’s wrong with your relationship. Work on improving your marriage and supporting one another’s endeavors.
Ego – this selfish voice needs to shut up sometimes. Both refuse to raise the white flag and admit that you’re on the wrong side. You kept on blaming, humiliating, and cursing each other just to prove your point.
Remember the good ‘ol days when you were still dating? Recall all those kind, sweet, and sincere words and actions you said and took to make your partner feel loved and appreciated. You let go of the small mistakes and you focused on making each other feel happy.
Why don’t you bring that back? At the end of the day, there’s no point in winning your case if you lose the fight in keeping your marriage alive and happy.
Carmina Natividad is one of the writers for The Relationship Room , a couples psychology institution specializing in relationship counseling and therapies for couples and families. When she’s not using her pen in writing self-help articles focused on love, dating, and relationships, she spends her time creating poems and screenplays, painting, and making music.