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Six keys to a great marriage

“All you need is love” is one of the greatest songs ever written by the Beatles, but is scientifically invalid according to recent research published in the April 2013 Monitor on Psychology.

About 40-50% of marriages end in divorce, but here’s how to beat those statistics according to the experts who have studied successful marriages.

  1. Work hard.  People who stay married for a long time make a conscious effort at working at their relationships. They place their commitment to each other as a higher priority than work, hobbies, and even their children. They know that the best way to be a great parent is to be in a loving and long-lasting relationship.
  2. Talk about things that matter. It’s so easy to waste time talking about routine matters of work, family, or chores. Happy couples talk about their dreams, fears, hopes, and fantasies. They share very private and personal feelings, and thus stay emotionally engaged with their partner. With a psychological security based on trust and communication, these couples can truly be themselves and experience that amazing feeling of being safe and accepted in another’s presence.
  3. Be nice.  We all want to feel special, particularly from our life-long partner. The experts have found that little things mean a lot in a relationship.  Simple things such a genuine compliment, a thoughtful surprise, and special attention during tough times really matter. They reflect a caring and concern that mean a lot more than flowers once a year.
  4. Celebrate life.  A colleague of mine left work early to take her husband out for dinner to celebrate his recent positive evaluation at work. I voiced some surprise at making such a big deal over such a routine event.  My friend gently advised me that their family constantly searches out opportunities to notice and enjoy events that others may view as routine.Successful partners enjoy each other, and actively look for ways to have fun. They are attentive to the small accomplishments of their partners.
  5.  Argue gently. Conflict is inevitable in any relationship. Arguments about making, saving, and spending money are the number one sources of tension between partners.  Good couples don’t ignore such problems, but deal with them in a respectful way with lots of compromise and communication. They avoid bringing up past hurts but focus on coming up with acceptable solutions for both partners.
  6. Fight boredom. So much of how we live our lives is due to routine and habit. After a while, it is natural to get bored by your partner and seek excitement elsewhere.Committed couples avoid that malaise by taking risks and trying new activities. This adds a vitality and excitement to your relationship, and makes it more enjoyable to be around your partner.

The message from the marriage experts is clear—work hard, be nice, celebrate life, take chances and don’t listen to the Beatles!


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