Some might say a long celebrity marriage is one that endures the duration of the newly betrothed’s trip down the aisle. We’ve seen Britney Spears dissolve a marriage after 55 hours and Kim Kardashian call it quits after 72 days. It seems even money can’t buy matrimonial happiness.
But some couples have been together for 50, 60 years and say they’re still as much in love as they were the day they spoke their “I dos.” What do they know that others do not?
According to clinical psychologist and relationship guru Dr. Phil McGraw, “We all need to be flexible and to compromise in marriage, but you’ve got to be true to your core traits and characteristics, what I call your authentic self.” Some couples enter a relationship projecting a persona they believe the other person wants — one that really isn’t what they’re all about. This could be a woman trying to fill the role of her husband’s nurturing mom or a guy playing the protector to his wife. In reality, marriage is more of a partnership, and truth and trust are often at the basis of good marriages.
There are many other “secrets” that marriage experts will offer to couples seeking the magic formula. Whether you’re pondering marriage or have already tied the knot, consider the following advice to make a marriage endure for the long haul.
* There’s no such thing as the perfect marriage. Some couples create an image of what they think marriage is supposed to be, and that image that often goes “poof” once reality sets in. Even soulmates are bound to frustrate or irritate one another from time to time.
* Couples should express their frustrations. Bottling up frustrations can eat at a person and eventually destroy a marriage. Talking about the things that are bothering you with your partner opens up a discussion and can help you work through things.
* Divorce should not be seen as a viable option. Couples who want to bail on the marriage at every turn could be directing their energy toward divorce as the only solution instead of discovering ways to remove the cause of strife. Divorce can sometimes be the easy way out when you think about the work that goes into keeping a marriage working. Experts say that there are a few issues, like adultery, abuse and drug/alcohol addiction, that may be reasonable catalysts for divorce if personal safety and sanity is being compromised.
* Make time for romance. It’s easily said but not so easily done. Too often married couples forget what it was like to date when all of their attention was spent on each other instead of the house, kids, work, etc. Today there seems to be even more distractions, from e-mails to texts to pressure and obligations at the office. Happy couples find the time to spend quality time with their spouses — even if that’s only 10 minutes of alone time a day.
* Put “we” first. Many people operate on a “me” mentality. When you’re part of a couple, give more to your spouse than you take. If he or she is doing the same, you’re working collectively for the benefit of the marriage instead of yourselves.
* Respect each other. Often couples having troubles realize they treat strangers better than they treat each other. Would use the insults or unflattering terms that you sometimes throw at your spouse with a complete stranger? Probably not. Good marriages are based on a foundation of respect and love. It’s easy to lose feelings of love if the respect is gone.
Couples can realize that there are some thorns that come with the roses of marriage, and staying happy together does take work for it to all be worth it.