How to Avoid the Common Pitfalls of Marriage

What's the secret to a forever kind of love?

If you're in your mid-20's to mid-30's, it's prime wedding time. There are Facebook engagement announcements, wedding invitations and bridesmaids proposals. Hit your 40's, and you're entering divorce territory—which is where we'd all prefer to be a bystander rather than a participant. Casting an even darker shadow over us, climbing divorce rates have roughly doubled for adults ages 50 and older in the past 25 years, according to the Pew Research Center. 

But that wasn't the fate of John and Ann Betar who have been married for more than 80 years! Their secret? "Through actions, understanding, little things... We hang onto one another! Just a few little hugs and we’re fine."  Ummugul and Fikri Tatlici, married for more than 60 years, believe in not holding grudges, "Forget, forgive and remember how you fell in love in the first place.” 

Aside from sage marital wisdom from those who've made it through the gauntlet, how do you become each other's number one, ride or die, 'til death do you part? Here's insight on how to make your relationship or marriage not just survive, but thrive for a lifetime.

Remember that happiness is a mindset, not just a feeling.

Many people go into marriage thinking that their partner is going to make them happy all the time. Now your partner can indeed enhance your life in many ways, but it is naive to think that they can fill all of your empty places. In every relationship, especially marriage, your patience, discipline, and loyalty will be tested. When you are feeling sad, disappointed, and upset you must remember that these are all feelings that shall pass once they are acknowledged and worked through. You will not be happy all of the time, but you wouldn't be a real person if you were. Humans were made with a variety of emotions and the good, the bad, and the ugly will all be present in a healthy, normal marriage. Like the veteran couple I mentioned earlier said, in the hard times, you must remember why you fell in love and continue to think the best of one another. You'll get over the hump and find happiness waiting for you right around the corner. 

happy husband

Trust your gut.

You've probably heard that phrase before. It's important to trust your gut and not always your feelings when it comes to relationships. If you are in a relationship with someone who puts you in awkward or uncomfortable situations, that is a red flag. Many men and women stay with someone out of a desire for what's convenient, not because it's necessarily right for them. That gut reaction is your body trying to protect you from something or someone that isn't safe. Trust is a backbone every relationship needs to thrive so don't settle just because it's convenient. Make sure that the person you marry is someone who you can trust and respect for the long haul.

Know what to expect.

So many couples assume that their potential spouse feels the same way about an important aspect of marriage like family or sex life. It's important to spread your expectations out on the table and discuss what are must-haves and what you're flexible with. 

LADIES LISTEN UP! If you haven't found out already, sex is probably higher on your guy's list of relationship priorities than it is on yours. When it comes to love, actions often speak louder than words for your husband. He needs to know that you still find him attractive and that he can make you feel good. To women, sex is often about feelings, but for most men, it is an unspoken, almost primal need. Don't overlook this. Otherwise, you could be causing him and your relationship unnecessary grief.

Finances, kids, and traditions are other important topics to discuss with a potential partner. Getting clear about your expectations upfront will prevent avoidable disappointment and heartache further down the road. You also might find out that there are some things that you are not able to agree on. These disagreements may justify a breakup, and that's ok. It's better to have a clean break where you don't compromise yourself or your values early on, then to be bitter and resent each other down the road when you have a marriage, kids, and financial responsibilities that are impossible to untangle. 

holding hands

Stay true to yourself.

And let your partner stay true to him or herself. Couples cannot grow together if they don't grow as individuals. When years become decades, the person with whom you once stood at the altar may not be the exact person whom you stand beside today. Keep in touch with your partner's changes and be understanding. Evolving as a couple can also invite opportunities to...

Fall in love again, and again, and again. 

Marriage is a journey, says Marcia Naomi Berger, MSW, LCSW, contributor to PsychCentral. And all along this journey, your partner will annoy you—just drive you crazy. Understanding that marriage is a never-ending growth experience reminds us that keeping our relationship thriving is going takes effort, compassion, and the right perspective. 

Keep finding new ways to reconnect and create memories. Remember to have fun, slow down and devote time to each other, whether you're cooking dinner together or taking a weekend getaway. 

Cards Against Humanity

Playing games like Cards Against Humanity can be a fun way to destress and laugh with each other. 

You may find your relationship is stuck in a routine that is not fostering the closeness you long for. Falling into these patterns is when it gets really important for husbands to remember that even though they've won the prize of their wife, they still need to be winning her over daily. Dating doesn't stop after the ceremony. Writing her notes, bringing home flowers, snuggling without guilting her for sex are all ways to keep her engaged and feeling cared for. Take this test to discover your love language and have your partner complete it as well so you can find out how your partner best feels loved by you. As well, you'll discover how you feel loved and how to communicate that to your partner in a non-threatening way.

Embrace healthy conflict.

It's natural to argue, even good. Research has found that if a couple is three years into their relationship without having ever fought, they're unhealthy and not communicating. They may be withdrawn from the relationship entirely. Approach disagreements not as a relationship setback, but as practice to strengthen your partnership as a team. Time contributor Eric Barker calls attention to Johah Lehrer, author of "A Book About Love," who believes in "glorifying the struggle," which can help couples grow stronger and have the right attitude over conflict.

When it comes down to it, the most lasting relationships and marriages are built on a solid friendship. Throughout a lifetime, romance fades in and out. Life changes and you may wonder what happened to that spark. But if you can continue to value and cherish one another as best friends, then you can continue to enjoy living life together and even discover a new flame between you both. At Lash Affair we believe in love and specifically the love of lash! If you are in need of something new to fall in love with, buy lash extensions from a certified lash artist near you. Check out Lash Affair's Lash Artist Directory

Abby Terlecki
Marketing & Media Copywriter | Olympian Weightlifter | Outdoor Explorer

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