It takes skill to build a great and lasting marriage

By: CHRIS HART

Most couples marry thinking love will fix everything. Well it surely won’t. You also need a whole load of skills. Learn them as fast as you can!

Like love doesn’t build houses or save up for the future. So your marriage needs the same sort of practical skills as running a business.

The idea that you need your spouse to complete you is romantic, but it’s not true. You were complete before you met, and you still need to be independent and responsible for your own issues.

The idea that the chores should be split equally will probably drive you both crazy. Let it go. Even if you both work the same hours, one of you will end up managing the house. If only because you’re better at it.

Recognise that your spouse’s behaviour reflects who you are. So anytime they upset you, ask yourself just why you’re disturbed — and how those feelings can help you improve yourself.

Touching’s far more important that people realise. So hold hands, hug, and kiss whenever you can. And anytime your partner grabs your butt, encourage them!

MY ADVICE

Learn to cope with each other’s differences. Like men need time for themselves, while women need to talk. Listening shows your wife that you value her, even if you don’t agree with what she’s saying.

Men also need their wives’ respect. So if giving that’s hard, figure out why and fix it. And if you can’t, see a counsellor. Or you won’t be married long

You both need to stop needing to be right, blaming, belittling and criticising. Or trying to change each other. Instead, accept each other the way you are, with kindness, patience and self-control. Keep giving each other a hard time, and there’ll be endless trouble.

Say “I love you” lots. And do nice things for each other without being asked. Make a firm decision to make your relationship your top priority. Couples lose each other in their busy lives: work, children, whatever.

So set aside 30 minutes every day to talk together. The last half hour before bedtime’s best. Catch up, share ideas, and create a vision of your future together. And talk about sex! See a counsellor if you can’t, because being unable to discuss your sex life is the start of many a divorce.

Trust your partner. Be honest, and always say what you feel, so neither of you has to guess what the other’s thinking. You can’t? That suggests there’s an underlying problem in your relationship that needs fixing.

No one’s perfect, so make forgiveness a habit. And drop grudges quickly. Nothing wrecks your marriage faster than resentment or bitterness. So let hurt feelings go and make up fast. And if you need to discuss something serious, sleep on it first.

Because conflicts are best handled when you’re calm and rested. Never argue on an empty stomach either. So if your partner’s picking a fight with you, ask them if they’re hungry!

SOURCE: DAILY NATION