Sadly, disastrous divorces make the headlines all too frequently. Their stories reflect unconscious, unstable behavior, especially when it comes to making mistakes in the relationship.
Far too often, we find shallow singles with star-lit eyes who spend more time working out their wedding details than determining whether this was a good match for them from the start. Too many couples think no further than the honeymoon plans when contemplating marriage. They have no idea about the complexity behind real relationship issues and the maturity it takes to create a successful long-term outcome.
Most people learn through hindsight about the challenges two people face when living together week after week, month after month in today’s stress-filled world. It takes awareness, flexibility, great communication skills and the ability to understand your partner’s perspective to make a relationship work – and that’s just for routine life experiences. Throw in accidents, sickness, job loss and other major stressors, not to mention the complexities that come with having children, and it’s easy to understand why so many relationships fail and so many marriages end in divorce.
If you’re single and looking to find a healthier, happier relationship ahead, or marrying for the first time and want to avoid relationship disasters, here are some tips that are worth serious consideration:
Know your partner well.
During the good times and the bad. It’s after you face disagreements, nursing your partner through an illness and other life challenges that you find out who you are really contemplating spending the rest of your life with. If what you discover makes you uncomfortable, have some serious conversations – or move on before making any further commitments.
Don’t expect to be “completed,” “saved,” or “fixed.”
No one can fill the void in your inner self. You’re setting your partner up for failure if you expect them to fix your problems and love you through your unresolved issues. Do the inner work on yourself first, perhaps with the support of a therapist or coach. Heal your work to heal your wounds and neediness first. Then seek out another soul who has done the same to partner with you.
Be hooked on more than just romance.
Happily married couples will tell you that you have to be more than great bed-mates to make a real relationship work. Look for common values, goals, beliefs, and interests. Opposites may attract in the short-term, but you want a relationship based on respect and sharing a future together. If your core values and interests are not in alignment, you’re facing a tougher road ahead.
Don’t seek a partner with “potential” and try to change them.
We can’t change another person unless they want to change themselves. People show us who they are. Too often we resist the message. If you’re not pleased with how your partner treats you, their personality, integrity or other behavioral traits, don’t get involved. Expecting your lover to change for you is the path to pain and disappointment every time!
Be your authentic self.
And don’t change for a partner’s approval. You can’t fake your way through a relationship or a marriage. If you hate sports, the internet or pets, state it up front and find a mate who loves you knowing this reality. It’s unfair to hide your true self from your partner and it’s a disservice to yourself pretending to be who you are not. Honor who you are. Then look for a partner with high self-esteem who loves themselves as they are. That’s a formula for lasting relationship success!
As too many singles discover, money won’t buy you a happy marriage. You can’t use sex as a substitute for good sense. Relationships don’t automatically have storybook endings. They require constant attention, the ability to sacrifice and compromise at times, and a heavy dose of respect for the person you brought into your life.
Before setting out once again in the relationship world, work on your inner demons, let go of the baggage from previous relationships, and take your time in getting to know the special partner you are choosing. There’s no magic wand that will make your relationship succeed, but these guidelines will set you on a course that will circumvent a lot of potholes along the road to happily ever after.