Marital Longevity Does Not Equal Marital Bliss

We all secretly worship famous couples like Maria Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger because they seem to be that perfect couple…the one that has been married forever … both are smart, funny, extremely successful, and seem to be so in love.  We secretly wish our husband was like him or our wife was like her.  They seem so happy…they have the perfect house, the perfect kids, and even the perfect dog.  Then one day, after 25 years of marriage, they announce they are separating and we are so shocked and disappointed…even depressed because we believe that if a couple is married for a long time that they are living in marital bliss!  We all want to know, “What happened?”  Most likely Maria and Arnold know exactly what happened or didn’t happen.

Maybe the question we should ask when a longtime marriage ends is not “What happened?”, but “What didn’t happen?”  The truth is that Marital Longevity does not equal Marital Bliss!

All couples will enjoy successes and face difficulties throughout their marriage.  The key is not staying married, but building and maintaining a relationship that results in marital bliss.   Couples who divorce after many years of marriage were most likely not doing 1 or more of 5 things.

5 Musts to Maintain Marital Bliss:

1. Commit to the Relationship – not the marriage: When you get married, you are not committing to being married…You are committing to the marital relationship with the person you chose to love.  This means every decision we make, we consider how it affects our partner.  It means taking time to get to know our partner better every day and committing to making their life better because we are a couple.  It is expecting change and committing ourselves to growing together over a lifetime.

2.  Talk and Listen Every Day: Daily communication involves talking and listening, daily compliments, kind words, setting boundaries, and using our manners.  Couples must practice these communication skills every single day in order to build intimacy for a lifetime.   When we stop communicating, we know we have stopped nurturing the relationship.

3.  ”Don’t Go to Bed Angry” – Resolve Conflict Every Day: A man who said he was still madly in love with his wife of 66 years was asked, “What advice would you give a young couple starting out in marriage?”  He replied, “Don’t ever go to bed angry.”  Unresolved conflict will ruin any relationship, but it especially hurts a marriage.  Couples should determine to resolve issues as they come up and not avoid conflict, no matter how difficult the issue may be.  Peace and growth always come from resolving issues, no matter how painful they may be.

4.  Spend Time Together: Absence makes the heart grow fonder is a lie and it destroys relationships.  Most couples who divorce after long marriages always say they spent large amounts of time apart.   You must be physically together on a regular basis in order to truly get to know each other, communicate effectively, resolve conflict, build intimacy and nurture the relationship.

5.  Laugh and Love Together: A couple who can laugh at and with each other can usually overcome anything life brings their way together.  People we laugh with are usually people we like to be around and it is an important part of building and maintaining a close relationship with your partner.  Couples who can laugh together are usually the ones who can express their love easier.  Expressing love to your partner verbally, physically, emotionally, and consistently is the most important way to build and maintain marital bliss.

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Article Written by Crystal Hollenbeck