This week, Gal and I celebrate 34 years together, including many years of good marriage. To treat ourselves, we decided to go on a trip to Thailand. The photo above is of us at the top of one of the most beautiful places in the world – Ang Thong National Park near Koh Samui. This trip was one of the first times in the last 25 years that we took 2 weeks off. It was the first time since we became parents that we took time away from work and kids, and went away on a vacation. It was wonderful!
The question that we often get, after 34 years together, is “How did you do it?”
The answer I have in mind is, “One day at a time”.
Each of our 34 years had 365 days of love, challenges, excitements, disappointments, happiness, anger, joy and frustration. There were both ups and downs. I guess we need the sun and the rain in order to appreciate the rainbow. Our love for each other has changed for the better.
One of my clients, who has been married for 2 years, talked recently about married life being boring. She asked me if being married to the same guy for that long is not boring. I told her that I can say many things about my relationship with Gal, but it is far, far from being boring. So she asked me about my tips and I came up with my own ten commandments of good marriage.
Here they are.
Top 10 Good Marriage Tips
- Say “I love you” every day. It is never boring or never too late. It needs no reason, it is not a reward and not something that your partner needs to earn. There are many ways to do it. You can get some ideas from the post Ways to Say “I Love You”. Good marriage is based on love.
- Do not try to change your partner. If you want to change him/her, you don’t love who they are but the imaginary idea of what they will be after you change them.
- When you get married, you never become one. The sum of both of you when you love each other is more than two but you are not one. If you expect to be one, you will end up losing sight of who you are. If there is no you, there is no relationship.
- Your partner is not a substitute for your parents. He/she is not supposed to give you everything your parents did or compensate for what your parents couldn’t give you. Good marriage is a different kind of love, so do not confuse between them.
- Your partner is not your therapist. There are problems that your partner may not be able to help you with. Seek help somewhere else. If you have a problem with your partner, they definitely are not the right person to seek therapy with. They would need to have split personality to be able to be themselves and stay neutral towards your problems with them.
- Many partners have different personalities. That is what attracted them to each other in the first place. When in crisis, this is what drives them nuts. It can be a source of many conflicts. To have a good marriage, focus on the good side of your partner’s personality. Because in life, you get what you focus on. When in crisis, focus on removing the stress rather than discussing the differences between you.
- Go out on a weekly date. Gal and I made sure to have a date night every week for the past 25 years (ever since our daughter Eden was born). Every couple needs time off from work, kids, family and friends to focus on each other. It helps you fall in love with each other every week. Neglected partners seek attention elsewhere.
- Never go to sleep angry. It is important in relationship to learn how to manage conflicts. Whatever happens, hug and kiss each other before you go to sleep and learn to agree to disagree. Change your vocabulary from “You are”, “You didn’t”, “You can’t” to “I feel”, “I think”, “I wanted to”. If you are too overwhelmed with anger, take time off and agree on another time to continue the conversation.
- Make sure you hug and kiss each other every day and at every opportunity. Hold hands even if you have been together for 50 years. Kiss each other every time you say goodbye and every time you meet each other, whether it has been a night or just a few minutes since you last saw each other.
- When things go wrong and you feel like you are drifting apart, time is not a healer if you do nothing with it. Seek good marriage help! If it seems expensive, trust me, leaving it will only be more expensive. There are experts who can help you fall in love with your partner again, no matter how impossible it may seem right now. You just have to have the courage to ask for help.
These are my commandments for good marriage. Please share yours in the comment box below.
Have a good marriage!