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Last week we defined a successful marriage as one where – “you feel nurtured, have reasons to smile most days, and going home to your partner is the best part of your day, no matter how fascinating your life is.”
This week we round off our Checklist for a Successful Marriage with 3 questions, 2 statements and no partridges in pear trees anywhere in sight.
Here goes –
1. Do you make requests or complaints? Requests are cool. Requests are answerable. Can I have multi grain bread with breakfast next week please? Well, yes you can – it’s now on the grocery list. Done. Complaints are like service fees when you buy concert tickets – ultimate levels of uncool. There is no way to solve them. “I hate orange juice without pulp.” While good to know, there is nowhere to go from here. There is nothing the love of your life can do to help you with this issue unless you transform your complaint into a request – “Can we buy OJ with extra pulp next time?” Yes we can. I will get some without pulp for me and some with for you. Deal? See? Requests – get results. Complaints not so much.
2. Do you know your spouse’s love language? I could not possibly overstate the benefits of learning how your spouse likes to receive love. Imagine you speaking French and me speaking Spanish – no matter how beautiful your French accent was and how incredibly witty I could sound in Spanish (which of course, I would) we would be unable to communicate until we both switched to English and actually understood each other. If you do *one thing* this week for your marriage – learn your spouse’s love language. Does he like compliments (aka Words of Affirmation)? Does she melt when you wash the dishes? (aka Acts of Service). Knowing this simple way to understand how your partner likes to receive love can do more for your marriage faster than any other tool I am currently aware of. All tools are good. All tools are helpful – this is one of the best. And no Gary Chapman doesn’t have me on a commission plan – I just think this is so simple and so overlooked I want people to know: you can be happy in your marriage; here is one way to get there. You can buy the book from Amazon here or take the quiz here.
3. What is your Personal Declaration of Success? Do you know what success would look like once you get there? You know you are in Hollywood when you see the sign. I know I am in South Beach when I hear the ocean and see the supermodels. Having a clearly defined picture of what success is will do a whole lot to help you get there. Among other things, you will be able to more clearly recognize what success is not. Example – I like spending time alone with my hubby. We go out with family and friends to feed our needs for connection and community and we spend time home or travelling with each other to feed our need for personal connection. When we don’t spend time alone together I start getting cranky. Something is missing. When I know what that something is, then I schedule time alone together. If I had no idea what I needed, no matter how many romantic gestures the hubby made, I still wouldn’t feel satisfied. Make sense?
4. Start with Thank You. Possibly a tie with learning the love languages as for huge return on emotional investment by doing something very simple. Stop right now and think about the last time you thanked your spouse for something. Was it yesterday? A week ago? Longer? Your spouse does a thousand little things to keep your life running every day. Whether its picking up milk, turning off lights, coaching a softball team or paying a bill, taking a moment to thank them for something they do no matter how small will immediately 1. Put a smile on their face (and don’t we love it when they smile?) 2. Shift the energy of your entire day. Don’t believe me. Try it. This week thank your honey for something every single day. See what happens…
5. Finally – Remember the Love. You married him for a reason. Remember that. Bring those reasons into your daily conversation as often as possible. Express love in all the ways you can – use multiple love languages. Connect physically, kiss, laugh, share stories – “I love it when we…” and share dreams “I’d love it if we…”
There you have it, the real truth behind successful marriages is that they are a daily activity, and there is no autopilot. You can’t microwave love. But you can text it, tweet it and hug it. 😉
As you can see by all the elements of action that lead to success, reading about this stuff is AWESOME (of course!) but DOING SOMETHING is even better! Each week we have a suggestion for LoveWork – something you can take home and implement ASAP.
This week’s LoveWork is to take the question “What did you LOVE about being married today?” and share your answer with your spouse. For extra credit, you can ask them what they loved about being married today too.
We love comments – what came up for you as you were reading this today? These are clues to lead you to your greatest happiness and we love it when you share!
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The Declaration of You, published by North Light Craft Books and available now, gives readers all the permission they’ve craved to step passionately into their lives, discover how they and their gifts are unique and uncover what they are meant to do! Get all the details on this inspiring and visually beautiful book here.