Tag Archives: secret to happy marriage

Resurrect Romance in Your Relationship

 “Keeping the Sparks Alive” Series

Romance is a state of mind. If you have the right mindset, you can make cleaning the bathroom romantic; if you have the wrong mindset, you can turn a moonlit stroll on the beach into a fight.”

I couldn’t agree with Gregory Godek more than this intro to 1001 Ways to Be Romantic. When we consider how to keep the romantic fires of marriage burning, we may be looking for a quick fix or a list of three things to do. And with the right attitude, those three things might make a big difference, but the key is the heart we put into our actions. I’ve shared hundreds of tips on this blog, but the tips themselves aren’t the secret, it’s what you put into the tips that can elevate your love to new heights.

If a man brings home flowers once a month because his wife convinced him that this is an obligation of marriage, the romance may not be present. If a husband brings home wildflowers cut from a field or a book from his wife’s favorite author because he was thinking about her and wanted to do something special, then she will feel the romance.

Even so, Godek says some obligatory romantic gestures should always be followed by spouses—celebrating his or her birthday, getting a gift for Christmas (if you celebrate that holiday), and remembering and celebrating your anniversary and Valentine’s Day. He says these are important must-dos and should be overlooked. Just because they are obligatory doesn’t mean we can’t do them with love!

The fun “optional” romance includes everything else you might do—big or little surprises, candlelit dinners, sharing a bottle of wine on the deck and making a toast to your future, planning a getaway together, sending a card, giving a massage, writing a love note (sticky note or long love letter), buying flowers just because, drawing a bubble bath for two, lighting candles and cooking a special meal, greeting each other at the door each day as if you’ve been apart for months, or any other sweet gesture you can think of.

Romance is a balance of two concepts, says Godek: 1) Actions speak louder than words. 2) It’s the thought that counts. These are two sides of the same coin.

Romance is worth the effort because it will improve your relationship. It will make you feel more loved and secure, and it will make your spouse feel more loved and secure.

Read Celebrate each day in your own way for more on living with an attitude of celebration and romance.

We are one-fourth of the way through the year. How are you doing with planning romance and celebration into your life and marriage?

Photo courtesy of PhotoXpress.com

Advertisements

We All Married the Wrong Person

Couples in crisis often reach the point where they decide they are just two poorly matched people. This precedes the decision to leave the relationship and go in search of that “right person.” Unfortunately, the odds of a successful marriage go down for each attempt at a new marriage. Psychiatrist and author of The Secrets of Happily Married Men and The Secrets of Happily Married Women and The Secrets of Happy Families, Scott Haltzman, MD, says in truth, they are correct; we all married the wrong person. I found his comments from TV interviews so intriguing that I requested an interview with him to delve into the topic.

Dr. Haltzman says even if we think we know a person well when we marry them, we are temporarily blinded by our love, which tends to minimize or ignore attributes that would make the relationship complicated or downright difficult. In addition, both individuals bring different expectations to the marriage, and we change individually and as a couple over time. No one gets a guarantee of marrying the right person, says Dr. Haltzman, so you should assume you married the wrong person. That doesn’t mean your marriage can’t be successful, however.

“Most of us spend a lot of time filtering through possible mates in hopes that we will end up with the right match. Some people believe it’s an issue of finding a soul mate … the one true partner. Whether or not you enter into marriage believing your partner is THE one, you certainly believe he or she is A right person for you,” says Dr. Haltzman.

He explains that if the success of a marriage were based on making the right choice, then those who carefully chose a good match would continue to sustain positive feelings the majority of the time, and over a long period. The theory would be proven correct that choosing well leads to success.  “But the divorce rate in and of itself stands as a great testament to the fallacy of that theory,” says Dr. Haltzman. Even the couples who remain married don’t describe themselves as completely happy with each other, he adds, but rather committed to one another.

“If we believe we must find the right person to marry, then the course of our marriage becomes a constant test to see if we were correct in that choice,” says Dr. Haltzman, adding that today’s culture does not support standing by our promises. Instead, he says we receive the repeated message, “You deserve the best.” These attitudes contribute to marital dissatisfaction, he says.

Dr.  Haltzman shared some research with me about the negative effects in our consumer society of having too many choices—which may lead to increased expectations and lower satisfaction. A book called The Choice Paradox by Barry Schwartz shares research that flies in the face of conventional wisdom. (I will have another post about this topic soon, because there is much insight to glean.) I’ll cut to the chase and reveal that people are happier with the choices they make when there are relatively few choices from which to choose. With too many choices, we can become overburdened and regretful and constantly question our decision. Today, individuals may feel they have many choices of mates, and fear lost opportunities with potential “right” partners. This may happen even after a person is married, as he or she questions the decision to marry with each bump in the road.

“My basic philosophy is we have to start with the premise when we choose our partner that we aren’t choosing with all the knowledge and information about them,” says Dr. Haltzman. “However, outside of the extreme scenarios of domestic violence, chronic substance abuse, or the inability to remain sexually faithful—which are good arguments for marrying the wrong person on a huge scale, and where it is unhealthy or unsafe to remain married—we need to say, ‘This is the person I chose, and I need to find a way to develop a sense of closeness with this person for who he or she really is and not how I fantasize them to be.’”

That choice to work on the relationship can lead to a more profound, meaningful experience together. Dr. Haltzman offers the following tips to help us reconnect or improve our bond:

  • Respect your mate for his/her positive qualities, even when they have some important negative ones.
  • Be the right person, instead of looking for the right person.
  • Be a loving person, instead of waiting to get love.
  • Be considerate instead of waiting to receive consideration.

To underscore the last couple of points, Dr. Haltzman says many people will put only so much effort into a relationship, then say, “I’ve done enough.” But very few of us will do that with our children. “Instead, we say despite their flaws, we wouldn’t want anyone else; yet, our kids can be much more of a pain in the ass than our spouses.”

Finally, he advises, “Have the attitude that this is the person you are going to spend the rest of your life with, so you must find a way to make it work instead of always looking for the back door.”

For more information on Dr. Haltzman or his books, visit DrScott.com or 365Reasons.com. Many thanks to Dr. Haltzman for sharing his time, wisdom and advice.

Read More on Marrying the Wrong Person. (A new post to continue the discussion and share insights.)

Lori Lowe is the author of First Kiss to Lasting Bliss: Hope & Inspiration for Your Marriage.  Find it on Amazon.com or in your favorite e-book format.

Register for automatic updates of this blog via email or RSS on the top right side of the page.

Photo Credit: ©Aliaksandr Zabudzko/PhotoXpress.com