There were so many situations we had been through and many paths we had walked. Some were steep and mountainous, others stony and arduous and some wonderful and beautiful. Looking at marriages around me, some struggling some separated and some divorced, I asked myself- what kept us together? What are the secrets of a lasting marriage? I began to expand on the word ‘SECRETS’. Here are a few things that came to mind:
S-Sharing and friendship
I truly feel sharing and building a friendship is one way to reach marital happiness. Developing a close relationship; discovering, fighting, making up, talking, laughing, crying and working together. Getting to know each other in so many different areas helped us draw closer to each other. We are created so uniquely and hence bound to be different. Never let the differences pull you apart; rather you should be aware that this enhances the relationship if handled well. Looking back, I struggled to change my spouse to be what I thought he should be instead of accepting him for who he was. But soon I realized that my acceptance played a significant role in building our friendship. I knew that competition was destructive and I abandoned it.
Change is bound to happen and it is crucial to a healthy marriage. The initial romantic stage will slowly progress into a stage of accepting reality. Sharing sweet dreams to making those a reality is hard work. It was vital for us to foresee it and work around it rather than let it strain our relationship. No matter what changes occur, be committed to make your marriage last.
C- Common Faith and Celebration
Possessing a common faith helped us be accountable in our relationship. The belief in God or understanding of faith gives strength to face challenges with the power that God gives. For us, many of our struggles became triumphs when we were willing to let God help us. On our knees we persevered and know for sure that on our own we would have found it very hard to cope. Our faith in Jesus was our anchor and He has certainly done great things for us. Celebrate life and enjoy things together. Take interest in each others hobbies and learn to have fun. Sometimes the daily grind prevents us from taking a break. We need to refresh and rejuvenate and keep our time together interesting. Once in a while sit and recollect the past experiences, this will help you to cement your bonds.
R-Respect one another
This is the foundation on which the relationship is sustained. We have always tried to give each other space and respected each other’s individuality. Do not choke each other by being overtly possessive. It can destroy your relationship.
They are an integral part of our Indian marriages. I acknowledge their part in shaping the life of my husband to who he is today. I involved them in whatever ways possible, but also made sure to put in some healthy boundaries. Be genuine and open and build an individual relationship with your in-laws. It is important for them to understand and know you. You don’t need to voice all your opinions immediately, be wise and discerning. A good relationship with your in -laws does not grow overnight so the time you take to cultivate it will surely bear fruit. A supportive extended family is an added asset to your marriage.
T-Trials and Troubles
Trials and troubles often tend to strain relationships and we should never be caught unawares. There is bound to be hardship, sickness, loss, pressures and stress. We need to remember that as a team we can make it through when we persevere and hang on through the tough paths. Having gone through two miscarriages, an ectopic pregnancy which almost costed my life, raising three energetic boys, I know for sure that if we did not have our faith in God I would have crumbled and our relationship would have suffered. Through the difficult times we have grown in our understanding of each other.
S-Selfishness is a killer
In an intimate relationship like marriage we are constantly bombarded with our own agendas. What I want, when I want it, how I want it. Everything else is not important. One of the toughest challenges in my marriage was to move beyond myself and to include my husband. As human beings we are selfish by nature, but we need to learn that this particular relationship is more about giving than receiving. Rooting out selfishness early in a marriage could be a sure way to a lasting marriage relationship. So no matter which path your marriage is on, be sure to make every effort to stick it out together. Things will change and your commitment is crucial to come out triumphant through the challenges. Your oneness will help you overcome the risks involved in loving and being loved.