Every Successful Relationship is Successful For The Same Exact Reasons by M. Manson
….So, that’s what I did. I sent out the call the week before my wedding: anyone who has been married for 10+ years and is still happy in their relationship, what lessons would you pass down to others if you could? What is working for you and your partner? And if you’re divorced, what didn’t work previously?
The response was overwhelming. Almost 1,500 people replied, many of whom sent in responses measured in pages, not paragraphs.
It took almost two weeks to comb through them all, but I did. And what I found stunned me…
They were incredibly repetitive.
1. Be together for the right reasons
Don’t ever be with someone because someone else pressured you to. I got married the first time because I was raised Catholic and that’s what you were supposed to do. Wrong.
I got married the second time because I was miserable and lonely and thought having a loving wife would fix everything for me. Also wrong.
Took me three tries to figure out what should have been obvious from the beginning, the only reason you should ever be with the person you’re with is because you simply love being around them. It really is that simple.
Before we even get into what you should do in your relationship, let’s start with what not to do.
When I sent out my request to readers for advice, I added a caveat that turned out to be illuminating. I asked people who were on their second or third (or fourth) marriages what they did wrong. Where did they mess up?
By far, the most common answer was “being with the person for the wrong reasons.”
Some of these wrong reasons included:
-Pressure from friends and family
-Feeling like a “loser” because they were single and settling for the first person that came along
-Being together for image—because the relationship looked good on paper (or in photos), not because the two people actually admired each other
-Being young and naive and hopelessly in love and thinking that love would solve everything
The other “wrong” reason to enter into a relationship is, like Greg said, to “fix” yourself. This desire to use the love of someone else to soothe your own emotional problems inevitably leads to codependence, an unhealthy and damaging dynamic between two people where they tacitly agree to use each other’s love as a distraction from their own self-loathing.
We’ll get more into codependence later in this article, but for now, it’s useful to point out that love, itself, is neutral. It is something that can be both healthy or unhealthy, helpful or harmful, depending on why and how you love someone else and are loved by someone else. By itself, love is never enough to sustain a relationship.
…3. The most important factor in a relationship is not communication, but respect
What I can tell you is the #1 thing, most important above all else is respect. It’s not sexual attraction, looks, shared goals, religion or lack of, nor is it love. There are times when you won’t feel love for your partner. That is the truth. But you never want to lose respect for your partner. Once you lose respect you will never get it back.
As we scanned through the hundreds of responses we received, my assistant and I began to notice an interesting trend.
People who had been through divorces and/or had only been with their partners for 10-15 years almost always talked about communication being the most important part of making things work. Talk frequently. Talk openly. Talk about everything, even if it hurts.
And there is some merit to that (which I’ll get to later).
But we noticed that the thing people with marriages going on 20, 30, or even 40 years talked about most was respect.
…7. You and your partner will grow and change in unexpected ways; embrace it
One theme that came up repeatedly, especially with those married 20+ years, was how much each individual changes as the decades roll on, and how ready each of you have to be to embrace the other partner as these changes occur.
One reader commented that at her wedding, an elderly family member told her, “One day many years from now, you will wake up and your spouse will be a different person, make sure you fall in love with that person too.”
….[Put Your Marriage First, Before Any Children You Have]
This seems to become particularly important once kids enter the picture. The big message I heard hundreds of times about kids: put the marriage first.
Children are worshipped in our culture these days. Parents are expected to sacrifice everything for them. But the best way to raise healthy and happy kids is to maintain a healthy and happy marriage. Good kids don’t make a good marriage. A good marriage makes good kids. So keep your marriage the top priority.
Readers implored to maintain regular “date nights,” to plan weekend getaways and to make time for sex, even when you’re tired, even when you’re stressed and exhausted and the baby is crying, even when Junior has soccer practice at 5:30am the next day. Make time for it. It’s worth it.
Read more of that article (Link): here.