Six Powerful Tips For A Happy Marriage
Is the honeymoon period of your relationship over? Don’t be dismayed, there are plenty of simple, actionable tips for you to keep the fire in your relationship burning bright! Author Tara Praker-Pope, in her book, ‘For Better: How the Surprising Science of Happy Couples Can Help Your Marriage Succeed’ provides many tips on what couples should be doing for a happy relationship.
Here are a few sketches:
1.Make a big deal of small good news: Basically, the point here is to celebrate small events and victories. Go out for dinner, give each other gifts – you know, make a fuss about your partner’s achievements, however small they are.
In a study published in The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, researchers found that the way couples react to each other’s good news—either with excitement, pride, or indifference—is crucial in forming a strong bond.
2.The 5:1 ratio: For every snide, rude or veiled remark, you need to make it up by 5 sweet, loving remarks.
If the ratio of your hateful remarks and loving remarks is 1:1, it is a sign that your marriage is going downhill. This rule applies to both work and romantic relationships,approved by the ‘love guru’ John Gottman himself!
3.Expect more from your relationship: Keeping your standards high like, expecting to be treated well and wanting romance translates into reality. If you expect an averagely satisfying relationship, you are going to have an averagely satisfying relationship. In short, you get what you expect.
According to a study conducted by Florida State University, an interrelation was observed between higher expectations and happier marriages.
4.Keep your friends and family in the loop: You must not rely solely on your marriage for all the emotional support and companionship you need. Have a close knit circle outside your marriage, consisting of friends and family.
In fact, this is called the dispersion theory in a study conducted by Cornell University and Facebook, and is revealed to be a fair indicator of the couple’s happiness and increased chances of staying together.
5.Increase intimacy: Over the course of time, the excitement diminishes. Being intimate has psychological and physiological benefits for both the partners. Or as the author of the book puts it, “Put down this book and go have sex with your husband or wife.”
According to a study published in Psychological Science, there is a positive relation between how much sex a couple has and their positive feelings for each other. (Surprise, surprise!)
6.A Break from your routine: When couples were divided into those who have ‘pleasant’ experiences together and those who have ‘exciting’ experiences together, it is the exciting group that had better relationships.
To Love And Marry Or To Marry And Love?
Imagine this scenario: Your parents are murmuring through the phone, voraciously nodding and talking with one another, exchanging sudden pleasantries with your extended family and making subtle hints about the ‘M’ word. Jokingly, they mention someone that your uncle or aunt thought would be perfect for you. “Maybe you should just meet him/her once before you say NO”. No wonder, a tinge of fear creeps in and you know this won’t be a joke until long enough.
Through the passing years, the concept of arranged marriages have been thought to decline, especially in the urban areas but even now, about 88% of marriages in India are arranged. With a fair share of love and arranged marriages taking place, it all comes down to the matter of personal choice or lack, thereof. While not all of these marriages are successful, some of them certainly are. What one is left with is the persistent thought of whether one should love and then marry or marry and then hope to love.
Marry And Love?
In an arranged marriage scenario, marriage is popularly regarded as the union of not just two people but of the respective families as well. Matters of status, stability, security, education and values take precedence over personal choices of their sons and daughters.
When looking for a partner for their sons or daughters, parents ensure to check the compatibility with the potential bride or groom’s side of the family. Once they feel they can safely marry their son or daughter into this family, they are assured that they will be taken care of.
More often than not, in the Indian cultural milieu of marriage, it is seen that the brides end up living at the husband’s place with his parents. They often feel helpless and give in as an obligation towards parents. They feel that they have to accept their parents’ choice of a life partner for them in order to be respectful.
If one is looking for physical and emotional understanding, it is generally overlooked and the entire concept of “being in love with your partner” is not existent. Another drawback is that the couple might not be given enough time to know about each other’s views, beliefs, and feelings. As a result, a lot of adjustments are required to be made. Finding a balance between one’s own desires and satisfying our parents’ wishes is a hard task which we all struggle with.
However, it is possible to fall in love after marriage. When couples learn to accommodate each other’s strengths and flaws, they learn how to become more emotionally involved. They spend more time with each other, do things to make their married life interesting. As a result, love grows through a mutual sense of respect and care.
Love and Marry?
One of the greatest advantages of marrying someone we love is the freedom to choose our own partners. Having spent time with someone long enough enables us to feel more connected – physically, emotionally and intellectually – to the one we love, thereby enhancing understanding and empathy.
There is a sense of comfort and safety of already knowing the partner’s strengths and weaknesses thus helping us to be prepared in case of a discord. At the same time, there is the excitement and joy of having to spend the rest of life with the one we love and care for. To marry one’s own partner instils a sense of independence too.
Because of the mutual sense of attraction and compatibility, it is perceived that couples in a love marriage tend to be happier and eventually last longer.
Despite the beauty of a life being spent with the person we love, there are issues which plague the couples even if they are deeply in love. American psychiatrist F. Scott Peck quoted, “Love is not effortless. On the contrary, it is effortful”. Contrary to popular beliefs, a love marriage needs as much work as an arranged marriage. Few love marriages do not get approval from the parents. This might limit social support in terms of accepting the partner and their ways. We are automatically bound to take responsibility for the same. Moreover, living together even if it is with the person we love has its own ups and downs. There are times when couples become disinterested over time and the effect of love starts waning.
This could be because couples enter love marriages with a lot of expectations such as the drive for passion, romantic feelings for each other but when marital reality and responsibilities come in, these feelings may be overpowered by more pressing issues such as adjustments and compromises.
No marriage is perfect and there is no quick fix to the problems that arise among the partners.
Whether it is a love marriage or an arranged one, love is something that developsovertime and for it to last, it must be nurtured. It bodes on the individual to be open, transparent and genuine in their relationship with their better halves in order to keep the marriage healthy and alive