Humans are social beings and relationships play an essential role in our lives. We can’t survive without relationships. We can’t thrive without relationships. We have relationships with every person, place or thing in our life.
For Indians, the most significant relationship in our life is with our spouse. There’s so much energy and effort that goes into planning and preparing for this relationship. Before the wedding, everyone in our lives are obsessed with finding the right person. After the wedding, there’s the honeymoon period and then the “hating-on-each-other” phase for the rest of your life. Every week, I receive forwarded WhatsApp jokes from men in the “hating-on-each-other” phase promoting false beliefs about husband and wife relationships. These lame jokes have to stop because it’s corrupting our minds and our children’s minds. Please don’t let one bad experience spoil it for you.
In light of stopping this nonsense, here are 7 tips to creating a super successful marriage that I’ve learned from 4 years of wedding bliss:
- Team work makes the dream work: On many occasions, I have witnessed couples working against the best interest of the relationship. When one half of the relationship receives a compliment, the other half feels inadequate. When one half receives a bonus, the other half’s self-worth has suddenly decreased. So instead of being in gratitude and appreciating the abundance, we feel jealous of our partner. Our face says ‘Congratulations’ but our feelings say ‘I am lesser than…’ Remember, you are building a team and only those teams that work together in the best interest of the company, are successful and achieve their goals. We are not competing against each other for an ego boost; that’s short term thinking. We are working together so the marriage is successful in all respects — happiness, health, wealth, and recreation — this is the long term approach.
- Create an environment where you’re safe to BE yourselves: When two people come together, each have their own expectations. We feel our partner should be a certain way, should act a certain way, and so we impose our rules on them. This creates an environment in the relationship where we are not ourselves, but we are living to fulfill the expectations of the other. We feel like we are walking on egg shells. We may be naturally goofy and funny but our serious partner views that behavior as lowly, so we place a cap on ourselves. This step is extremely important in setting the foundation for a strong, long-lasting relationship. Have minimal expectations when entering a relationship.
- Be interdependent: We tend to become dependent on each other to fulfill our needs. When a person chooses to fill a void with someone, they create relationship dependency. They enter the relationship crying out, “I am unable to love myself, so you must love me for me.” The relationship begins on a shaky foundation and becomes dysfunctional eventually. Codependent relationships do not allow partners to be themselves, result in people-pleasing, manipulation and controlling behaviors. On the flip side, interdependency is the mutual reliance between partners; they recognize and value the importance of the bond while maintaining a solid sense of self. There’s a balance of self and partner within the relationship, without demanding of one another and depending on your partner for feelings of worthiness. Interdependency gives each partner a sense of self and freedom to make decisions without fear of the relationship.
- Be kind and compassionate with each other: This seems obvious. Why would we not be? It’s easier when things are going great, when we are happy and at ease with each other. However, when relationships become stressful and things are not going according to plan, it’s easy to get upset at each other. But remember #1, this is the time for team work. We can overcome obstacles and challenges together as a team by being kind and compassionate during difficult times. Be kind, don’t be nice. Kind is supporting them through their struggles, recognizing that initially extra effort is required to overcome and you provide that for them. Nice is allowing their excuses to be their line of defense and avoiding the commitment they made to themselves.
- Do random acts of affection: Something as simple as showering hugs and kisses on your significant other when they’re going through a long and difficult day. Small acts like these go a long way in letting your significant other know you care for them and are there for them no matter what may come. It releases stress instantly and brings them energy to tackle the rest of the day.
- Have shared interests that can be enjoyed together: Not too many. Just a few or even one. This is a way for us to connect and bond with each other. Through these experiences, we learn to appreciate each other, learn about our strengths and shortcomings, and become better at supporting each other. For example, my wife and I enjoy service and giving back to our community. We are involved in building several non-profit organizations since our wedding day. Through meaningful work, we are able to share our interests with the love of our life. Through activity, we gain an understanding of each other and through activity, the relationship grows stronger.
- Be tough and hold each other to a higher standard: Life has an inherent purpose to grow. Plant a seed, take care of it and it grows. The same is true of humans. We are constantly growing and evolving as our perspectives evolve. Through kindness and compassion, we can be tough with our significant other. This is essential for our growth, for the relationships growth. When your partner feels unworthy, hold them to a higher standard by showing them their real value in your life and by commending them on their strengths. You’re reframing their unworthy feeling and in the process, their perspective changes over time. There’s no shaming, there’s no judging and there’s no embarrassing. With a blend of kindness, compassion and toughness, you can elevate your partner and help them grow through positive words and affirmations.
Are you single and interested in building a long-lasting relationship? Join us in our monthly Virtual Singles Mixer that has been attended by 500 people thus far and has seen several success stories. These sessions are not your typical speed dating with forced and awkward conversations. We play games, we ask questions, we break out in smaller groups of 4 – 8 people and through having fun, you’ll meet other singles in your age group.