Valentine's Day approaches. It is a Leap Year. Are you ready to propose to the man of your life? Is commitment the next step in your partnership? Do you have friends who have fallen madly in love, and then later fallen dramatically out again, two weeks, two months or two years later?
It takes more than romance to make a good marriage.
Here are 3 keys to consider.
1. Prize your Perfect Partner
In the heights of romance, your loved one can do no wrong. They are without fault. As time goes on, the habits that you found charming when you first met become irritating. His spontaneity, or her need to be well organized, start to drive you crazy.
In my experience of creating wedding ceremonies, often one partner has a different set of habits from the other. It seems opposites attract. These differences may be cause for conflict down the road - until you have learned to be accepting and tolerant.
There are no prizes for finding the negative in your very human loved one. The stresses of life can make you both more aware of your weaknesses.
Your partner is perfect because this is the one who will most invite you to grow your love, patience and sense of humour.
The remedy is to Prize your Partner - and regularly. Last thing at night, share with each other the 3 things you have most appreciated in yourself and your loved one during the day. Once a week, share acknowledgments for what you partner has done, and appreciation for the positive qualities you notice in him or her. Keep looking for the good, and overlooking the limitations.
You have two ears and one mouth. This reminds you to listen twice as much as you speak. Listening takes time. It also demonstrates your love for your loved one. We each of us have a need to express ourselves, and be heard.
Effective listening happens when you each feel safe to be open. Being overly critical towards yourself or your loved one creates static in the channel of clear communication. Pressures from your work or family challenges can make you feel separate from the one you love most. Good communication builds trust, the vital foundation for a happy marriage.
The remedy is to forgive yourself first, then forgive your partner. Restore the harmony, balance and joy between the two of you with love. Remember that at all times, you are both doing the best you know at the time. When you know better, you do better.
3. Grow your love
Nothing in life stays static and the same. Tying the knot is just the beginning of lifelong love, which can deepen and expand over time. You can use the stress and challenges that show up to make your love stronger.
The remedy is to hold the intention for your love and devotion to get better over the years. Let the issues that arise become opportunities for you to grow in wisdom and love. The vows you make on your wedding day speak to the intention you have for the future. What actions will you each take when life gets difficult?
During the ten years I have been designing and performing wedding ceremonies, I have found that increasingly, couples I meet now are emotionally more mature. There is greater awareness, understanding and knowledge for sustaining and nourishing a loving relationship.
Love is a friendship set to music.
What do you know to do to turn your romance into a happy marriage? What have you learnt from your family and friends? Please feel free to leave a comment below and share your wisdom or contact me.