twitter facebook stumble upon rss

The Untold Secrets of Successful Relationships

sign up for the momlogic newsletter Tweet This

Charles Orlando: Are you ready to take the necessary steps to boost your bond?

couple riding bikes

I've long suggested that a successful relationship or marriage takes effort, not "work." Oftentimes, "work" is that thing you must do in order to have time and flexibility for the things you really care about. "Effort" is what you put into activities you care about ... that you are most passionate about making succeed. In short, effort is a driving force behind a great partnership and marriage. But there are secrets beyond just putting in effort and maintaining open lines of communication.

Separate and joint interests. Couples who invest in each other and build their lives together stay together. People are also individuals, and they most definitely have to have their own life (read: outside activities that are YOURS). But you need to spend time together ... even if you have to schedule it (à lathe "Date Night"). And the activities don't necessarily need to be in common. Case in point: "Brenda" and "Mark"-- two participants in my study to write "The Problem with Women ... is Men." She's an advertising executive and into high-tech; he's an outdoorsman and into sports and camping. After eight years of marriage, they felt they had nothing in common -- and they started drifting apart. Instead of the power struggle of "Do MY thing!" "No, do MY thing!" they started building activities that were their things -- together. After three years of swing-dance lessons and cooking classes, they've never been closer ... and snowboarding is next. Their marriage and friendship with each other has improved tenfold, and they do not feel separate any longer -- even though they have maintained their separate activities.

Communication ... and active listening. Men and women who don't communicate are setting themselves up for a big failure. According to the Association of Divorce Reform, nearly 80 percent of divorcees reference "irreconcilable differences" as their reason for permanent separation -- and lack of communication is the catalyst. An honest and emotionally intimate couple should be able to talk about anything and everything. Spending time discussing likes and dislikes will not only bring the two of them closer together, but will be personally enlightening. By listening and talking about what matters to their significant other, they may discover a part of themselves they never knew existed. And when it comes to discussions, men should listen more than they speak; oftentimes, it's not about solving "the problem at hand," it's about communicating with your partner.

Don't get comfortable. Nothing wrong with curling up on the couch -- in sweats, relaxed, etc. -- during romantic nights. But for those men who only shave on the weekends, or the wives who work from home in sweats all day, there is something missing from their self-esteems ... and their relationships. Taking care of yourself is really for you, and your significant other gets the benefit by extension. If couples aren't taking care of themselves (physically and mentally), they may find themselves slowly separating before they know it.

Support each others' careers (or passions), and don't fight about money. Married couples fight about three main issues: sex, kids and money. And regardless of who the breadwinner is, money fights always come back to one issue: control. Take "Melissa," a participant in my study and a top executive at an advertising firm in New York. When she met Bryan -- the man who would become her husband -- they were both in middle management earning roughly the same salaries. However, through a lot of effort and natural talent, Melissa's career hit its stride.

After several years of working 60+-hour weeks, she broke through the glass ceiling and became a highly respected and well-paid senior executive. Taking over the firm as president was then a very real possibility on the horizon. But as her status, influence and paycheck grew, her marriage began to deteriorate. She attempted to work on the relationship, but Bryan seemed to become uninterested, citing trivial issues as his reasons for his discontent. In addition to having to pick up the slack because of Melissa's long work hours -- something many women must do by default -- Bryan was genuinely threatened by her rapid advancement and success. After a year in marriage counseling, they divorced. Bryan, like many other men, had his masculinity built on all the wrong things. His ego was apparently too fragile, and couldn't handle the fact that she was building something for herself-- in this case, a solid career.

These secrets are easy to write, but can be challenging to put into practice. If you care about your relationship, the most beneficial tip would be to listen more than you speak. If you can hear what your significant other is talking about -- even if you don't agree -- you are ahead of the game.

next: More and More Tweens Wearing Makeup ... Are Yours?
2 comments so far | Post a comment now
Mrs. May 2, 2010, 6:24 AM

One of the best “secrets” to a successful marriage? Treat it like it’s forever. Often, when a married couple hits a serious bump, there’s all kind of doubt: should I leave? Should I stay? What if he/she leaves me? Where would I go/what would I do? …Once you take that option COMPLETELY off the table, you find you can get through anything. Think about it this way: Have you ever gone through a “rough patch” with one of your children? Have you ever considered leaving him or her? Is divorce ever even an option? Of course not; so you struggle, suffer, work through it. You are “mom” (or “dad”) forever. When you say, “I do,” you are “wife” (or “husband”) forever.

(Please keep in mind that I’m replying to THIS article. If you’re going to come back with, “but what about in cases of abuse??!!!” please don’t. That’s not what I’m talking about. Obviously there are exceptions to everything.)

tabletki na pryszcze April 3, 2011, 7:34 AM

Very interesting info, i am waiting for more !!! Keep updating your site and you will have a lot o readers

Back to top >>