9. FLEETING FEELINGS Versus WORK WORK WORK:
Feelings are fleeting but commitment is work. Don’t forget there will be days you can’t stand your spouse… or at the very least days you are upset with him or her. Feelings move up and down with each day and each circumstance and with emotions. If you find the negative feelings are weighing on you and not changing… there may be another problem at the source that needs to be addressed through number 8, counseling. Commitment to making the marriage work is what will carry you through, and that means work on both sides. Expecting your feelings to be enough to sustain the marriage will only eventually leave you stranded and in a failed relationship.
Build up your spouse by encouraging his or her self-esteem and focusing on positive thought patterns. Be your spouse’s number one fan. Cheer him or her on… with each passing day. You need to encourage each other instead of finding ways to break each other down feeling bad about yourselves. When the negative thoughts about your spouse sneak into your mindset, push them aside and think of something positive about him or her you love. If it’s something needing to be discussed, find an appropriate time and calmly discuss it. But remember negative thought patterns will plant a seed and they will grow faster than you think. This has been proven through research by Ted Huston outlined in an article “Will Your Marriage Last” by Aviva Patz, Psychology Today where she also shares a quiz for newly married couples…In summation she finds… "The dominant approach has been to work with couples to resolve conflict, but it should focus on preserving the positive feelings. That's a very important take-home lesson."
These are only ten things… obviously there are more. But I think this helps to ‘summarize’ what I would tell a couple in their first five years together even though I am indeed long-winded when it comes to relationships.
While still finishing this draft… I put a call out there in twitterville and on facebook with the same question… here are some replies I received:
@OCMomActivities: to never forget to have a few minutes of fun together, easy to let slip. Always be sure the partner is your immediate first call for problems. @OcMOMActivites just celebrated ten years of marriage, married at the young age of 20 and was a child of divorce.
Whitney from Facebook shared what her mother in law wrote in their anniversary card this past June: "The chemistry must be there, but the rest is tolerance and resolve." Brilliant advice.
What are some other tips you would share with newly married couples?
Please check out the other posts in this series of things I wish I had known when I got married:
Find yourself… keeping it real.