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Love, Liberation, and the Pursuit of Happiness: Keeping Your Relationship Rewarding

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

One of the greatest things about marriage is living with and enjoying your partner 24-7, right? Well, perhaps, but it can also be one of the most challenging aspects of your marriage.

While most brides and grooms focus on putting their best foot forward for the wedding, few focus on putting their best foot forward in their marriage. One of the things you may want to consider before take a united stroll through life as husband and wife, is taking a personal journey of enrichment and enhancement that will make you a better and happier partner and help ensure a lasting and successful relationship.

So, if you value your partner and your relationship…consider the following professional pointers for re-evaluating and revising your values and keeping your relationship rewarding.

1. Define YOUR role and responsibility and maintain your individuality. Sure you’ll both “become one” upon exchanging “I Do’s”…but that does not exhonorate each of you from your individual contributions to the success (or failure) of your relationship. Refrain from making a pattern of seeking a scapegoat and making one out of your spouse. Remember each of you is responsible for your own actions and reactions to each other and to situations.

2. Act instead of react. Keeping your wants, hopes, dreams, and desires a “secret” will accomplish nothing, unless you’re marrying a mind reader. Take control and voice your opinions, fears, and concerns. You still may not get what you want, when or how you want it…but at least by putting it out there you’ve increased your changes.

3. Develop and exercise a spirit of patience and tolerance. Problems are rarely resolved in a hostile, volatile environment. The more compassionate and diplomatic you are toward your partner, the greater your chances of being heard and your ideas being heard, considered and accepted.

4. Accentuate the positive by honing in on your partners best attributes (the ones that drew you to him or her in the first place) even when times get tough.

5. Create a loving support system, and choose your words carefully. How you interact and speak to your partner may have a significant bearing on how they accept YOU. Nurturing a loving tone and environment build confidence and boost your partner’s faith in you, your intentions and the relationship. Plus, it creates a more friendly and conducive environment for discussion and exchange of ideas (even if you disagree).

6. Be direct and appropriately direct your disappointment. Refrain from lashing out at your spouse for a bad day at work, or for frustrations brought on by others, even if they are indirectly associated to him/her (kids, in-laws, friends, etc.).

7. Align your body and your mind. Be sure to speak your mind and express similar intentions with your actions. If you tell your partner there’s nothing wrong…DON’T give him/her the silent treatment or withhold intimacy. Contradictory statements are simply incongruent and confusing for the “victimized” partner. Being honest lends more credibility to your position and your feelings, not to mention it lets your partner “in” on your little “secret” giving him/her an opportunity to address it.

8. Be gracious. Even if you are “right” most of the time, and try to avoid belittling your partner because of it. Remain secure in your knowledge and convictions; humbly and compassionately accept your “victory”, his/her acceptance/acknowledgment of your position and focus on internal contentment, moving forward (together), and bringing joy into the relationship.

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