6 Truths of Happy Marriages

Before you got married, did you have a specific idea of what a happy marriage should look like? What it should feel like? Most people do. But when the real thing happens and you get married (or start considering marriage), it's very common for a real relationship to fall short of these visions. Once the reality of marriage sets in, some women feel tricked, trapped or like failures. Others try to change their partners, change themselves, or figure out why their marriages are different from the way they thought they would be.

But the first step in truly understanding marriage is accepting that your visions of marriage are not necessarily the reality of what will happen in your life. That doesn't mean there is something wrong with you or your marriage. It just means that you didn't know what to truly expect. Need a more realistic image of a happy marriage? Take a look at these six truths. You might be surprised -- and relieved -- at what you see:

  1. Your Relationship Can -- and Will -- Change
  2. Being in Love Will Change
  3. Marriage Does Not Mean You Are Dependent
  4. Anger Will Keep You Together
  5. Married People Have to Plan Time Together
  6. Marriage Holds You Together -- Forever

1. Your Relationship Can -- and Will -- Change
A marriage is not a static situation. It can, will and must change because no two people stay the same during the course of their lifetimes. Everyone's interests vary. Plus, you and your partner will grow in different ways, at different times. Accepting all of these changes will help your relationship. Just remember that you don't always have to think the same way, like the same things, or be in the same place at the same time. You may have different tastes and interests, but that doesn't mean you aren't in love. Of course, there should be mutual desires, but having differences means that you are growing. With them, you will have more love and understanding to bring to your partner in the long run.

2. Being "In Love" Will Change
Many women expect to get the same feeling of excitement and infatuation every time their partner walks through the door, day after day, year after year. They want to miss him terribly if he is gone, no matter how much it hurts. But in a real marriage, there are times when you will have these romantic feelings and other times when they will fade into the background. This does not mean you aren't in love anymore. Love is based on a solid foundation of mutual respect and sharing, not just deep emotions. Although it is wonderful and important to create opportunities for romantic time together, your daily life in a marriage requires a much deeper understanding of the more fundamental aspects of lasting love. Love is often tested in the fire, and frequently sacrifice is needed.

3. Marriage Does Not Mean You Are Dependent
Yes, it takes two people to be married. But it's important to be who you are, to be different from your partner, and have a life of your own. This way, you won't run the risk of feeling stifled, and the more you will love him.

It's also smart to give your partner his private space. Love always includes trust. The more your partner is able to enjoy time with friends or family, the more he will enjoy being with you. It's good to be two, separate, whole people. From that basis, more love can grow.

4. Anger Will Keep You Together
It's no secret that when partners bottle up their needs, angry feelings will explode later. But some people think a fight means that love has gone out the window. This is not the case in a real relationship. Being angry is part of being close. Frustration is not a sign that your partner doesn't love you, or that you don't love him. It's a sign that you're both ready for honest, but careful, communication. Talking about your relationship on a regular basis is truly the heart and soul of every good marriage. When you recognize irritations or resentment as it arises, and discuss your feelings freely, the anger will not only diminish, but your relationship will get better!

If you are angry and fighting all the time, the quality of your marriage is slowly being eroded. But this happens because anger goes on for too long. When you use your feelings as an opportunity to communicate more, anger can bring you closer together, instead of further apart.

5. Married People Have to Plan Time Together
Even though you have a life together, you and your partner still have to make time for one another. Sometimes, you have to carve out even more time for your partner than you did before you got married. Because living together, it's easy to take one another's presence for granted. Being together physically gives the illusion of sharing quality time. Children, errands, pressures at work and social obligations create an false whir of activity. What you always need are intimate -- and fun -- moments just for you and him.

You don't have to plan a whole night alone with your partner (even though that would be nice). Just carve out intimate time when the two of you are alone. Make time to talk, hug and have fun. This is a wonderful refresher to every marriage and should be done at least weekly.

6. Marriage Holds You Together -- Forever
Perhaps the most wonderful -- and surprising -- thing about most marriages is that the longer you're married, the more you look forward to seeing your partner. Of course it's valuable to have someone at your side sharing your experiences year after year. And the memories that you share with your partner will be precious. But it's the continuity of marriage that can surprise you. As the years pass, you will know each other better than anyone else. No matter what happens, you both know someone is going to be there for you. When problems come up, there will always be someone who understands what you are going through. The ability to share the burdens of life makes them feel less harsh. And the ability to share the joys makes them happier too.

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