Photo courtesy of Pedro Simoes
The custom of the bridal shower originated in 16th or 17th century Netherlands, and began in the United States in the 1890s. Since that time, brides-to-be across the nation have been receiving advice from their shower guests about just what makes a marriage last. Ranging from silly suggestions and recipe recommendations to counsel about cooperating and helpful hints in the bedroom, there has never been a lack of advice for the soon-to-be wed.
What follows is a compilation of some of the best advice that most successful (and happy) couples have taken to heart:
- Overlook imperfections, flaws and shortcomings - In three words: Pick your battles.
- Have an active sex life – Sex, cuddling, kissing, holding hands – all of these are a definite ‘must have’ in a healthy relationship. Don’t feel like having sex but your partner does? Do it anyway. It’s worth it, trust me. Physical intimacy brings emotional intimacy and a deeper closeness.
- Listen. Healthy relationships include a lot of conversation. Not much is more empowering than feeling listened to. By taking the time to listen intently to your partner, you validate what he or she has to say and you show that you are willing to accept another point of view without attacking or interrupting. After you listen carefully, make sure to talk openly yourself!
- Take care of eachother – Find out what your significant other finds nurturing and do it regularly. Maybe he or she loves to have back rubs after a long day at work. An easy way to discover the best ways to nurture eachother is to make lists and then exchange them. Small, simple expressions of love like doing the chore that he/she hates the most can go a long way in a long-term relationship!
- Fight fair – While you need to be honest and open about what bothers you about your partner, it is of the utmost importance that you learn to control your anger while expressing yourself. Never resort to name calling, accusations, or generalizations, and don’t dig up past mistakes. Being mad at your significant other can be normal at times, but to express your anger by yelling, storming out, or being direspectful can do permanent damage to any relationship. (SEE BELOW)
- R.E.S.P.E.C.T. It’s more than just a song, you know. Being in a relationship guarantees that conflict will arise. It comes with the territory when two people begin interacting so closely every day. From day-to-day annoyances to child discipline strategies, conflict is a necessary element of being in a relationship. When that conflict arises, a successful couple will find ways to talk it out as calmly as possible. Happy couples never disrespect eachother.
- Forgive eachother – If one of you slips up and doesn’t follow one of the above relationship rules, the other must find a way to forgive (relatively) quickly so that less significant mistakes aren’t the cause of relationship demise.
With all of that being said, the number one secret to a successful relationship is actually quite simple: there is no secret. Although there are some general guidelines to follow that will definitely lead you and your partner in the right direction, every couple is different and will have slightly different needs. What’s important is that you take the time to find out what your relationship requires to stay happy and healthy, for as long as you both shall live.