The 7 Truths About Married Life The Couples That Stay Together For Life Already Know

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7 Truths About What Married Life Is Really Like You Must Know If You Want Your Relationship To Last

When people get married, they often have certain ideas and expectations about what married life will be like.

They may believe that marriage will be their “happily ever after” in life. They believe that another person will fulfill all their dreams and wishes and needs in life.

Because they are relying on the other person to fill them up, they believe they will truly be happy for the rest of their lives.

They are so in love and believe that love will make all the bad stuff of life go away! 

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However, believing these ideas about what marriage is like is a mistake.

Frequently, when people begin to experience difficulties in life, they become discouraged and disappointed and blame the other person for their lack of happiness.

They clearly have a distorted view of marriage and what it really means to be in a committed relationship.

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The seven truths about what married life is really like and why they help couples stay together for life:

1. Marriage takes work.

It is important for you to learn to live up to your commitment and understand that marriage doesn’t "just work" — it's hard work!

You have to learn to walk side by side and understand that another person is not responsible for your happiness. You can certainly make another person’s life lighter and more pleasant by how you treat that person, but the ultimate responsibility is yours when it comes to choosing to be happy in your life.

You made a commitment to go through life together, no matter what life might truly end up looking like. There will be happy times, but there will also be difficult times.

How will you choose to manage life together?

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2. Marriage is about learning to work through the tough stuff together.

You may have heard the saying, “Two are better than one, for when one falls the other is there to pick him/her up.”

There is no guarantee that life will be easy. You may have dreams or pictures in your mind of what you hope and desire for life to be, but realistically, life is not “pie in the sky, by and by!”

It is so important to not blame your spouse when things are tough. Your spouse cannot control life any more than you can. In life, as they say, “pain is inevitable, misery is an option.”

It really is a matter of choice.

You can choose together to get through this tough period or you can choose to be miserable and blame each other for it. Those who choose to work together through it will find that they actually learn and grow together.

You can choose to be better for having survived the tough stuff together. Celebrate that you made it!

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3. Along with the tough stuff comes life's struggles.

What!?! You are probably thinking that you never signed up for struggles! After all, life was going to be “happily ever after,” right?

As long as you have breath in you, there will be times of struggle.

Some of those struggles may be: having to move to a new location for a job and all the trauma that brings with it, loss of a job, or the introduction of children into your life (they are a blessing but parenting is no picnic), declining health for you or your spouse or one of your children, dealing with aging parents, financial difficulties, as well as conflict and communication issues between you and your spouse that you never thought would be there!

These are only a few of life’s challenges and struggles.

How do you navigate these struggles? Part of it is learning to communicate with each other about your feelings that may be coming to the surface.

It is about not judging one another when the feelings are there. Listening and comforting and figuring out a good plan to move forward are all ways successful couples make it through the struggles of life.

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4. Marriage is about learning to be on the same team.

You chose to be together. You are not on opposite teams. You need to learn how to work together and be “for one another not against one another."

Sure, you will disagree at times, but you need to learn to not be stubborn and dig in trying to get your own way.

Talk to each other about your thoughts and opinions and work toward decisions that work for both of you. Now is not the time to pout or clam up or stomp off. It is time to do teamwork.

Sometimes that may mean you need to sacrifice something you want for the good of the team.

You are not two totally individual people anymore. You are a unit and need to function that way.

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5. Lifetime companionship must be your goal for your marriage to be successful.

It is so important for you, as a couple, to become best friends.

Best friends don’t always agree, but they figure out how to stay best friends. They desire to be together no matter what. They enjoy one another’s company and desire to spend time together.

In order to develop companionship that lasts for the long haul, you need to invest in your relationship.

It is not something that will just happen because you are living in the same house. You have to be intentional about making it happen.

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6. Marriage is about learning how to stop along the way and celebrate milestones and accomplishments.

Couples can set all kinds of goals for themselves and become very discouraged when it feels to them that they never are able to accomplish those goals.

It is important for couples to celebrate as they hit specific milestones moving toward their goals, as well as, celebrating when they actually accomplish or reach their goal. Each step of the way can be something to really cheer about and get excited about as you move through life.

Being able to celebrate along the way helps to motivate you to keep going. Without those periodic celebrations, you may get so discouraged that you say “what’s the use” and just throw in the towel!

You need to celebrate and enjoy the journey. This keeps both of you on track and feeling motivated to push on toward the goal.

It is also most important to come alongside each other and recognize and celebrate the milestones and accomplishments of each individual. Remember, you are on the same team, and when one person accomplishes something you both need to celebrate that together.

You are not competing with each other but cheering one another on!

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7. Marriage is about keeping the spark of physical attraction, affection, and intimacy as life changes

Generally, you are fairly young and in fairly good shape when you marry. Getting married and staying married means you go through all kinds of changes physically as you age.

It is not just one of you that changes; it is both of you.

It may be difficult for you to admit that you are changing. You may be very adept at letting your spouse know what changes are occurring in him or her that you aren’t exactly pleased with and not pay attention to what the mirror is saying to you.

When you said your vows, you promised to go through life together; that means “the good, the bad, and the ugly!”

Sometimes, life is great and you enjoy one another and are very content. At other times, life becomes difficult. Maybe you or your spouse cannot do all the things you or they could do when younger. Sometimes there are difficulties with children growing up and launching. Sometimes there are financial difficulties and hardships. There are many things that can make or break you.

You have to determine that no matter what, you are in this together.

No matter how old you get, you can still make yourself attractive to your spouse. You can still express affection and even have physical intimacy as long as you are willing to do the little extra it takes to maintain it.

Sometimes, illnesses may affect how you are able to manage your relationship with each other, but there are still ways to express your love and affection to one another. You may have to become more creative in how you express your love to one another.

Love in your relationship doesn’t cease to exist just because you may be changing physically and/or life continues to change along the way.

Keep loving and cherishing one another “til death parts you.” And don't believe the myths about what married life is like.

Marriage is beautiful and powerful, but it is not a fairy tale. Knowing that will help you prepare for the happiest (and saddest) moments in your life — together.

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Drs. Debbie and David McFadden are a husband-and-wife team specializing in helping struggling and distressed couples improve their relationships.