According to the “Happy ever after” romantic myths and fairy tales one only has to find a special partner and everything will be happy ever after. Supported by novels, songs, movies, television & magazines, this “Happy ever after” meme became one of the most pervasive viruses of the mind in the 20th century. Although romantic love like this is mother nature’s way of attracting men and women to each other, love alone is not anywhere near enough for a life-long stable relationship. What else is required for a healthy long-term relationship?
Dr. Stephanie Sarkis suggests the following 7 keys to a healthy and happy relationship:
1. Mutual Respect
If you don’t have this – well, it’s going to be a tough road. This doesn’t mean you agree with everything your partner says or does. It does mean that you have admiration for each other, and steady undercurrent of love and trust throughout your relationship. You also have each other’s back. Abuse, whether it is physical, verbal, or emotional, defies mutual respect in every way, shape and form. You have to have mutual respect to have a healthy relationship.
2. Arguing, not fighting
I’ve never seen a healthy couple that doesn’t argue. They never fight, however. If a couple comes into my office and tells me they’ve never argued, something isn’t quite right. You can argue without fighting. Arguing is non-combative – you and your partner state your points of view without name-calling or raising your voice. Sometimes you agree to disagree – and that’s okay.
3. Agreement on Sex
You’re both okay with how often you have sex, how you have sex, where you have sex…and there’s mutual participation. Sex is not withheld as a punishment. And if you or your partner are not comfortable with any aspect of your sex life, you can talk about it openly, without criticism.
4. Agreement on Parenting
If the two of you don’t agree on a parenting style, you need to talk. You may have each grown up with different parenting styles – and we each tend to parent the same way we were parented. If you don’t have kids yet but are thinking about it, you must, must, must have this conversation with your partner.
5. Equality with Money
Money is one of the major causes of frustration in marriage and family relationships therefore the skill of financial harmony is essential for healthy long-term relationship. Understanding and respecting the value that each partner places on money as well as open communication are important for developing financial harmony. Even if one of you makes more money than the other, you both have an equal say about where your money goes. There are no “hidden accounts”, and you decide together before you make large purchases.
6. Common Goals and Values
Couples with very different interests can have healthy relationships – what counts is that they share common goals and values. Couples of different religions (or non-religion) and cultural backgrounds can have healthy relationships – what makes a healthy relationship is sharing core beliefs. You may both share the belief that giving back to your community is important. You may both share the belief that extended family members are welcome to live with you at any time. Values and beliefs differ for everyone.
Common goals include intangibles like raising happy and healthy children, and tangibles like saving up for a house. You can work together on setting one-year, five-year, even ten- and twenty-year goals. Working towards something together strengthens your bond.
“Sexiness wears thin after a while and beauty fades, but to be married to a man who makes you laugh every day, ah, now that’s a real treat.” – Joanne Woodward. Enough said. Make time to have fun. Life gets too serious without receiving regular doses of humour. 🙂
From Love Never Fades