Sunday, October 14, 2012

Secrets To A Lasting Marriage

Excerpt from
By Yahoo! Special Projects | Fabulous Mom – Mon, Feb 13, 2012 10:58 AM PHT

By Pierra Calasanz-Labrador for Yahoo! Southeast Asia

 A day after Valentine's day, this post was in my Yahoo! News, and i definitely agree on it's content... So, i am reposting, hoping to share my own experiences related to this post. Maybe somebody can be enlightened...

My hubby and I are only married 7 years, but our marriage has been tested by all kinds of marital issues, and i'm proud to say, that we have conquered them all. However, still afraid of issues to come, but with constant learning and loving... i believe we can conquer them all.

You vowed to love each other for better or for worse, till death do you part…but how do you keep these promises from sounding like a death sentence when the honeymoon is over?

Happily married couples often share that the secret to their longevity is treating their spouse as their lover as well as their best friend. For a professional perspective on making relationships go the distance, we chatted with Pilar Tolentino, Executive Director of Center for Family Ministries (CEFAM).

Be pro-active about your issues
Gone are the days when couples counseling meant you were headed for splitsville. Instead of being confused by conflicting unsolicited advice, many modern couples seek professional or spiritual guidance from a neutral third party. Tolentino shares: "There are different reasons couples come to counseling: the need for clarification on certain issues like parenting, roles and expectations; because of a current crisis like accidents, death, or financials; or to find healing like in cases of infidelity. A common factor is to seek assistance in understanding, accepting, and healing a current situation that is causing pain or confusion in the relationship."

May 2009, when we humbly seek the support of parents and attended a Marriage Encounter Weekend. That time i was kicking him out of the house and wanted separation, then i saw a post from a Forum about it and tried it. Hoping for 2nd chance for our marriage. Even if i was so angry at him, i still gave our marriage a 2nd chance. And true enough, these people are still our support group. We were able to share our problems with them, without them judging us, and guide us through their advises and support. It was not a bad decision to seek support, to open to those who knows better, even our parents are good support groups however based on experience, its very hard to open up to them because you dont want them seeing you on your lowest point.

So go, find your own support group, even at the moment, you dont have marital issues at hand. Most of the time, God will send his Love thru these people....

The element of surprise
Every so often, do something unexpected to keep the passion alive. Says Tolentino, "Simple thoughtful acts—like surprise visit to his/her office for a lunch date, love-notes, weekend getaways, cooking special meals, giving gifts even when there's no occasion, a soothing massage—can add flavor to daily routines as a couple."

My hubby dont shower me with gifts, because we agreed to keep it simple. We are both mountaineers and from that we learned to live with what we have and what is only essential. But, with this kind of lifestyle, we learn to appreciate the simplest things that we do for each other. A simple coffee time shared on saturday mornings... Sunday Lunch with the family... Hubby fetching me from the office... A walk around the neighborhood... A once in a while movie date...All this simple things, when remembered are very special and touching..

Put your partner before your pride
Instead of playing the blame game, put yourself in your spouse's shoes and see the situation from his point of view. Review your Corinthians 1:13. "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs."

In one homily that i attended, the priest sermoned about how married couple should set aside pride..Without asking who pays the bills, or who gives the bigger income to the marriage or who's more correct.. that time i was already contemplating on sending hubby abroad because he's not giving enough, but this made me realize, there are things that he do that compensate his shortcomings..i maybe the biggest contributor financially, but most of the time i dont have time to do things that a mother/wife should be doing because of work... and i realized our marriage worked because we compensate each other, so why ruin this situation when we can work together to make our marriage better....

Cool off before saying something hurtful
Newlyweds are always advised to "never let the sun set on an argument," but when you're boiling mad, someone's definitely sleeping on the couch. Tolentino shares, "It's probably not literally 'sleeping angry,' but do not let an argument go unresolved. Dialogue when each of you has cooled down. If an agreement is not yet possible at that point, at least acknowledge and respect the spouse's feelings. Seek assistance, like counseling, if this will help." Sometimes, it's the seemingly innocuous little arguments that can snowball into one big disaster. Tolentino says: "Breakdown of marriages usually happens when 'minor' conflicts are not addressed. These 'minor' problems can build up negative emotions."

In one of our marital fights, i tend to bring out again older issues, and these brings out previous hurt. Sometimes i forgot that we already resolved these issues and argue on it again... and it brings out the same hurt again... Sometimes, its better to forget these things from the past and just remember the good memories... when u matture you begin the master the art of understanding your husband and instead, focus on your life ahead

Don't assume your partner is a mind-reader
Many people don't know how to express their feelings, or worse, expect that their partner should know what they want. "It is important that openness and communication is encouraged in the relationship. Set aside time for just the two of you at least once a week. Give your spouse your full attention; listen without judgment. Remember that communication is two-way."

Hayyy... this is one thing i always forget.. Minsan,i am so stressed with things about the house, financials or stressed that i cry at night, i felt alone in facing our family problems and issues... And then i get mad at my husband for not helping me ... But when the anger subsides, i will realize that he will never understand because he really has no idea what im going through unless i tell him... So, i lessen the time to be a drama queen and practiced how to be open with him...

Show your appreciation daily
A marriage's silent enemy is being taken for granted. Don't wait till bitterness sets in before you try to "bring back that loving feeling." Everyday, pay your spouse a sincere compliment, show your gratitude, and express your affection. "Remember the things you value about your marriage and the good traits of your spouse. This will help reaffirm your commitment and strengthen you in facing the challenges that may come your way. Make an effort to make your spouse feel important, appreciated, and loved. Love has to be expressed."

My hubby and I dont practice telling each other i love you's and i miss you's. So minsan, when i am upset or stressed saying these things can lessen the negative feelings... When we make love, he tells me to caress him more or ask me to tell him i love him and it give me the feeling that he needs me pala to tell this things and so when im in the mood, i make him feel that way..and most of the time, it gives me a good feeling kasi no negative vibes between us.

Grow (old) together
Getting married doesn't mean giving up your individuality. When you're in a relationship that allows for personal growth, you each bring something to the relationship. Tolentino puts it this way: "One main element in a happy marriage are two happy individuals. Each one must give importance to the well-being of the other. Each one must be supported, respected, affirmed, appreciated and loved."  However, don't forget to enjoy shared activities as well, so that you grow together.

 Sometimes, when you are at your senti moment, naiisip mo, baket ba sya yung binigay sayo ni Lord... and when you ask your self these questions, you will get your answer... You will realize that your partner compliments you.. and completes you.. and then you'll realize, you want to grow old with him. 

The advice Tolentino dishes most often is this: "Remember that you are partners. Appreciate each one's contribution in strengthening the relationship, respect each other as equal, look out for the well-being of the other as you would for yourself." Bottomline: with love, affection, laughter, faith, limitless patience and mutual respect, your relationship can deepen after the honeymoon and you can look forward to living happily EVEN after.

Contact CEFAM at phone +63 2 4264289 — 92, email <> or <>.

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