Everyone has seen the movie where the couple rides off into the sunset and the words appear on the screen that say, "And They Lived Happily Ever After." Of course, everyone knows that life isn’t like the fairy tales where a man falls for a lady he’s never even met and then wakes her out of a coma with true love’s kiss. But, it is actually possible to live happily ever after with your spouse. In fact, it’s possible to live better than happily ever after with your spouse. Here’s how.
1. Get rid of fairy tale dreams
In the fairy tales, there’s always magic, good fortune and a lot of destiny that intervenes to help the prince and princess. But to have a truly happily ever after, both partners need to forget about magic and fairy dust and realize that they are the ones who are going to make the relationship great. They, themselves, are the ones who the couple truly needs to rely on, not magic, good fortune or destiny.
2. Let go of expectations
Everyone has expectations of who they’re going to marry. You may have wanted a spouse who is tall, athletic or funny. To have a truly happily ever after marriage, you need to let go of these expectations so you can begin to see your spouse for who he or she really is. Our expectations often blind us from the person who our spouse is by covering her with the person we want her to be. Our expectations can make us angry when our spouse doesn’t meet them.
3. Begin to see who your spouse really is
—warts and all. You know that not everyone is perfect, but for some reason, you still expect your spouse to be. (Or, at least you expect him to be working on it.) Once you’ve let go of your perfect expectations of your spouse, you can begin to see who he really is — warts and all — without being offended by it. Once we see that our spouse isn’t the tall, athletic, perfect person that we want, we begin to see him for who he genuinely is.
4. Get to Know Your New Spouse
. Once you begin seeing your spouse for who she really is (and are no longer blinded by your expectations), you’ll find out things that you never knew about her. This also leads the way to let you get to know so many more good things about her. You’ll find out things you never knew about your spouse that you didn’t know because your expectations were blinding you from seeing them.
This kind of relationship where a couple lets down their expectations of each other and sees each other for who they are is a powerful, electrifying relationship. It’s also very vulnerable. Not only are you trying to see your spouse for who he really is deep inside, but you’re allowing your spouse to see you for who you are — warts and all. This puts you in a very vulnerable place. But when your spouse shows you that he loves you anyway, you’ll find a new love and appreciation for him that you never knew possible. You’ll have a relationship that’s better than happily ever after.
Aaron Anderson is a therapist and Director of The Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, CO. He is a writer, speaker and relationship expert. Checkout his blog for expert information on how to improve your relationship.