A happily ever after with the person you love seems to be an unrealistic fantasy these days. You probably know someone who is divorced from the person they vowed to love for the rest of their life - maybe that person is you. Divorce may seem pretty common, but it is possible to achieve a strong and happy marriage that lasts forever:
1. Use couple pronouns
Words are powerful. Telling your spouse "I find you so attractive" does a lot of good, but unfortunately, using the words "I" and "you" can have the opposite effect in a disagreement.
Arguments are common and healthy for relationships, but instead of using singular pronouns (like "I" or "you") one study recommends couples use plural pronouns like "we," "us" and "our." This pulls the focus off one individual and onto the relationship. Instead of "you need to improve" say "we need to improve" This will help both of you feel less stress, less anger and more affection for each other.
Intimate moments create a feeling of sexual satisfaction in a relationship, but those moments don't have to just be in the bedroom. Hugging each other, holding hands and kissing your spouse will help you feel sexually satisfied. Talking about sex and making out can also increases sexual satisfaction.
This satisfaction promotes marital stability, and though its important to have sex, one study says you don't have to have it all the time - once a week could be enough.
3. Be kind
Psychologist John Gottman studied relationships for years in order to discover if there was something both failed and successful marriages had in common. He found that the couples who felt calm and safe with their spouse were more likely to have a fulfilling and happy relationship.
In his research, he also came up with the five-positive to one-negative rule. To make up for one negative comment, you have to say five positive comments. To see how your relationship is doing with this rule, put a whiteboard on the fridge. Keep track of positive and negative comments that you and your spouse direct at each other. For a lasting relationship, you need to have this 5:1 goal.
In other words, kindness towards your love is rewarded with a happy relationship.
4. Be generous
Psychological researcher Shelly Gable discovered that generosity is also key to a strong marriage. She noticed that couples who supported each other with active and constructive responses have longer happy marriages. This means that when your spouse makes a bid for your attention, like mentioning something he or she did that day, pay attention and respond. This shows that you care about things that are important to your spouse.
This kind of response does require you to occasionally stop something that you are doing to listen, but it shows your spouse that you care enough about him or her to give up your time. Be generous with your time and your love for a happy and lasting marriage.
When you pray for your spouse, your relationship will be more likely last according to a study done by Frank D. Fincham, from Florida State University and Steven R. H. Beach, from University of Georgia. The study called this kind of prayer "Partner-focused Petitionary Prayer"; meaning you are praying for the needs of your spouse, not just things you want.
This study showed that couples that pray together usually stay together.
A happily ever after is possible. You will have disagreements and difficulties, but happiness and satisfaction can still be on the table. Remember that being more patient and kind may require practice and patience. It'll take effort and time, but you will have years to make the effort to build, strengthen and communicate clearly with your spouse, so you can spend forever together in your happily ever after.
Stacie Simpson is a FamilyShare staff writer. She loves listening to, gathering and sharing stories and advice to help others improve their quality of life. She spends most of her free time with her husband, ballroom dancing, reading and writing.