Basics of Great Marriages …

Posted on February 19, 2011. Filed under: Searching for Success |

Our most recent visit to the monument of eternal Love, the Taj Mahal, cheered us no end as the Taj was devoid of all signs of decay and decadence. It was refreshingly clean and sprightly. Not many know that its entire foundation is laid on pure wood with wells dug under it to keep it moist with the Jumna River, or what is left of it, flowing by its side.

Eternal love, yes. But one child of the love marriage was viciously cruel to his father, to his own brothers whom he killed and also to humanity at large. The tomb at Aurangabad is fitting reflection on the the man born to great eminence but whose misdirected life rang the death knell of the Empire founded by Babar and consolidated by Akbar.

This visit also produced something quite as profound as the Wonder itself. It made me happy as it seems as true and eternal as ‘Desiderata’. Here it is.

During a seminar, a woman asks, “How do I know if I married the right person?” There was this man sitting next to her so the guy asks, “Is that your husband?” Taken aback she asks, “How did you guess?” He goes onto explain.

’Every relationship has a cycle.

In the beginning, you fell in love with your spouse. You anticipated their call, wanted their touch, and liked their idiosyncrasies.

Falling in love with your spouse wasn’t hard. In fact, it was a completely natural and spontaneous experience. You didn’t have to DO anything. That’s why it’s called “falling” in love. Because it’s happening TO YOU.

People in love sometimes say, “I was swept off my feet.” Think about the imagery of that expression. It implies that you were just standing there; doing nothing, and then something came along and happened TO YOU.

Falling in love is easy. It’s a passive and spontaneous experience.

But after a few years of marriage, the euphoria of love fades. It’s the natural cycle of EVERY relationship. Slowly but surely, phone calls become a bother (if they come at all), touch is not always welcome (when it happens) and your spouse’s idiosyncrasies, instead of being cute, drive you nuts.

The symptoms of this stage vary with every relationship but if you think about your marriage you will notice a dramatic difference between the initial stage when you were in love and a much duller or even angrier subsequent stage. At this point, you or your spouse might start asking, “Did I marry the right person?”

As you and your spouse reflect on the euphoria of the love you once had, you may begin to desire that experience with someone else. This is when marriages breakdown.

People blame their spouse for their unhappiness and look outside their marriage for fulfillment. Extramarital fulfillment comes in all shapes and sizes.

Infidelity is the most obvious. But sometimes people turn to work, a hobby, a friendship, excessive TV or abusive substances.

But the answer to this dilemma does NOT lie outside your marriage. It lies within it. I’m not saying that you couldn’t fall in love with someone else. You could. And TEMPORARILY you’d feel better.

But you’d be in the same situation a few years later.

Because, THE KEY TO SUCCEEDING IN MARRIAGE IS NOT FINDING THE RIGHT PERSON IT’S LEARNING TO LOVE THE PERSON YOU FOUND.

SUSTAINING love is not a passive or spontaneous experience. It’ll NEVER just happen to you. You can’t “find” LASTING love. You have to “make” it day in and day out.

That’s why we have the expression “the labor of love.” Because it takes time, effort, and energy. And most importantly, it takes WISDOM.

You have to know WHAT TO DO to make your marriage work. Make no mistake about it. Love is NOT a mystery. There are specific things you can do (with or without your spouse) to succeed with your marriage.

Just as there are physical laws of the universe (such as gravity), there are also laws for relationships. Just as the right diet and exercise program makes you physically stronger, certain habits in your relationship WILL make your marriage stronger. It’s  direct cause and effect.

If you know and apply the laws, the results are predictable. You can “make” love. Love in marriage is indeed a “decision”. Not just a feeling.

“No one falls in love by choice, it is by CHANCE. No one stays in love by chance, it is by CHOICE.’

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