Why Married Couples Stay Married
With 10 million readers in 2016, I have a pretty popular blog, but I’ll tell you: this guy, Mark Manson, has a way of writing first-person pieces that go viral.
Thankfully, he gives good advice in a plain-spoken, straight-talking way (often laden with profanity for emphasis), and I’m pleased to share this recent article with you.
If you can’t accept your partner exactly as he is at this moment – despite his flaws – DUMP HIM.
He calls it “Every successful relationship is successful for the exact same reasons,” and I wouldn’t disagree. We talk about them frequently in this space: they’re best friends, they’re flexible and try to say yes as much as possible, they deal with conflict kindly and directly, they are focused more on their partners’ strengths than their weaknesses, they are not driven by their insecurities, they don’t spend much time trying to change their spouse. I’d call it common sense, but common sense goes out the window when it comes to lust, chemistry, and a false set of expectations about what marriage actually looks like.
Enter Manson and his list of why relationships succeed:
- Be together for the right reasons – not because you’re young and “in love,” not because your parents approve, not because it looks right on paper, not because you’re lonely or desperate – but because you feel like you could make 100 decisions a day with your spouse and still enjoy spending time together.
- Have realistic expectations about relationships and romance. Helen Fisher said it best: the first 18-36 months of your relationship is driven by chemistry. True love is what happens AFTER that original giddy feeling has faded. How do you treat your spouse when it’s not driven by a feeling, but rather, the choice to do loving things for your partner? That will determine how successful your marriage is – not how often you had sex in the first six months.
- The most important factor in a relationship is not communication, but respect. Personally, I think they’re intertwined. When you lose respect for someone, you pull away, you act sarcastic, you drip disdain – you literally can’t hide it in your communication. What Manson calls “respect” is what I call “acceptance.” If you can’t accept your partner exactly as he is at this moment – despite his flaws – DUMP HIM. Otherwise, you’re signing on for a life of frustration that the man you married is, in fact, the man you married. And he’s signing on for a life of being second-guessed, micromanaged, emasculated, and insulted – all because he’s exactly what he appeared to be during the first three years you dated him.
- Talk openly about everything, especially the stuff that hurts. You may think that I’m a bit of a bull in a china shop with the way I communicate. Truth and honesty above tact and diplomacy. But I’ll tell you what: my wife – who has been cheated on three times – ALWAYS knows what I’m thinking. There are no guessing games. No mysteries. No silent treatments. No going to bed mad. If something bothers me, I bring it up in a way that doesn’t attack her – and vice versa. As a result, we have to be one of the only couples that has never had make-up sex. Our fights simply don’t result in that kind of lingering anger and resentment. I highly recommend direct (nonviolent) communication instead of hints, passive-aggressiveness and swallowing your feelings. Warning: your partner has to be SECURE for this to work. An insecure/anxious partner will make a big deal when you tell the truth – thereby discouraging you from telling the truth. Don’t date anyone who can’t handle the truth.
Don’t date anyone who can’t handle the truth.
Manson lists six more unassailable things, which makes it worth it to click here and read the entire article. When you’re done, please come back and comment which reason seemed particularly hard to find in your own relationships. Thanks.