“Happily ever after is not a fairy tale. It’s a choice.”
Chances are you have been to a wedding recently or you have one coming up—maybe even your own! It is not a surprise that spring and summer are popular times to get married. The weather is generally gorgeous, and a beautiful day can certainly be an auspicious start to a lifelong partnership, right? Nobody wants rain on their wedding day, do they? Well, I have heard that if it does rain, it can be a sign of good luck!
It is all a matter of perception, really. We can view anything as good or bad; it all depends on how we choose to look at the happenings of our daily lives. This is the first step in “living happily ever after”: seeing the challenges as opportunities for our freedom and growth. I believe that, in life, each of us is here to learn and to grow. When we believe this deep within, we can make “happily ever after” a reality.
Here are seven helpful ways to make a lifelong partnership even more fulfilling:
- Be in love. First with yourself, and then with your partner. When you have self-love, you know that you are complete and have chosen your partner out of love, not need.
- Be ready for the roller-coaster ride of a lifetime. Understand that there will be both “for better and for worse” times. Agree to take the ride together, knowing that sometimes one of you will need to be strong for the other and vice versa. Know also that there will be many good times to share together as partners as well as with friends and family. “Life is difficult,” said Scott Peck of The Road Less Traveled, and knowing this makes it easier to just put the seat belt on and settle in for the ride.
- Focus on the positives. Always keep in mind what drew you and your partner together. Be aware of all the wonderful reasons you made the mutual choice to share life’s journey. You might even want to make a list early on in the relationship. This list is something you can turn to year in and year out so that the positives will always be fresh in your mind . . . and marriage.
- Grow together. Know that neither of you will remain the same people you were on your wedding day. And this is actually a good thing! Life is about growth, learning, and seeking new opportunities and experiences. Encourage each other to grow. Stay connected with the changes each of you makes to continue to grow closer as you each grow in experience.
- Support each other. Be your partner’s biggest cheerleader throughout life. Help your spouse reach his or her desired goals, while knowing that your partner will always do the same for you. Work together to make your dreams a reality, for each of you as individuals as well as for you as a couple.
- Remain best friends. After the honeymoon phase is over, it is easy to find yourselves going in opposite directions from time to time. Your separate jobs and outside interests will draw you away from each other. Certain things that bring you joy and satisfaction won’t necessarily be shared by your spouse. That’s okay! Even though you are technically a couple, you are still individuals! However, continue to draw each other back in through setting aside time for mutual interests and experiences.
- Be present. Always be prepared to give your spouse the gift of your presence—your full and complete attention. If ever you simply cannot be available to give your partner your Focused Attention, avoid trying to listen with one ear. Either set aside what you are doing or let your partner know how soon you can be fully available. This is a great way to show you care—and you truly do. That’s why you got married in the first place!