Author Topic: how to get and stay married  (Read 1325 times)

Offline Reginald Hudlin

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how to get and stay married
« on: December 08, 2011, 02:22:27 pm »

How to Get and Stay Married
Five completely anecdotal and unscientific tips on staying hitched
By TOUR… | @Toure | December 8, 2011 |

Tourť's latest book Who's Afraid of Post-Blackness? was named a New York Times notable book of 2011.

Thereís nothing wrong with you if you reach the age called ďmarriage oíclock,Ē and youíre still not married. Itís complex finding someone and getting that relationship to the altar and beyond. Iím no marriage expert, but Iím in a happy marriage with our seventh anniversary around the corner. My parents are in one, too: their 43rd anniversary just passed. The effort to make it work and the problems we have and those weíve worked through have led me to a few thoughts on what you can do to make your relationship a little more weather-proof. In order to make a couple survive, you must put it ahead of self. Love or destiny or fate simply wonít carry you. If a relationship is a nation, then itís patriotic to do selfless things that will help the relationship, such as:

1. Know that the grass ainít greener
Donít look at other couples and think they have it all together while you and your mate donít. Thatíll just make you feel bad about your relationship and drag you down. Those smiling people who look like they have it all do have it all ó including problems. You just have no idea what they are. And donít look at individuals youíre not with and think you could have a better relationship with them. Itís easy to fantasize that the sexy acquaintance with whom you have a buzzy rapport with would make a hot, fun, trouble-free girlfriend, but sheís just someone whose problems you donít know yet. Love the one youíre with, and work through the problems you know.

(MORE: Top 10 Short-Lived Celebrity Marriages)

2. Fight fair!
Every relationship will run into potholes, but the difference between a lasting one and one that runs aground can be the nature of how you fight. Are you using those heavy conversations to work on resolving problems or dumping negative emotion and resentment onto your partner? Fighting fair means those difficult conversations can be more productive and probably last less time. How can you do that? Many thoughts. First, constrain yourself to the specific disagreement and the particular moment youíre disagreeing about. Donít make it into a referendum on your entire relationship and start linking to other issues you have. Donít bring up old fights or points of disagreement. Avoid words like always and never which make the problem impossible to address. The more you can segregate each conflict, the more productive the conversation can be.

Every good couple knows how to push each otherís buttons and when your partner makes you mad you mash their buttons to get them back. Work hard at not doing this. Itís easy to agree to when youíre happy and easy to give in to the temptation of when youíre mad. Restrain yourself. Itís horrible for the couple.

Avoid with all your might escalating the conflict. A couple will be discussing something at one tone and then someone will say something ó a curse word or a diss or a nasty generalization or an aggressive, leading string of words like ďWhatís your problem?Ē or anything said in a tone that raises the anger and the stakes. Any of that elevates the interaction to another level of acrimony. Donít be an escalator. When couples fight thereís no possibility of an individual winner. Either the couple grows stronger or it doesnít.

Also, grudges are like relationship tumors so develop couplesí amnesia, i.e., after you address the problem try to forget about it. I was out to dinner with my parents a few weeks ago and my dad said something that really annoyed my mom but within two minutes she had forgotten it and was laughing with him about something else. Iíve seen him do that for her before. Their relationship amnesia helps make sure their good times are not ruined by one wrong note. Thatís healthier than holding on to grievances or keeping a running tab of them.

(MORE: Tourť: Grammys Fallout: The Subtle Snubbing of Kanye)

3. Be good, giving and game
Thatís what Dan Savage says each member of a  couple owes the other in the bedroom. Be good ó talented at sexual techniques or at least enthusiastic and eager to learn. Be giving ó selfless and looking to please. And be game ó up for anything. A skilled partner whoís generous and willing to explore new ideas is worth their weight in gold. I have definitely had relationships where quality in the bedroom made me far more willing to deal with problems outside the bedroom. Itís not a get out if jail free card, but it can make it clearer what youíre fighting for.

4. Never stop flirting
You can never look at the relationship as settled ó itís something you have to always work at. Not just in terms of always trying to be a better partner but always flirting with your partner and chasing them and courting them as you did when you could count the number of dates youíd had on your fingers. Keep flirting. Keep winning them over.

5. Find mentors
Everyone knows the value of mentors in business but what about in romance? Itís extremely valuable having an older couple to talk to about the problems youíre having which theyíve probably already had. One thing youíll find is that in some ways youíre pretty much going through the same relationship they went through. This is comforting because it lets you know most people arenít any happier than you are. If you know that, then you might as well stay and fight for in the relationship youíre in.

Tourť is the author of four books, including Who's Afraid of Post-Blackness? The views expressed are his own.

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