Divorced couples learn through hindsight about the challenges two people face when living together week after week, month after month in today’s stress-filled world. It takes awareness, flexibility, great communication skills and the ability to understand your partner’s perspective to make a relationship work – and that’s just for routine life experiences. Throw in accidents, sickness, job loss and other major stressors, not to mention the complexities that come with having children, and it’s easy to understand why so many marriages fail and too often end in divorce.
If you’re divorced or recovering from a long-term relationship and looking to find a healthier, happier relationship ahead, or marrying for the first time and want to avoid relationship disasters, here are some tips that are worth serious consideration:
- Know your partner well — during the good times and the bad. It’s after you face disagreements, nursing your partner through an illness and other life challenges that you find out who you are really contemplating spending the rest of your life with. If what you discover makes you uncomfortable, have some serious conversations – or move on before making any further commitments.
- Don’t expect to be “completed,” “saved,” or “fixed.” No one can fill the void in your inner self. You’re setting your partner up for failure if you expect them to fix your problems and love you through your unresolved issues. Do the inner work on yourself first, perhaps with the support of a therapist or coach. Heal your wounds and neediness. Then seek out another soul who has done the same to partner with you.
- Be hooked on more than just romance. Happily married couples will tell you that you have to be more than great bedmates to make a real relationship work. Look for common values, goals, beliefs and interests. Opposites may attract in the short-term, but you want a marriage based on respect and sharing a future together. If your core values and interests are not in alignment, you’re facing a tougher road ahead.
- Be your authentic self – and don’t change for a partner’s approval. You can’t fake your way through a marriage. If you hate sports, the internet or pets, state it up front and find a mate who loves you knowing this reality. It’s unfair to hide your true self from your partner and it’s a disservice to yourself pretending to be who you are not. It’s wise to honor who you are. Then look for a partner with high self-esteem who loves themselves as they are. That’s a formula for lasting relationship success!
Relationships don’t have storybook endings. They require constant attention, the ability to sacrifice and compromise at times, and a heavy dose of respect for the person you brought into your life.
Before setting out in the relationship world, work on your inner demons, let go of the baggage from previous relationships, and take your time in getting to know the special partner you are choosing. There’s no magic wand that will make your relationship succeed, but these guidelines will set you on a course that will circumvent a lot of potholes along the road to happily ever after.
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Rosalind Sedacca, CDC is a Divorce and Relationship Coach. She is founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network for parents and author of the internationally acclaimed ebook: How Do I Tell the Kids About the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children – With Love! She is also co-author of 99 Things Women Wish They Knew Before Dating After 40, 50 & Yes, 60! Her free ebook on Post-Divorce Parenting: Success Strategies for Getting It Right is available at www.childcentereddivorce.com. Rosalind’s free dating ebook can be found at www.womendatingafter40.com.