Long-term relationships and successful marriages don’t just magically happen — they have to be worked at, consistently and enthusiastically, by both parties to stand any chance of surviving. That’s what relationship expert and author Mark Manson found when, after getting married himself, he reached out to a whole bunch of people for their thoughts on what makes their own unions work.
Manson’s findings, which he wrote up in a lengthy piece for Quartz, were surprisingly repetitive. Whether respondents were happily married for decades or on their third or fourth try, the same things kept popping up. Among the answers Manson received were calls to always show each other respect, to know how to fight properly, and — arguably the golden rule — to be together for the right reasons.
Falling in love is easy, but staying in love — particularly over time, when losses both financial and personal threaten to derail you, along with many other life challenges — isn’t. Luckily, it turns out that this one, simple rule in particular is easy to implement and could make a world of difference to your own relationship.
Manners mean everything in successful marriages
Tying into what Mark Manson discovered about respect — and why it’s so important, especially as time passes, to treat each other well no matter what — PureWow advises that being mannerly can make a considerable difference to your marriage, too. Regardless of how long it’s been, or what kind of mood you’re in — even if you’re mid-argument and want to tear each other’s heads off — it costs nothing to be polite.
It turns out that small gestures, such as warming up your partner’s car or even simply passing the salt over dinner, mean so much more the longer you’re together. However, neglecting to simply acknowledge such small acts of consideration and kindness by saying “please,” “thank you,” or indeed showing “any sign of gratitude” toward your partner — builds resentment. Thankfully, once you’re aware of it, showing gratitude is much easier to do and, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. According to a study published in the Personal Relationships journal, “What distinguishes the marriages that last from those that don’t is not how often they argue, but how they argue and how they treat each other on a daily basis.”
So, even if you’ve just had a horrible argument, these simple acts of kindness and gratitude are what matter in the long run of a successful relationship.
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