Married to the one you love? Congrats—you (and everyone else really) deserve all the happiness in the world.
But trouble can and does happen in paradise. Korean golden couple Song Joong Ki and Song Hye Kyo divorced after two years of marriage while Johnny Depp and Amber Heard split about a year after tying the knot. And ICYMI, Liam Hemsworth and Miley Cyrus are now separated after just seven months of getting hitched.
And if you think that you’ll be spared from marital turbulence because you dated your husband for a couple of years before getting married, you just might be surprised.
“It’s not about how long you guys dated for, but what you guys made of the time together,” says Cindy Leong, a relationship coach at Relationship Studio. “You could have been with him five years but did nothing together. Or you could have been with him six months and did self-development courses together in a bid to understand each other better.”
She adds that even when you’ve been with the same person for a long time, you guys may not necessarily have everlasting marital bliss because 1. your view of the relationship might be flawed, 2. your partner may not have revealed his true self during all these years.
Want to do your best in keeping your marriage happy and healthy? Cindy shares five tips.
Photo: Tyler Nix on Unsplash
#1 Stay curious about each other
“It’s important to stay curious about your partner. Don’t assume that you know everything about him or her.”
#2 Be willing to keep trying
‘You might feel tired from having to try repeatedly or you might feel like you’re the only one who’s trying. But you’ve got to remember that he might be trying in ways that you don’t see.”
#3 Practise compassion
“Everybody’s struggles are different and you guys probably struggle with different things, so it’s important to to practise compassion and see how you can support and complement each other.”
Compassion can tend to diminish over time, as compared to when your relationship was fresh and new. Practicing compassion first starts with being attentive to your partner’s needs, and listening to their thoughts. Don’t dismiss their feelings, no matter how absurd you think they are, because everyone feels and processes things differently. Seek to understand where your loved one is coming from without interjecting it with your own opinions.
#4 Be interdependent
“When a couple is in a relationship, it’s no good to be too dependent (too needy), co-dependent (feeding on each other’s ego), or independent (too distant). It can be quite unhealthy, so you should learn to strike a balance and be interdependent.”
Unlike being co-dependent (which can involve trying to always please the other, controlling behaviors and the like), the dynamics of the relationship focuses on having each partner recognise and cherish their emotional bond while sustaining their own individual sense of self. This also includes having healthy boundaries and communication, and cultivating your own self esteem.
#5 Strength communication
When there’s conflict, you should manage the pace of the communication. Some people take a shorter time to process their emotions and thoughts while others require more time. Don’t be too quick to judge and work on a timeline as to when to talk things out.”
A version of this article originally appeared on Cleo Singapore. Additional reporting: Michelle Lee