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7 Powerful Ways to Keep Your Love Alive ...article from a marriage therapist

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7 powerful ways to keep your love alive

by sharon rivkin, m.a., m.f.t., for hitched


sharon m. rivkin, marriage and family therapist, and author of "the first argument: cutting to the root of intimate conflict," (www.thefirstargument.com) has worked with couples for 25-plus years. her unique insight into the first argument was featured in "o: the oprah magazine" and "reader's digest," and has attracted people throughout the u.s. and abroad for consultation, workshops, and courses. for more information on sharon rivkin visit www.sharonrivkin.com

when we fall in love, we usually think that's all we'll need to be happy. however, when reality sets in and we have our first real argument, we get hit with the realization that our partner isn't perfect.

in the beginning of a relationship we do our best to give our partner the benefit of the doubt, expressing our love and goodwill, even when we're upset. however, as time goes on, it can get harder to resolve arguments and, therefore, harder to feel loving and forgiving towards our partner. it's at these times that we start to ask ourselves, is there a secret to making a relationship last? is it really possible to live happily ever after?

the answer to these questions is, "yes!" however, the hardest question to answer is: how do we do it? how do i have a lasting, happy relationship that doesn't end in a painful breakup?

the first thing to remember is that keeping a partnership healthy and happy requires work and that it will not happen on its own -- just like a flower won't grow if it isn't watered and fed. relationships need nurturing, tending to, time, and energy! we often forget that a couple contains two human beings who both need to be appreciated, heard, valued, and respected.

with this in mind, here are seven ways to make your relationship last:

1. keep the lines of communication open. if you don't know how to express your feelings and/or have poor listening skills, learn to get better at both. you can read a book, take a class, or get into counseling. good communication requires both the ability to express and listen.

2. don't sweep your fights under the rug and think they'll magically resolve themselves. do your best to resolve your first argument as soon as it arises so you won't have the same argument for the next 50 years, in different forms.

3. remember that you love your partner; therefore, you want the best for her/him. give her/him the benefit of the doubt when you feel angry, hurt, or disappointed. talk to your partner; don't make assumptions.

4. don't take your partner for granted. tell your partner every day something you appreciate about her/him and how grateful you are to have them in your life.

5. your partner should never feel like your enemy. if they do, something is wrong; remember that you fell in love with this person. if there's so much anger that you feel like you are enemies, get help somewhere as quickly as possible.

6. gauge your relationship. notice and don't ignore the warning signs if you're not talking, you're less affectionate, you're fighting all the time, and you're not happy. the sooner you acknowledge you're having problems, the sooner you can begin to solve them.

7. always remember that you have the power to change behaviors in your relationship through different tools of self-discovery. you don't have to stay stuck in unhealthy ruts.

good, lasting relationships are made up of two conscious individuals who have the desire to work on themselves with the determination to stay focused on the importance of their relationship. they do not take their partner for granted. they have their partner's best interest at heart and, therefore, build trust with their partner. when arguments come up, they don't ignore them. they address the issues and try to resolve them. when they see warning signs that their relationship could be in trouble, they act immediately and look for new ways to relate to each other.

this can be accomplished by anyone who is willing to take the time and energy to make their relationship a priority in their life. nurture your partnership as it so richly deserves! you can live happily ever after, not with magic, but with work, awareness, and knowledge of yourself and your partner.

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very substantial advice...

for any meaningful relationship in your life.

not only marriage.

thank you, for a much-needed reminder.


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Having gone through turbulent times in my marriage, I can only agree. In the beginning of a relationship, we're all marketing experts, but sooner or later we realize that we didn't come with a warranty and little by little we tend to drop the very behaviors that won us affection in the first place. We can forget that we willingly made a choice and that the responsibilty that came with this choice is ours.

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My husband and I have "date night" every Sunday without fail. No kids. Out to dinner and to a movie. It's our time together and we make sure we spend it alone. Most important thing in a marriage is staying connected, no matter what.

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I had a funny response about it... but I am scarred of virtual stalkers....so I could send you the response by PM at request, lol.

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