Singaporebrides | Weddings 101

June 2012

Recipe to an Everlasting Marriage

With the wedding (and planning!) finally behind you, you can hardly wait to embark on your life as a wife. In your head, both you and your man are galloping towards Happily Ever After together. Only, things are slightly different from what you imagined it to be – the road seems riddled with bumps and the ride isn’t half as pleasant as you thought it would be. Not all married couples travel on this path, but most do, and if you find yourself one of the majority, don’t despair. Let SingaporeBrides show you some tricks for a smooth journey towards a long-lasting marriage.

The one thing you should know about marriage is that married life brings different challenges to the table than that of courtship. Courtship is a time where your relationship began with a bang – reality is temporarily suspended, emotions run high and in your head, fireworks go off. It is also a time where you experience the honeymoon period, a time most couples would unanimously agree is the best phase of their courtship. Once you step into marriage, though, not only will the honeymoon period be nowhere in sight, those intense feelings for your partner would have cooled as reality sets in. You settle into a routine and the next thing you know, stagnation, among other things, threatens to extinguish even that last flicker of passion between you and your partner.

But here’s some good news for you: that doesn’t need to be the case. Beat complacency and other common marital problems by acquainting yourself with them and the methods to eradicate them. Then, reintroduce that honeymoon period into your marriage to keep that flame between the two of you burning strong and long. To help you, SingaporeBrides spoke to two readers, Tracy Tho and Joycelyn Neo, to bring you the most accurate and real advice on sustaining a long-lasting marriage. Having spent more than a decade with their partners, they dish out the tips that they have tried and tested in their marriages.

Communication

When asked what they thought was the most important element in a successful relationship, both Tracy and Joycelyn agreed unanimously that communication is the key to any successful relationship.

“Daniel and I would spend time talking to each other in the evening when we’re home from work,” Tracy says. Happily married for 13 years to her husband, Daniel, she shares that they still talk about everything under the sun. Joycelyn, too, knows how important communication is in a relationship and strongly advocates other couples to practice it, like she does in her 11-year long relationship with her husband. “Frequent communication also strengthens the bond between the couple ‑ it allows you to exchange and understand mutual demands and expectations.”

But that doesn’t mean you communicate blindly either. Like how every relationship is unique to itself, every couple communicates differently. Sharing about her day with her husband might work for Tracy, but it doesn’t mean it’ll work for you and your partner. For Joycelyn, she and her husband, Jonathan, keeps each other updated on their daily lives by making pillow talk mandatory.

So, don’t just talk. Figure out the best way and time for both of you to communicate with each other.

Trust

Trust is undeniably another key ingredient to a happy and long-lasting marriage. “Trust keeps suspicions and unnecessary accusations at bay,” Joycelyn adds. Trust takes time to form but sometimes, even then, you still need to blindly trust your spouse to do the right thing. And for some, that thought might seem daunting because doing so puts you out in the open, making you susceptible to hurt. But know this: having complete trust in your spouse doesn’t guarantee happiness or success, but not having it most definitely results in the demise of a relationship.

Fun in the Sheets

No, I’m not referring to laundry time; I’m talking about sex. I’ll bet some of you’ve never heard anyone tell you how important a role sex plays in a healthy and long-lasting relationship, have you? Well, it is an important essential in any long-lasting relationship, and it’s not because I said so. Joycelyn shares with us what sex does for your relationship and why it is important.

“Do not always put sex as the last priority. It should be placed at the top because good love-making sessions allow you to act out the love you have for your spouse and strengthen your emotional bond with one another,” she explains.

If you’ve been guilty of putting sex last on your list, it’s time to put a stop to it. While sex might not make a marriage, a lack thereof may cause a little “tension” – and I’m not referring to the sexual tension that will lead to a session of frolicking in bed. Being physically intimate with your partner promotes feelings of love, happiness and contentment, allowing you to reconnect with each other as a couple. And while you’re at it, you might as well learn how to be good in bed – get saucy tips from friends, magazines or the Internet, it doesn’t matter. Not only will it keep things in the bedroom fresh and exciting throughout the years, you’ll also be able to surprise your spouse and give him something to look forward to in the bedroom.

So, work your way to a happy marriage by going at it with your husband like a pair of bunnies. Expect big smiles, happy thoughts, lesser tension, greater emotional bond and burn calories (I don’t know about you, but it sounds like a great deal to me) after the act. Now, off you go.

When “Forever” Really Means Forever

Have you ever thought about the meaning of your marital vows or pondered about what it really means to marry someone? Well, if your answer is no, you don’t have to feel sheepish about it because neither have I – until recently, that is. A quote I came across in an article I read gave me an epiphany about marriage and what it means to step into matrimony.

“Marriage is not conditional; it is permanent.”

And indeed it is.

Love is and should always be unconditional. There is no difference under the sun you cannot work out unless it’s something serious, like spousal abuse. You endure and work things through together; there is no abandoning ship just because you’ve come across a crack or two. That, is what marriage is.

“We make a point never to mention the words ‘break up’ during our arguments,” Joycelyn shares, “even if we argue on every single thing and no matter how physically and emotionally tired we are.”

And if you recall your marital vows, you’ll notice these words: “for better, for worse… until death do us part” Make these words count, and make an effort to practice your vows every day of your marriage.

Flowers Are Not a Synonym For Love

Flowers and gifts are common expressions of love most couples engage in but don’t be mistaken that a lack of those means your man doesn’t love you as much as your girl friends’ romantic partners love them. Gary Chapman, author of The Five Love Languages, identifies five primary ways individuals express and understand love – through words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service and physical touch. He argues that while all five languages are important, an individual will usually speak one primary language.

So, if your spouse doesn’t shower you with flowers or gifts, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you; it simply means he speaks a different love language. What you can do, is to recognise his primary love language and learn it, like Tracy. “Daniel is not the romantic, flower-giving sort,” Tracy reveals. “Instead, what he does is so much more. He gives me massages after a long day at work and sits patiently by me and listens while I rant about a bad day at work.”

The next time you’re about to give your spouse a hard time on not getting you flowers for your anniversary, think again: is he showing his love for you in another language?

Get Mundane Out of The Picture

There is no doubt that we are all well acquainted with the comfort of a familiar and comfortable day-to-day routine. But in the long-run, things can get a little mundane with the same routine. You might even find yourself forgetting the reasons you found your spouse attractive. If you do find yourself here, don’t panic – you’re not the first or last couple to do so.

Keep things interesting by changing your routine up from time to time, like Tracy does with her husband. “Once in a while, Daniel and I would catch a movie or go prawn fishing on the weekends. Or, sometimes, we’d go on a short vacation to neighbouring countries or indulge in spa retreats in town.”

Having a newborn in the picture is no excuse for letting your relationship go stale either. Joycelyn juggles being a new mother, a career woman and a wife simultaneously by sneaking in some together-time with her husband whenever they can. “We make time for dates to get in some quality time and also fully utilise this time to communicate with each other,” she shares.

The bottom line is, it doesn’t matter what you choose to do; what matters is you make a conscious effort to liven things up in your marriage.

One Marriage, Two Individuals

Forget that “two become one” notion of marriage. Saying your “I do’s” doesn’t automatically fuse you and your spouse into one physical being. You remain as two separate individuals, each with your own social circles and hobbies.

Running in separate social circles and enjoying different hobbies can be a good thing for your marriage. You’ll never want for conversation topics, and you’ll never have that argument about having no personal space. Spending time apart from each other has its own benefits too – it allows you to miss him. As they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder.

So, plan regular girls’ night out or go on a vacation without your spouse and encourage him to do the same. Of course, from time to time, you can include your man in gatherings and enjoy the same hobbies. But remember, you’re both not obligated to say yes just because you’re married.

The Art of Appreciation

When you’re in a relationship for an extended period of time, it’s easy to take your spouse or certain gestures for granted. Both Joycelyn and Tracy admit to taking their spouses’ offer to take over household chores for granted. Usually, Daniel offers to help out with the housework. One time, after a particularly tiring day, Daniel didn’t offer his hand to help, and Tracy blew her top. “It was then that it dawned on me that I had taken him for granted,” Tracy admits sheepishly. “Immediately, I apologised profusely.”

Throw a newborn into the picture and it becomes even easier for you to take things for granted. “It became a must for my husband to help out with the chores after Carys was born,” Joycelyn admits.

Always remember to show appreciation or gratitude to your spouse whenever they help you out with a chore, or do something special for you. Never take it as granted just because you’re married.

“Patience, love, respect, good communication and trust – that’s what long-lasting marriages are built upon,” Tracy wisely concludes. So, you see, the secret to a happy and long-lasting marriage is really quite simple. Read up on more tips on how to keep your marriage happy and be inspired by these real life stories.