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Exploring Womanhood > Relationships > Articles

10 Secrets to Keep Your Relationship Working Happily Ever After

Do you have what it takes to make a long-term relationship work?

by Maia Berens

After 23 years in a successful third (!!?) marriage, I've learned 10 Secrets to Keep Your Relationship Working Happily Ever After. Each secret requires certain attributes and strategies to fulfill them. For example:

Secret #1 Deciding who's most important - him or you? requires:
   • Knowing who you really are.
   • Knowing why you are wonderful and worthwhile.
   • Learning how to maintain a high level of awareness of above.
   • Having good boundaries
   • Knowing how to make yourself happy

Secret #2 Make your commitment to the power of the relationship requires:
   • Willingness
   • Maintaining responsibility to fulfill your own needs
   • Moving your ego aside

Secret #3 Tell the emotional truth quickly - but check your timing involves:
   • Emotional integrity
   • Emotional intelligence
   • Ability to forgive

Secret #4 Communicate appropriately involves:
   • Respectfulness
   • Emotional integrity
   • Taking responsibility for your feelings

Secret #5 A matter of respect entails:
   • Discernment
   • No judgment
   • Compassion

Secret #6 Maintain connection, Secret #7 Express appreciation and Secret #8 Make time together that is sacred call for:
   • Gratitude
   • Commitment
   • Learning to take inspired action
   • Self-esteem
   • Willingness
   • Moving your ego out aside
   • Emotional integrity
   • Clear communication
   • No judging

Secret #9 The small stuff vs. the big stuff
   • A wide perspective

Secret #10 Take responsibility
   • Maturity to understand what's important
   • Wisdom
   • Self-esteem
   • Willingness to put your ego aside
   • Desire for happiness rather than need to be right

Secret #1 Deciding who's most important - him or you?

Since the 80's, we've been learning to care about ourselves. The "Me Generation"? So who is most important? Is it me or is it him?

It's both.

In my first marriage we each believed he was most important. We learned from TV icons like June Cleaver, portrayed as always acquiescing to the perfect husband. No one was left unhappy as easy resolution followed with a bit of fatherly wisdom before the end of the show.

The problem with that male-oriented thinking was that in life it didn't work. It made him think he was supposed to be in control of me, and it created unresolved and unexpressed anger and resentment.

But imagine now what it is like when my present husband/partner and I both esteem each other - and ourselves - first. Seem impossible? We've been doing it quite successfully for 25 years.

Example: I'm a picky person with a sensitive body. This translates into me sleeping on a certain side of the bed, having a certain softness/firmness of mattress, traveling with my pillows, etc. Many times my husband enjoyed trying to make me happy and important by catering to those little needs of mine. Having never been treated that way before, I appreciated the heck out of him for all of his attentions (Secret #7).

Now he has neither the time nor energy to cater to much other than the completing of his teaching requirements and taking care that he eats, exercises and gets enough sleep. He is a 75-year-old teacher.

Does this leave me feeling lost or resentful? No. I can take care of myself and I do. I also care that he cares firstly for himself. I love him and rely on him and want to keep him around as long as possible.

I love when he has the time to give me special attention but I'm a complete person who knows her own needs and I am grateful that he knows his.

If I ever feel upset, neglected or at a loss, I quickly communicate my emotional response (Secret #3) and remind myself of my commitment to the power of my relationship (Secret #2).

(Watch for Secrets #2 - #10 over the coming months.)

About the Author:
Maia BerensMaia Berens helps women overcome their blocks to their own growth. Her self-coaching, group and private coaching provides women with the safety to change their lives. For more articles, information and a totally free year of personal growth assignments visit www.allaboutlifecoaching.com and join our Ask A Coach community.

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