What is the secret to a happily ever after?

Real Relationship Advice

As CoupleDumb continues our reader question, we continue to encourage everyone to send us questions. Trust us, there is a lot of stupid information out there and you have a better chance at creating a healthy, happy relationship if you ask CoupleDumb. Today’s question is simple:

What is the secret to a happily ever after?

The secret is less like a secret sauce and more like a cat’s cradle. There are many CoupleDumb-isms that we have proffered before that are the treasures that have made our relationship work the best it can.

1. Choose to love: Our spouse will upset us. Our spouse will have bad days. Our spouse will make mistakes. What we recommend is that you choose to love them in these instances. We are programmed to be defensive and take everything personally. If you would understand that the behavior of others very rarely has anything to do with you then you will find that you are hardly ever defensive. In relationship this does not excuse behavior but you do not have to take the bait. Choose to love. If he leaves the seat up, choose to love. If she nags, choose to love. If he is forgetful, choose to love. If she is forgetful, choose to love.

2. Say Thank You and Please: We have been together for 25 years. We still say thank you and please for behaviors that are routine. Paul brings me coffee, I say thank you. I make him dinner, he says thank you. We have great sex, we thank each other. Courtesy is the foundation of civilization, not because it creates a perfunctory society based on correctness but because Thank you and Please assumes that being considerate is a choice and choosing to be courteous is a big deal.

3. Be crazy for each other: One of the ways we ‘lose that loving feeling’ is that we stop doing the little things we did in the beginning of a relationship. We get lazy. We stop giving massages. We stop writing each other notes. We stop being considerate and making public displays of affection. These little things are reminders of being loved. It is the romance and naughtiness and the cheesiness and the nauseating machinations of a love addled brain and they are necessary for your spouse to feel special. I knew a couple that was together from their late teens into their 90s. They died within a month of each other. Every day, regardless of what it was, the husband gave her a gift. Some days it was a flower picked from the yard.  Some days he would write her a poem. He said, “I always want her to know I am thinking of her”.

The secrets are simple but require a thoughtfulness that is missing in those who become complacent. Complacency is the cancer of a relationship.

Come back tomorrow as we look at other relationship questions.

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