This is how long and happy partnerships are formed
If you’re spending a lot of money on marriage today, it’s best to start saving for the divorce lawyer. Because many relationships don’t last forever. More than one-third of all marriages end in divorce court. Every marriage begins with a promise to stay together for life.
How is it then that long and happy relationships are almost the exception rather than the rule? Researchers have shown that long and happy relationships have nothing to do with chance. Rather, it is the product of intensive joint work on the relationship. Now, of course, the question is what each individual can do to get long and happy relationships. Basically, it doesn’t help to always blame the other partner. Everyone is one half of the partnership and plays their part in whether long and happy relationships are possible.
The generous own the world: Long and happy relationships often have in common that at least one partner or both behave very generously towards the other. This does not involve exchanging expensive gifts. What is meant, rather, is indulgence. It often happens that a partner is late. This is of course annoying and the partner often reacts with anger.
This is the first step to the failure of the marriage or the relationship. If you want to have long and happy relationships, you should be lenient and not impute bad intentions to your partner. In most cases, he has a valid reason. Even if he doesn’t have one and it’s part of his character, it’s better to be kind about it.
Generosity no longer plays a major role in today’s world of success and progress. The eminent American psychologist Martin Seligman once did the following experiment with his students in one of his books: He divided them into two groups. A group should do something good for themselves, a trip to the cinema, buy a book or similar things. The second group was given the task of helping another person. Seligman wrote that the result changed lives. Indeed, members of the second group reported significantly greater satisfaction than the first group.
If you want to have long and happy relationships, you can’t take your marriage as a zero-sum game. In a zero-sum game, there is always a winner and a loser. But what matters in long and happy relationships is that both win. Many couples play the zero-sum game until separation or divorce and often don’t even know what the problem was. A zero-sum game is the result of selfishness and the opposite of generosity. Long and happy relationships occur when both partners seek shared experiences that are fun for both. That way they both have a win and there is no loser.
The Austrian psychiatrist Viktor Frankl once said that our freedom lies between reaction and counter-reaction. Those who have long and happy relationships may not know this phrase, but act on it. Suppose one partner is reading a newspaper and the other sees a bird sitting on the windowsill. Now one partner wants to tell the other about this bird. Long and happy relationships have in common that the reading partner responds to the other and shares their interest. It is secondary whether he is interested in birds. For a short time, both partners are one and are interested in the bird. Those who now say that they do not want to pretend are indeed insisting on their right to self-determination, but long and happy relationships are alien to them.
Many people react on impulse, without much thought. It is worthwhile to take a higher level more often and reflect on one’s own behaviour. If you find yourself frequently reacting gruffly to the other partner, you can change that now. How about responding to the next stimulus with genuine interest for once?
The final word in wisdom
“This is the last word in wisdom: Only he earns freedom like life who must conquer it daily”. Goethe has Faust say this famous line in the second part of his drama. For long and happy relationships, this phrase should be the motto. Long and happy relationships are not a product of chance. If you are willing to work on it daily and examine your behavior regularly, you have a chance at long and happy relationships.
At weddings, there is always the phrase that love fades with time. There could hardly be a more meaningless saying. For the social philosopher and psychoanalyst Erich Fromm, love is a capacity (to be read in his book “The Art of Loving”). For those who understand love in this way, everything changes. He knows that long and happy relationships depend on him alone.