|Tips for a Happy Marriage|
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First, many of us Baby Boomers began our relationships without a strong commitment to the idea of marriage. We were the first generation to live together before marriage in large numbers. Today, some of that lack of commitment is still causing couples to give up on their relationships at the first sign of trouble. Of course, if you are in a relationship that involves what is known as the three "A's" ... abuse, addiction or adultery ... you may be wise to leave. Otherwise, simply believing that a committed relationship is important may be very effective in reducing the chances that your relationship will flounder.
In addition to commitment, we all need to accept that there are no perfect marriages. As much as the movies still depict the concept of "happily ever after," we Baby Boomers need to realize that relationships are complicated and messy. Your partner will have some irritating habits; you do, too!
Communication is another important factor in maintaining a healthy marriage. My husband and I have known couples that have gone to a marriage counselor for years, in order to keep the lines of communication open. My husband and I have not had to go to that length, but we have found it important to sit down and simply chat once in a while. Honesty and the willingness to listen are important factors in healthy communication.
Have fun together and separately! While it is important to have date nights, and spend time together doing things you both enjoy, it is also important that you both spend time separately. There is nothing wrong with the husband playing golf with his buddies, or the wife going off on a girl's weekend once in a while. Like everything else in a marriage, there needs to be balance ... time together as well as time apart. This may be especially important after you are both retired. Baby Boomers need to take heed of this. Too much time together can actually increase the strain on your relationship!
Split the chores fairly. There is no such thing as "man's work" or "woman's work." She can take out the trash, do the gardening or hang a painting. He can cook some of the meals or do the dishes and laundry. Especially as the two of you become empty-nesters and, eventually, retirees, it is important to be flexible about your roles. Do what works best for the two of you, without preconceived notions. You'll both be happier and more relaxed.
Finally, never forget to show each other affection and respect. Both are essential for a loving relationship that lasts for decades.
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