BE THE BET­TER HALF

There’s only so much you can do to help Hubby im­prove. You also have to look be­yond his faults and let go of your frus­tra­tions to build a hap­pier re­la­tion­ship.

Simply Her (Singapore) - - Help Your Hubby -

Happy cou­ples ex­pe­ri­ence all the moans and headaches that are part of any re­la­tion­ship, but they’ve de­vel­oped a way of re­lat­ing to each other that kin­dles and sus­tains their in­ti­macy, de­spite their prob­lems. Here are the most im­por­tant lessons you need to re­mem­ber for your own hap­pily ever af­ter.

• Happy cou­ples know Prince Charm­ing and Cin­derella fought over TV chan­nels.

Happy pairs go through phases when they re­gard each other as baf­fling, bor­ing, even re­pug­nant. But just be­cause you feel mildly homi­ci­dal to­wards some­one doesn’t mean you don’t love them!

Many cou­ples say their big­gest love strug­gle – and ul­ti­mate vic­tory – was read­just­ing their (rosily naive) ex­pec­ta­tions. “I used to think love meant I’d never feel lonely, scared, dis­sat­is­fied or even un­happy again,” laughs Han­nah, 28. “What a fairy tale. My hus­band and I ex­pe­ri­ence oc­ca­sional dishar­mony, but it’s part of the rich tex­ture of our love. And, that at­ti­tude has helped us de­velop the pa­tience, trust and emo­tional self-re­liance to get through the rough patches.”

Re­la­tion­ships go through phases. Once the feel­ing of ela­tion is gone and you re­alise your hus­band isn’t per­fect, you need to be able to ne­go­ti­ate with him and see his good and bad points. You have to learn to lis­ten, in­stead of re­ly­ing on ev­ery­thing be­ing glowy for­ever.

• Happy cou­ples turn fight­ing into an art form (and en­joy mak­ing up af­ter­wards).

There is no such thing as an in­ti­mate re­la­tion­ship that doesn’t in­volve an oc­ca­sional screamer. Rows don’t mean you don’t care, they mean you do.

Re­search shows what keeps cou­ples to­gether or breaks them up is not how much they love each other or whether they have a good sex life, but how they han­dle their prob­lems. Happy cou­ples use emo­tional fric­tion as a form of com­mu­ni­ca­tion. They work as a team. They don’t get stuck in “it’s my way or no way” ruts. They find an “our way”.

“Not all fights will be re­solved,” warns Chris, 29, a teacher. “Some­times we ar­gue and some­times we just ac­cept our dif­fer­ences and ne­go­ti­ate.”

• Happy cou­ples sulk, rage and then for­give.

For­giv­ing and for­get­ting are nec­es­sary for a cou­ple to be happy. If you can say to your hus­band, “I’m re­ally sorry we had that fight”, you are tak­ing steps to­wards deal­ing with what­ever the prob­lem was.

To let go of mi­nor grievances is also to for­give. Jan, 28, knows her hus­band will for­get to switch off lights, be late for most ap­point­ments, never clean the bath and eat the last choco­late in the box.

“But,” she says, “he knows I’ll hog the du­vet, lock us out of the house reg­u­larly and also eat the last choco­late in the box. We could bicker over these things, but it’s too ex­haust­ing. Any­way, the good stuff out­weighs the bad.”

No one is say­ing it’s easy to for­give. How­ever, isn’t it just as hard – and less worth­while – to hold on to anger?

• Happy cou­ples laugh to­gether.

A re­cent study sug­gests that 70 per cent of a cou­ple’s sat­is­fac­tion may de­pend on mak­ing each other laugh and feel op­ti­mistic. A shared sense of hu­mour helps high­light sim­i­lar­i­ties and strengthen the in­ti­mate bond. Like­wise, there is noth­ing like a well-timed joke to defuse a tense mo­ment.

• Happy cou­ples say “thank you” and “please”.

Love should be a mu­tual ap­pre­ci­a­tion club. This means treat­ing your hus­band bet­ter than your busi­ness as­so­ciates and friends. It also means re­mem­ber­ing to say “please” and “thank you”, even “I un­der­stand you”. Think about it. How of­ten has your day been up­lifted by an act of kind­ness – a cup of tea in bed or a lift to the train sta­tion?

• Happy cou­ples don’t kiss and tell (about her smelly feet and his dread­ful snor­ing).

Very few people can han­dle the to­tal truth. Which is why ex­perts preach, ahem, se­lec­tive hon­esty with your part­ner. “It’s a judg­ment call,” says Dr Bon­nie Ja­cob­son, founder of the New York In­sti­tute for Psy­cho­log­i­cal Change. “Are you bar­ing your soul to hurt the other per­son or be­cause you be­lieve be­ing hon­est will help strengthen your bond?”

And re­mem­ber, there are some things in a re­la­tion­ship you should never re­veal to any­one else, even your friends. Gos­sip­ing about your hus­band shows a lack of re­spect for him, and one of the most im­por­tant el­e­ments of a happy re­la­tion­ship is re­spect.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Singapore

© PressReader. All rights reserved.