**This is the longest blog post I have ever written. It has been written for awhile now and I have been debating whether or not to post it. But, I guess if you are reading it, I hit the publish button!**
Marriage: An Overview
Statistics scream that marriage is hard. It’s true! So many end in divorce these days. Some marriages end because of financial problems, some end because the grass on the other side was far too tempting, and in Taiwan, a lot end because of the in-laws.
And I don’t need to consult the statistics to know that most marriages end in divorce. Three of my friends got married the same year as I did and are now divorced. The first one ended in record time [in less than six months] when they relocated to his hometown and they just couldn’t see eye to eye. Another one ended when the guy came out of the closet [true story], while the latter ended two kids later, when he cheated and chose ‘her’ over my friend. So, out of the four weddings that year, my marriage was the only one that surpassed year five and has now reached double digits, ‘the big 10.’
I would like to say that married life has been all roses [and you know how much I love flowers], but marriage can be challenging at times and it can be even more challenging if the couple doesn’t work together. Luckily for us, our challenges have been few and far between. And when there has been, we faced these challenges together and some of the obstacles have even made our relationship stronger [especially one in particular that made us realize that life is precious and we should treasure all the good in our life each and every day.]
We are by no means relationship ‘experts,’ but I would like to think that we know a thing or two about making a marriage work. We realize that love and lust are important to a foundation of a marriage, but they can only go so far [so these points will not be discussed]. Here are some keys factors to a healthy and happy marriage [according to us.] Some are by no means secrets, but they work for us. And we hope that from reading through these factors, they will strengthen your marriage, relationship, or if you are single, you are more aware of what it takes to have a long-term successful relationship and marriage.
So, in no particular order, here we go:
 Open Verbal Communication & The Power to Listen Carefully
If something about your spouse is bothering you, then deal with it!! Because let’s face it! Most of us are not mind readers, so it is important to verbally communicate to your partner what you are thinking or how you are feeling. Your feelings will not transfer automatically by osmosis nor will they disappear if you don’t talk about them. You need to discuss them and get them out in the open because problems or issues will not go away – they will fester and become way bigger and become combustible the more time they are left unresolved. Also, the key is to not jump down each other’s throats, but rather listen carefully and try to meet somewhere in the middle, in neutral water or on comprising grounds. Also, make sure you listen to your partner and understand where they are coming from.
I may be a private person about certain aspects of my life, but I am also the type of person who has no job expressing her feelings or saying what it on her mind. My husband, on the other hand, wasn’t really good at telling me what was bothering him and I felt that sometimes I had to pry it out of him. However, after being together for over fourteen [!!] years, we are very open and honest which makes it easier for us to help each other.
 Keep Finances in Order
It is important to be on the same page in terms of money and if not, discuss it. I have heard from people all too often that the wife is a spender, but the husband isn’t, or vice versa. Having differing views regarding money is a ticking time bomb. Poor spending habits can lead to a lack of money which will lead to conflict and thus, strain on the marriage. However, even if you have differing views, it is not the end of the world, and compromise is the key. Working together can alleviate the burden.
My husband and I see eye to eye in terms of our finances. Neither one of us are big spenders and when we are going to make a big purchase, we usually discuss our options and arrive at a decision together. We do like to treat each other to expensive things from time to time, but it is not an every day thing. We are careful with our money because we are not from wealthy families and I personally know what it is like to be poor. Money to us equals security.
 Respect Each Other **and Each other Cultures** [if you are an interracial couple]
Respect is a key component of any relationship. If there is no respect, then it is hard to tick off the other boxes for a happy and successful marriage. And what I mean by that is you have to respect each other’s thoughts and opinions. You don’t need to agree with them, but you need to realize that everyone is entitle to their own thought process, even if it is different from yours. Plus, if you say if you are going to do something, then do it. It is a way to build not only respect, but also trust. And this one is even more sufficient if you are in an interracial relationship where there are different customs and values.
My husband and I are an interracial couple. With regards to our different cultures, my husband and I view it as a asset. We get to celebrate holidays from two cultures and we get to learn about each other’s traditions. My in-laws are very open-minded and are such an awesome bunch of people [they really truly are], so they have never ‘pushed’ their way of thinking on me.
 Make Time For Each Other, Do ‘The Little Things’ & Be ‘There’ For Each Other!
Another aspect of maintaining a successful and happy marriage is to keep the magic alive. Allocate time to do something fun together. If your spouse is going through a hard time, be there for him or her. And do a little thing or two regularly to show the love of your life that you appreciate him or her.
My husband and I always make time for each other each and every day. For example, we enjoy a morning coffee together and always have dinner together. We go on regular ‘dates’ to our favorite restaurants. But, I think the thing that truly wins my heart are the little things – giving me the first bloom from our backyard, having dinner on the table when I get home, or buying a little gift for no reason.
 Spend Time Apart Pursuing Individual Interests
It is important to spend time pursuing things that interest you. Maybe it is a hobby that you enjoy or maybe it is a class you want to take. No matter what, it is important to keep doing the things that you enjoy, even after marriage.
For example, my husband is an avid cyclist. On weekdays, he cycles every other day after work and on weekends, he takes to the roads for a long four to five hour ride. He also participates in several cycling events covering a distance of 100 KM. It is not only a great stress reliever, but a form of exercise that he thoroughly enjoys. Plus, he doesn’t do it alone. For the weekend rides and events, it is much more than exercise as he cycles with a group of his buddies. He gets to chat with them and they eat together. And along the way, he usually lines [are you familiar with the app called Line?] me some pictures of the views [as he knows I would appreciate the pictures of the scenery taken along his route.]
And while he is off doing his own thing, I usually have a meal or coffee with some of my friends, followed by some window shopping. But, if I am not doing that, I will take advantage of the alone time and the silence, and use the time to write.
Then, at the end of the day, it is nice to hear about how each of our day’s went and to share the events of the day with each other.
Now, over to you! Did we leave any of the important points out? What do you think is the key to maintaining a successful relationship or marriage? Be sure to leave your thoughts and opinions in the comment box below!