I've talked to and a coached a vast number of people about dating, love, and relationships.
Recently I spoke with a woman who has been "happily" married to the same man for 23 years. That's pretty incredible, amazing, and terrific. This couple beat the odds. Find out below the characteristics that have kept their marriage alive.
More than 60% of all first marriages fail, and almost 80% of second marriages fail. We're doing something wrong. So what can we do to increase our chances of having successful relationships?
1. Hang out with happily married people and those who are in successful, committed relationships. As the Cowardly Lion in the movie The Wizard of Oz once said, "What do they have that I ain't got?" A happy relationship. Ask them to mentor you.
2. Know what you want. Be very clear about the four or five (not twenty) requirements you must have in a partner. Make a brief list of what are your deal-makers and what are your deal-breakers. And don't make a shopping list. Those with shopping lists are always shopping and seem to be on mission impossible.
3. Become friends first. Friendship creates a sound basis for an enduring relationship. "Anyone who falls in love quickly can fall out of love just as quickly. Life is not a two hour made for television movie."
I spoke with a woman who has been happily married for three years. She and her husband were friends for eleven years before they dated.
4. Treat your lovers and partners as well as you do your friends. Isn't it amazing how we make excuses for our friends but not for our partners? Why is it that we usually expect more from our lovers than our friends?
5. Make trust and communication the top priorities in your relationship. The woman I spoke with who has been happily married identified trust and communication as the main reasons her marriage has been so successful.
6. Remember that the purpose of a relationship is to love. The way to learn about love is to give love.
7. Be open to love. Unless you're open to it, love will pass you by. You see, love could be anywhere and come from anyone. You never know if your next date is going to be your last first date or if you have come face-to-face with your soul mate.
I recently spoke to someone who, when he went to his twenty year high school reunion, saw high school sweetheart again. Both were divorced and available. Their eyes met and they fell in love all over again. And the rest is history.
Another woman, after thirty years, contacted her college sweetheart. They spoke on the phone. It seems, that although they had each gone on with their lives and married and divorced other people, they never forgot one another. In connecting again, they both realized they had found what they had once lost - their soul mate.
One of the happiest couple I know met each other in a parking lot. He stopped to ask for directions. Now that's incredible! How many men are willing to admit they don't know where they are going? Because he didn't let his ego get in the way, he met the woman of his dreams.
Love is everywhere. Believe in love and you'll see it. Your sweetie could be standing in front of you at Starbucks, running next to you on the treadmill at the gym, in a personal ad on the Internet, your next blind date, or your best friend. Keep your heart open and your eyes open because you just never know where you'll find love. The one thing I know for sure is that love IS possible. And that love can happen to you…if you let it.