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#OurVoices: What makes a successful marriage?
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#OurVoices: What makes a successful marriage?

Happenings

#OurVoices: What makes a successful marriage?

There are many ingredients to a successful marriage but these three points, that I call the 3 A’s of marriage are key, and foundational to any marriage:

1. Accept

You should be accepting of the other person. Never communicate to your spouse that they are in some way flawed, broken, or do not measure up. Acceptance does not mean being happy with all your spouse’s flaws. It does mean however, that knowing those flaws, you choose to be patient with your spouse as he or she works on becoming a better person. It means that you accept the whole person and not just see your spouse in the light of their flaws. Do not hold your wife’s faults over her head. Do not compare your husband unfavorably to other men. When people are loved and accepted, they rise to become better versions of themselves.

2. Adjust

In marriage, you have to adjust to living with another person, their wants, needs and desires; their flaws and foibles, their habits. Do they drop their socks on the floor? No problem! Pick them up, step over them, or drop yours on the floor too! *LOL*. Do they squeeze the toothpaste from the middle? Again, no problem! Join them, rearrange the toothpaste tube after them or buy another tube of toothpaste. I hear you ask, what about the serious stuff? You still have to adjust to the fact that what you see as serious, as a heart attack may not be that serious to your spouse and vice versa. Adjustment means to learn the other person’s communication styles and respond accordingly. People run into problems when they take on a prideful attitude of “I don’t have to adjust”, “I am who I am” etc.This does not work in the real world of marriage. Sometimes, you have to do things just to keep the other person happy! Many times, it is taught that women are meant to adapt and adjust and that men do not have to. This is a lie! Marriage is a partnership, in which no one is superior to the other, so both spouses have to adapt to the other person in order for the marriage to be successful.

3. Allow

Make allowances. No one is perfect, therefore no marriage is perfect. Make allowances for the PMS, and the had-a-bad-day-at-work; and the had-a-bad-day-at-home; and the burnt dinner; and the fall-asleep-during-foreplay; and the I-forgot-my-keys(again). Each spouse needs to make allowances for the other person’s not so stellar times. When you do this, they can let down their hair, and relax, and make allowances for you too. If you do not make allowances for your spouse’s “off days”, choosing to be picky and judgmental; you will make them defensive, and be subject to unnecessary fights as they too begin to call you out on your flaws!

It’s time for us to do the work it takes to make sure our marriages survive the test of time. Are you ready?

– Shola Shade Ezeokoli is a physician at Advocate Medical Group, USA; and a motivational speaker.