"There's no single formula for a successful marriage, every couple is unique," says Counselling Psychologist Dr Margaret Kagwe.
"Though there are general rules that help make a marriage successful, every couple must make an effort to overcome their unique circumstances," she says.
According to Dr Kagwe, it is best to resolve conflicts in marriage as soon as they occur as cold war is a relationship killer that breeds contempt. She also advises couples to:
· Try out new experiences together -- This deepens your vulnerability towards each other and eventually creates a stronger team.
· Spend time together -- Time spent together ensures that a couple shares in each other’s struggles and successes thus creating a stronger bond.
· Maintain routines and family rituals -- These are holidays, anniversaries, long drives or walks together. Guard them jealously; they give you something to look forward to.
· Make having fun together a habit -- Laughing and talking to each other freely increases chances of wanting to do it again and again.
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· Communication -- It is key in keeping the love aglow. It is words, touch, gaze or listening that sends messages of love and affection.
· Own each other’s dreams -- Let your partners' dreams be your business. Do not compete with their dreams but offer support in accomplishing them. In doing this you end up spending more time together and helps in reducing conflicting interests.
· Do not compare your relationship with others -- Focus on creating your own magic. Sometimes the grass is not as green on the other side. Just like in movies, many couples act perfect in public but struggle in private. There is no such thing as a perfect relationship.
· Work on yourself -- Bring the best version of yourself to the relationship. Do not focus on changing your partner to suit your needs but rather, focus on growing together. If possible, participate in wellness programmes together. Understand the differences in personalities and appreciate each other weaknesses, strengths as well as shortcomings.
Why some marriages fail
· Marrying for the wrong reasons; pressure to get married from self, family or society can get a person to get into a relationship with a person they do not even identify with just to conform. Another person may get into a relationship with a partner for financial gains or to climb the social ladder.
· Conflict resolution approaches; marriage is not easy -- not even for the happily married. Harmonising two family traditions to come up with a unique one requires patience, compromise, love, commitment, and openness. When conflicts arise, the focus should not be to win but to learn and embrace each other.
· Unpreparedness; too much attention is given to preparation for the wedding and little attention to the marriage. Beginning with engagement, dowry payments and eventually the wedding day, focus is luxury and prestige rather than celebrating love and making commitments. When the hype is over, the strangers find it difficult to relate in private.
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