By Rosalind Sedacca, CCT
Sadly, celebrity divorces make all the headlines for all the wrong reasons. They showcase the most unconscious behavior, especially when it comes to relationships. Kim Kardashian’s marriage going off track after such a short time is just one more example.
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It appears Kim spent more time working out her wedding details than on determining whether this was a good match from the start. Unfortunately, celebrities are not alone in making this common mistake. Too many couples think no further than the honeymoon plans when contemplating marriage. They have no idea about the complexity behind real relationship issues and the maturity it takes to create a successful long-term outcome.
Divorced couples do, however. They learn through hindsight about the challenges two people face when living together week after week and month after month in today’s stress-filled world. It takes awareness, flexibility, great communication skills and the ability to understand your partner’s perspective to make a relationship work — and that’s just for routine life experiences. Throw in accidents, sickness, job loss and other major stressors, not to mention the complexities that come with having children, and it’s easy to understand why so many marriages fail and too often end in divorce.
If you’re divorced and looking to find a healthier, happier relationship ahead, or if you’re marrying for the first time and want to avoid relationship disasters, here are some tips worth serious consideration:
- Know your partner well — during the good times and the bad. It’s after you face disagreements or nurse your partner through an illness that you find out with whom you are really contemplating spending the rest of your life. If what you discover makes you uncomfortable, have some serious conversations — or move on before making any further commitments.
- Don’t expect to be “completed,” “saved” or “fixed.” No one can fill the void in your inner self. You’re setting your partner up for failure if you expect them to fix your problems and love you through your unresolved issues. Do the inner work on yourself first, perhaps with the support of a therapist. Then seek out another soul who has done the same to partner with you.
- Be hooked on more than just romance. Happily married couples will tell you that you have to be more than great bed-mates to make a real relationship work. Look for common values, goals, beliefs and interests. Opposites may attract in the short-term, but you want a marriage based on respect and sharing a future together. If your core values and interests are not aligned, you’re facing a tough road ahead.
- Be your authentic self — and don’t change for a partner’s approval. You can’t fake your way through a marriage. If you hate sports, the internet or pets, state it up front and find a mate who loves you knowing this reality. It’s unfair to hide your true self from your partner, and it’s a disservice to yourself pretending to be who you are not. Honor who you are and look for a partner with high self-esteem who loves themselves as well. That’s a formula for lasting relationship success!
As Kim Kardashian discovered, money won’t buy you a happy marriage. You can’t use sensuality as a substitute for good sense. Relationships don’t have storybook endings. They require constant attention, the ability to sacrifice and compromise at times, and a heavy dose of respect for the person you brought into your life.
Before setting out in the relationship world, work on your inner demons, let go of the baggage from previous relationships, and take your time in getting to know the special partner you are choosing. There’s no magic wand that will make your relationship succeed, but these guidelines will set you on a course that will circumvent a lot of pot holes along the road to happily ever after.
Rosalind Sedacca, CCT is a divorce and relationship coach. She is founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network for parents and author of the internationally acclaimed ebook: How Do I Tell the Kids About the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children — with Love! She is also co-author of the new book: 99 Things Women Wish They Knew Before Dating After 40, 50 & Yes, 60! Her free divorce and parenting tip sheet and coaching programs are available at www.childcentereddivorce.com. Rosalind’s free dating tip sheet and relationships courses can be found at www.womendatingafter40.com.