Creating Happily Ever After
Advice and tips on making your marriage a life-long affair
By: Dr. Brenda Wade and Darren Jacklin
On the day of the dream wedding, the beautiful bride and handsome groom share vows to love, honor and cherish. After celebrating in the company of friends and family and the honeymoon, we ask the question, how do you get to happily ever after? If your big day is approaching, you’re probably filled with joy, anticipation, and so much love you can’t stand it. So why is it that happy marriages seem to elude many couples? Even though statistics say around fifty percent of marriages won’t make it, it’s not that hard to create a marriage that will stand the test of time. We’re here to show you how an investment of a little time everyday will pay off and create your happily ever after.
The skills for creating a happy marriage
Hi, my names is Dr. Brenda Wade. I’m a psychologist, television host, author and speaker, and I want you to know I’m also a happily married wife and mother. A fairytale wedding won’t lead to a fairytale marriage, because real life isn’t make-believe. Along with my friend Darren Jacklin, mega manifestor, author and transformation teacher, we will show you how a good, satisfying marriage is about day to day growing your insight, skill and love. And I promise you, that is easily within your reach.
Marriage is just like any job. There is a purpose and a skill set that is required along with steps to practicing the skills.
First, the real purpose of marriage is to assist one another in growing to your full potential. You need a high “GQ,” or growth quotient score. In other words, you just keep growing so that the score gets higher and higher.
Second, you need insight and skill to successfully navigate your relationship. Just like obtaining a driver’s license requires that you have the basic skills to drive a car, a marriage requires equally vital skills and insight in order to flourish. Following is a brief quiz that will give you an idea of what it takes to get a license to love.
Do you qualify for a “Love License?” For a quick glimpse into your marriage and relationship skills, answer these questions.
- What were your parents’ patterns (or blueprint) for love? In other words, what did you see them do in their relationship? Was there abandonment, betrayal, superficial connection, or maybe one or both of your parents tended toward controlling or domineering behavior?
If you can’t answer this question in one or two concise sentences, you have work to do. Because, guess what my friend, you will repeat what you learned in childhood. Or maybe, like so many of us, you’ll go 180 degrees in the other direction as you attempt to not be your mother or your father. Mind you, this is not blaming or putting anybody’s parents down. Don’t forget, our parents could only emulate what they learned from their parents.
- What is the most effective way to communicate in a love relationship? For example, do you point out whatever my partner is doing wrong, by saying:
- “You never come home on time.”
- “You never listen to me.”
- “You aren’t meeting my needs.”
Any of the above are wrong, wrong, wrong. These constitute blaming, making wrong, and putting down types of statements. What we want are “I statements followed by a request.” Here you would identify your feeling and without blaming your partner, state what the issue is. Then you would make a request. For example, “I feel hurt when it seems as though you’ve broken an agreement we have made without checking with me first. Would you mind checking with me before you change agreements we’ve made?”
- While your partner is speaking, you should be:
- Listening for what’s wrong with what they are saying
- Preparing a rebuttal in your head
- Deciding if you agree with what they are saying or not so you can let them know.
Again, wrong, wrong, wrong. What we want is deep listening — not analysis or critique. Your goal here is to understand your partner’s feelings.
- The purpose of a relationship is:
- To have someone to have sex with?
- To have someone to be a companion?
- To grow in your capacity to receive and give love?
If you pick anything other than “c”, not that “a” and ‘b” aren’t great and fun, but I think it is obvious you missed the boat on this one since “c” is the deeper purpose. Even your driver’s license won’t help you if you only focus on sex and companionship.
- If you and your mate, find yourself in heavy water you should:
- abandon ship
- start bailing for all you are worth even if the ship is going down
- get help
So, how did you do? Is there room to grow? If you are like most of us, there’s always room to expand our skills and awareness. That leads us to a final step.
Third, consciously work to keep growing and stay on top of your game. Research shows that those who continually work at improving their marriage show two-thirds fewer divorces than those who take a hands-off approach.
Investing time and effort into developing your marriage does not have to be an elaborate, expensive or challenging undertaking. In fact, it should be fun. For instance, my husband and I make it a point to read personal growth or relationship books and share what we’ve learned with each other every night.
Another great resource are the many classes, retreats and coaching sessions offered nation-wide specifically designed to help couples grow their relationship. It takes a lot less effort, time and energy to keep your relationship in good shape than to fix it when things go wrong. Think of it like a garden—the most beautiful are those carefully tended to with weeding, pruning, watering, and sometimes, extra fertilizer for fruitful results.
Dr. Brenda currently appears as an expert on NBC’s Today Show and the Morning Show with Mike and Juliet on Fox. She has appeared on shows such as Oprah and Good Morning America, and hosted the nationally syndicated Can This Marriage Be Saved. Dr. Brenda produced and is the host of the national PBS Pledge Special Power Choices and is a regular contributor to Essence magazine and other major publications. She currently hosts Black Renaissance on CW Network, Bay Area. Dr. Brenda hosts exciting live Power Choices Breakthrough Retreats both nationally and internationally and founded the Power Coaches Program which provides breakthrough coaching services internationally. Dr. Brenda has also authored 3 books: Power Choices: 7 Signposts on Your Journey to Wholeness, Joy, Love and Peace, Love Lessons and What Mama Couldn’t Tell Us About Love. For more information on Dr. Brenda and her work, visit www.docwade.com www.powerchoicestv.com