Everyone strives for that “happily ever after” in their relationship–whether the relationship is good or bad, the goal remains the same. So the question is, “Is this something only in books and movies, or is this something real?”
The answer to both is yes.
In fairy tales and movies, the writer draws you into the happily ever after by creating a long lasting relationship with the main characters. What he or she does not show you, however, is that to obtain a happily ever after, you must work at it and work hard. Movies and books make it seem so simple: something bad happens, someone does something good, then happily ever after.
I have been with my wife for over twenty years and neither one of us can recall the last time we had a fight or an argument. We both know it has been two to three years, but we are measuring in years. So how did we make this happen (this includes having three teens in the house right now who are being homeschooled)? We follow eleven simple steps, and not just with each other either–these apply to everyone in our lives.
Step 1: Communication
There must be communication between both parties to know what each other is thinking and feeling. Far too often we get caught up in “I think,” or “I am guessing.” Take those out of the equation and just ask. Don’t guess–know!
Step 2: Honesty
You must always be honest. You gain nothing by lying at any time in your life. So why not tell the truth? What do you have to lose?
Step 3: Trust
This comes from honesty. If you are honest, people will trust you and trust in you.
Step 4: Understanding
We each need to understand where the other person is coming from. To do this, we must put ourselves in their shoes and figure out why they feel and think the way they do.
Step 5: Love
It is important to know what love is and how love affects the relationship. Love is not saying “I love you.” Love is proving your affection to the other person through your actions and not just your words.
Step 6: Caring
We each need to care for ourselves and for others around us. We lose nothing by caring for others and only to stand to gain joy and happiness in our lives.
Step 7: Learn From
You must be willing to learn from each other. That is where true growth comes from. You may never agree on everything (and that’s ok), but you do need to appreciate that someone else has an opinion and they are entitled to it.
Step 8: Helping
Only when we help ourselves and those around us can we be helped. Helping needs to come from the heart–with zero expectation on receiving anything in return. Your reward will be your knowledge that helped someone when they needed it most.
Step 9: Teaching
Teaching is crucial, but only when you complete steps seven and eight. You must be willing to learn from and help others before you can ever expect anyone to listen to your lessons.
Step 10: Time
Time is a double edged sword. You need to take time to build your strong relationship and you only have so much time on earth. Use it wisely.
Step 11: Strong Relationship
Your strong relationship begins with a solid foundation. Obtain this foundation with communication, honesty, and trust and your happily ever after will come to you.