He wore braces and his hair parted in the middle with heavy gel, I was 2 years older than him and thought he was a brat… but we ended up being high school sweethearts, got married and had two wonderful children. Around the seven year itch the ‘non fights’ began, what do I mean by this? He would fight with me and I would always remain relaxed and talk to him in a soft calming voice, needless to say, that just drove him crazy. The ‘non fights’ went on about anything and everything, from him not taking care of the bills, not spending quality time with the kids to me not wanting to put out after a fight or just the fact that I refused to fight. We were married for 10 years, 3 of those I was terribly unhappy and I’m pretty sure that the last year I cried myself to sleep every night until I moved out.

In my case, divorce was inevitable and probably the best thing that could have happened to both of us, it was just never going to work. He moved on and I managed to create a great life for myself and my kids and that’s the way it has been for yet another 10 years.

Just yesterday I was searching online and found a blog where a newlywed had posted all the wonderful things he had learned in his first year of marriage. It was so cute, it’s all so nice when you’re young and madly in love. As I finished reading I realized that what made him happy were all the little things they did together and all the quirky stuff about his wife. We seem to forget this when we’re entangled in our daily lives, we forget to make our relationship one of our top priorities.

I’ve learned a lot of lessons throughout my life, lessons about marriage and lessons about divorce. And once you find that special someone again, I’ve realized you really need to take a look back at these lessons and make sure you apply them, every day!  So here’s a few things that I’ve learned along the way:

- When it comes to relationships (amorous or not!), never sweep things under the carpet, they always come creeping back.

- Always follow your instincts, your body and mind are very powerful, if they are telling you something, always stop and listen. For us women, when it comes to female instinct, we’re rarely wrong (sorry guys!)

- Always look out for warning signs, if your partner has cheated in the past or had problems with drugs, the law, anything… be aware that these could come back anytime.

- Never settle! This is a tricky one, it’s not about always waiting for ‘the next best thing’, it’s about being sure that you’re not putting up with certain issues just because you’re afraid of being alone.

- When you have silly day-to-day relationship issues, stop listening to your family and friends, talk things over with each other and do not allow others to put ideas into your head.

- Be appreciative of everything he or she does for you, take notice! I’ve learned that we don’t all love the same, not all of us are affectionate and mushy. If your partner has a particular way of showing they love and care for you, make sure you acknowledge this and appreciate it every time.

- Never ever distance yourself from your friends or your family because of your partner or your relationship. Family is for lifetime and some friends are too, always make time for them, they’re the ones who will be holding your hand if something ever goes wrong.

- Focus on the little things, life can’t always be about big plans and extravagant outings. Appreciate small things like cooking dinner together and washing up, going for a short power walk or even riding together in the car… all these little things are what help you go the distance.

- This one is for the guys… flowers and gifts don’t fix things, they might get you sex but they won’t solve the current issue.

- Wake up every morning and ask yourself, what can I do today to make her/him feel happy and loved? I know this is hard, some days are just too complicated, but do your best. Take note, this should always work both ways.

- Keep up the aesthetics! Just because you feel comfortable with each other it doesn’t mean you stop taking care of yourself, or shaving, or working out, or taking a shower!...

- When we’re in a serious relationship it is very easy to get trapped into the daily grind, routine grabs a hold of you and before you know it you feel like an old boring married couple. Date each other, plan special nights where it’s all about you, the moment, the night.

- They say it takes two to tango! Make sure you both always supply each other’s needs, and never be afraid of expressing what you need or want from each other.

- Keep in mind that life will not always follow a plan, don’t allow yourself to get entangled in all the details…

- Do your best to never use the words “I’m fine” or “Nothing”… I read somewhere that “I’m fine” means “I’m not ok but don’t want to tell you” and “Nothing” means “I’ll talk to you when I’m ready”. Just say what you have to say!

- Learn how to let things go, if you’ve argued about a topic and it’s over and done with, never bring it up again!

- As much as it’s important for us humans to hear the words “I love you”, they sometimes become just words. Make sure that you accompany them by actions too.

- Before you marry or fall into a serious partnership, ask all the questions and talk about everything, and I mean EVERYTHING! Talk about children, how many children?, finances, money, who makes how much, who is going to pay what, are there any debts?, what have you done in the past?, who you dated, future plans, do our plans match?, family dynamics, family crazies, expectations, what if’s… etc.

- If you’re wrong about something, just say so and move on!

- Keep your own life, if you have a hobby, keep it up, never expect for your partner to let go of his or her hobbies either.

- Two words: have fun!

- Always keep this in mind… life is so much more fun if you have someone to share it with!

If you’re having problems with your marriage, divorce is not always the solution, some relationships can be rescued! If you’re confused about all this, I’d love to suggest you read “Repair Your Marriage”, it’s a great manual with step by step instructions on how to save your relationship even if your partner doesn’t.

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View the original article on SeekSuccess's blog at Lessons After a Marriage and a Divorce

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