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Newly engaged and married couples often spend blissful months gazing happily into each other’s eyes and cruising from one romantic experience to another. But once the honeymoon is over, the real work begins.
You and your husband may have had fun going on dates or maybe even living together, but things can change when it’s a marriage and not a dating relationship. It’s a thrilling new chapter, and it can present challenges, regardless of your age, background, or sexual orientation.
My grandparents were married for many decades, and I found it inspiring to see how successful they were. They understood each other. They discussed everything and came to a mutual agreement. Their love seemed so pure, romantic, and endearingly memorable. It’s what every newly married couple hopes to achieve, yet few actually make it there.
Here are my top four tips to make sure your gay marriage stays strong through the years.
Every lasting relationship is based on mutual expectations. Are you monogamous or polyamorous? Are you adventurous or homebodies? What do you like to do for fun together? Every married couple creates their own rules.
During my matchmaking career, I met many men who tried to save their relationship by making it an open relationship. I believe that type of tactic only exacerbates the real issues and perpetuates an imbalance. One person will eventually feel uncomfortable or lose trust in his partner. If you want to make a polyamorous relationship work, you need to establish those rules early on — not months or years into monogamy.
Your marriage will be stable and long-lasting if you stay firm to the commitments you made and the habits of love you’ve shown from the beginning.
Never assume a married partner is happy with an open relationship. Keep open lines of communication as well. We’re human beings, and we can be sensitive creatures when it comes to sex.
What’s the number one reason for divorce? Finances. Married couples can argue over their shared expenses — whether it’s a mortgage or a grocery store bill — and it can strain their relationship over time.
Couples have to be open about their financial situations. What can you contribute to a shared bank account or retirement fund? Are you prepared to be the sole breadwinner or do you want a dual-income household? How do you want to share costs with a partner? It doesn’t have to be an exact equal split, but both partners need to agree about where the money goes.
Sit down with your partner and try to put a budget together. Be prepared to make sacrifices and adjustments. Agree to hold yourself and your partner accountable to sticking as close as you can to your budget. Keep the big picture in mind. A minor slip up — buying a new pair of pants, for instance — isn’t a big deal, but a major break from the budget — like buying an entire wardrobe — should be discussed first.
The bottom line is couples need to set financial goals and establish detailed budgets that work for them.
Your social circle can create a happy environment outside of your relationship — as long as you and your partner are on the same page. It’s important for romantic relationships and friendships to coexist peacefully. If your husband doesn’t like your friends (or vice versa), it’s a tough situation. Those bad vibes can wear on the person in the middle and force a choice between being married and keeping friends. The same goes with family members.
Gay partners need to have the tough talks about their social expectations and their family expectations. If you’re the type of person who spends Saturdays at a family barbecue or playing games with friends, you need to make sure your partner is all right either coming along or staying home.
It’s also important to talk about children and the possibility of adopting down the line. Raising children requires a significant amount of sacrifice in terms of time, money, and emotional energy. It impacts every aspect of life, including one’s marriage. I’ve decided not to have children, and this is a deal breaker for me. Sometimes opinions can shift as life progresses, but partners should be open about where they’re at and what type of life they envision for themselves.
Some issues in a marriage require compromise, but men shouldn’t have to compromise their core values to be with someone who doesn’t want or believe the same things.
After being in a relationship for a long time, you start to identify your strengths and weaknesses as partners.
For example, I am a perfectionist. I can get mad at myself for making a small mistake in a relationship. But anger doesn’t help the situation.
It’s important to have your relationship tool belt fully equipped to make your marriage last. Recognize that your partner is trying to push through his weaknesses and build strength in the relationship.
It’s equally important to celebrate your partner when he’s being supportive, helpful, and receptive to you. Let him know when he’s done something that made you happy. Everyone enjoys a genuine word of affirmation. And then do something to make your partner happy in return. Gratitude is the glue that will hold a relationship together. The more glue, the longer lasting your marriage will be.
Gay couples (and all couples, really) have to wholeheartedly trust each other to be honest and communicative through life’s ups and downs. That gives your relationship greater stability and longevity.
It’s important for individuals in relationships to be reasonable and pragmatic, not judgmental and accusatory when things go awry. Be a man of honor and respect. If you think something is wrong, address it from a place of kindness rather than criticism. Hopefully, your other half will do the same and create space for an open dialogue.
You have the power to strengthen or weaken your relationships based on your actions and choices. Your marriage will last a lifetime, if you put in the work.