With a 50 percent divorce rate, many children and adults haven’t seen what a happy marriage looks like. So they don’t know how to model successful love skills to create a happy relationship. You’re about to learn the top love skills for marriage success, in a summary of my interview of Charlie and Linda Bloom, a married couple of 38 years who are psychotherapists, leaders of relationship workshops around the world, and authors of Secrets of Great Marriages.
Their new book is based on conversations with a hundred people who are wildly happy in marriages lasting an average of 30 years and still going strong. The most common trait among these happy couples is a total commitment by each partner to give 100 percent to make their relationship great.
Did these couples start their marriage with this total commitment?
When they married in their early 20s, they didn’t know how life would throw them around through the years. Their total commitment deepened and grew out of being tested in time. They had to keep choosing to stay in there and develop resilience, responsibility and persistence to make the marriage great.
What are other common qualities in happy couples?
They all were equally accomplished at self care and taking care of their partner, tuning into the way they and their partner need to be loved.
Charlie said they also were good at handling differences without letting them turn into conflicts, appreciating differences without judging or trying to change your partner to be like you.
Is it best to choose a partner who’s just like you with common interests?
Linda said it’s wonderful to have interests in common, doing things you both enjoy. But they found It wasn’t the interests in common as much as it was having interests. These happy couples are each alive, passionate, deeply engaged and doing things that bliss you out. Then bring your happy self to your partner.
If both of you are exactly alike, then one of you is unnecessary in the relationship. And it can get boring, Linda said. That’s why we’re rarely attracted to people with the same strengths and gifts.
Is that why opposites attract?
The Blooms don’t view it as opposites. They said we often are drawn to a partner who is complimentary and developed in areas that we are not–as a way to experience wholeness in our life. We can become more versatile when we team up with someone who brings new gifts and strengths to give each other and become our greatest teachers.
What love skills do you need to create a happy relationship?
Charlie Bloom said you don’t need a masters degree in relationships or love skills fully formed before you enter a relationship. You actually learn on the job. You have to be willing to learn from your experiences, to consider other perspectives, to admit it when you are wrong and alter your behavior that isn’t working for you and your relationship. With those love skills, you won’t get stuck in negative patterns.
How do these happy couples keep passion and love alive, even after looks fade?
They never put their relationship on cruise control. They go out of their way each day to express love, to gift each other with touch, kindness, appreciation and gratitude, knowing they and their partner will thrive when they take good care of the relationship. This is how you make sure that you don’t drift apart which is what takes many couples down. They are creative in showing the love in their heart.
Should the relationship be the complete and total source of your well being?
It’s important to have a life of your own so you don’t make your relationship your only source of happiness. When you commit to a greater cause like family, community service or spiritual practice, it’s easy to let the petty annoyances in relationships roll off your back.
Why do so many seemingly happy couples split at the 20 year mark?
Linda said that between ages of 30 to 50 the mid-life crisis often arises, and you can feel unhappy with your life and it can appear that their angst and restlessness is coming from their partner instead of within themselves. It’s usually a sign that a big change is necessary within yourself, make the descent into your dark shadowy realms so you can rise in the higher realms, hopefully with your relationship intact.
Charlie said the kiss of death for any relationship is to expect your mate to make you happy. That’s your total responsibility.
How can couples prepare for the tough challenges they eventually will face in a relationship?
Develop qualities you need to overcome challenges, like courage and saying what you feel and need with finesse without alienating or frightening your partner. When you develop compassion, kindness, integrity, honesty, generosity tolerance and forgiveness, then all your relationships benefit. When the inevitable health or financial crises come, you’ve developed the core strength and resilience to move through each challenge.
How important is great sex to a great relationship?
Without exception, couples continued to have a vital and fulfilling sexual relationship throughout the decades. As physical challenges arose later in life, they found creative ways to give each other pleasure on a regular basis.
How do singles choose their best love match for a great relationship?
Linda tells singles to stop looking for the partner of your dreams and become that partner. Bring out your best qualities and do work and activities you love so that you attract a match who loves the same things and has a higher level of commitment and integrity. Find someone with a sweet heart, inner kindness, and someone who’s willing to work with you to create a happy relationship no matter what challenges you face in life and love.
Linda and Charlie Bloom and I are on the same love wavelength, Their smart love tips reinforce what you hear from me in my articles, radio show, love guides and novel with songs. That’s how the Tribe gains all the love skills you need to–
Love deeply and live your dreams now,