Marriage is a divine union of souls, and the fulcrum of your existence. A happy marriage will surely make your life more fulfilling and complete. Here are some tips to guide you towards a happy marriage.

It is rightly said that “marriages and made in heaven but are celebrated here on earth”, which means that no matter how perfect your union may seem, you will still need to work on your marital relationship to make sure that it doesn’t lose its sheen. Here are ten elements that can make all the difference to the strength and longevity of your relationship with your spouse.

Commitment
Behind a happy marriage, there are always two very dedicated partners. If you are willing to do everything possible for your partner’s happiness, even the biggest hurdles in life can be overcome with ease. Commit yourself to making your spouse’s life beautiful in every little way you can.

Acceptance
The most pleasurable marriages are those where both partners accept and embrace each other in all totality all their flaws included. Your partner may be very different from you, and may have some habits/ interests that you quite don’t like, but that does not mean you cannot create happy memories together. Remember that no one is perfect, and in pressurizing your partner to change as a person, you will only breed resentment and frustration.

Giving
Unconditional love is all about giving without expecting anything in return. Marriage is not a business transaction and neither is it a game of tit-for-tat. Give your marriage your all and put in your best efforts to make it work. Invest emotionally in your partner’s life and give them all your attention when you both are together. Love and understanding over a period in leads to a happy relationship.

Gratitude
Sure, it’s your spouse’s responsibility to take care of you but it wouldn’t hurt to express gratitude every once in a while just to show your appreciation and tell them how much they mean to you. You can get them a small surprise gift, or else, a simple heartfelt hug will work just fine!

Communication
Talking can sort out any issue. Strive towards a relationship where you both can openly express your feelings without any fear or hesitation. Make communication a way of life by having “together conversations” every day. These can then open up the channels for more deep and profound discussions.

Forgiveness
Holding on to a grudge is easy but it takes a large heart to forgive and move on. We all make mistakes and it is normal to feel hurt or upset over something your partner did. But, hanging on to the anger will only multiply the negativity. The sooner you move on, the better it is for the health of your marriage. It is only fair to give your partner a chance when they ask for it.

Space
Striking the right balance between “my space”, “your space” and “our space” is one of the most crucial and challenging areas of a marriage. Being together while maintaining your individuality ensures that both partners have wholesome and satisfying lives. Keep pursuing your passions and encourage your partner to do the same. It also a healthy practice to nurture relationships outside of your marriage, such as family and friends.

Intimacy
This doesn’t just refer to physical intimacy (though that is important too!). Marriage is beautiful when two people are deeply connected on a mental and emotional level. Make sure to spend enough time alone with your partner where you can explore your relationship and tune in to each other’s thoughts.

Support
Your spouse counts on you to support them at every step, be it career, parenthood, family matters or any other decision that involves both of you. Be by your partner’s side whenever they need you, especially during life’s difficult moments. Sometimes you may not agree with your partner’s viewpoint, yet, respect their feelings and try to understand where they are coming from.

Trust
Marriages cannot survive in the absence of trust. Even a small breach of trust will inflict wounds that will take time to heal. Even though it may seem difficult at times, it is always wiser to be truthful and honest with your partner so that the mutual respect is not lost.

By following these you’re sure to have a happy and successful marriage.

Technology has changed the way we look at a lot of things, including marriage, and we need to move with the times. Yet, a number of us go by stars, horoscopes, profile of the boy or girl and the educational qualification. These parameters are time-tested, therefore good to go with. Some people would like to inquire about the family background etc, and there is no harm in that. Tradition and the modern will always co-exist. I am told that a number of boys are still opting for arranged marriages, but they want to talk to the girl a few times before making up their minds. Many prospective couples take the Skype-route to matrimony which is a very good thing. Such interactions will help showcase the confidence level of both the boy and the girl, and parents should not frown upon such methods of getting to know one another. Some parents may want their child to marry into money, but a man or woman’s happiness is far more important.

In choosing a partner, choose someone who will let you be comfortable in your own milieu.

In the past, people looked only at family background and how good looking a girl was. Today’s generation does not give that much importance to looks. They look at other things like education, social skills etc. Girls today are career oriented. They also want to explore working in unusual fields such as social service. Girls want to be financially independent, and boys have to deal with that aspect also.

Parents on the other hand want to get the best alliance for their son/ daughter. Finally, it all comes down to the state of mind of the prospective groom/ bride and other people should not be forceful and try to thrust their own view point. In my opinion, girls and boys should also be forthright and ensure that their latest pictures are uploaded on websites. Some parents post four and five year old pictures, which is a bit unfair. Such practices can only lead to disappointments all too soon.

It is a fact that it is a woman who makes or breaks a home. However, today’s woman wants to be financially independent. I feel if both the boy and the girl intrinsically respect each other’s careers, then everyone else will. However, there should be a certain amount of give and take, since a person’s career can take them to any other city, and one should be practical in dealing with career shifts or relocation to another city caused by one person’s job constraints.

A girl’s career choice is as important as a man’s and due acknowledgement of the same should come from all members of the family on both sides. Let’s get progressive in a positive way.

1. Do you remember the first time you met your spouse?
Yes! Ours was an arranged marriage. He was my senior in college. I knew who he was in theory, I had seen him around but had never really spoken to him. I have a vague recollection of him congratulating me after I won a contest in college. I politely thanked him and then quickly ended the conversation as I didn’t even know his name. We then met formally after our parents spoke to each other during the third week of December 2011.

2. What was it about that her/ him that you really liked?
Well, he is handsome. But that was just a bonus according to me. He was well spoken, kind, shared the same values as me, loved his family and wanted his wife to grow along with him.

3. How do you express your affection for your spouse?
I love to surprise him! I’m always thinking of what to buy him (big or small) and how to make his birthdays more special. Other than that, I swing by text messages, pictures, phone conversations and then there is always a hug that says everything than words do and more!

4. The heart of marriage is memories. What are the fondest memories you have of your relationship during the little time you have been married?
Well, I hardly spent anytime with him during the first year of our marriage. He was in Singapore and I would run back to Chennai for work every chance I get, because I missed home and my work. I have lived in Chennai all my life and to suddenly throw it all away and go live in another country was hard. But Nikhil moved to Bombay a year back and we have had some of the best times there. Be it vacations, house parties or lazing around on a Sunday afternoon, I cherish everyone of them.

5. Tell us something about you that most people don’t know.
I am very sensitive and will easily give up on things. My mom is my biggest strength. She is my wall and she is the only one who can make me fight and become strong again. I don’t think I would have survived in the media if not for her.

6. Who has been the most important person in your life? Can you tell us about him or her?
I come from a very close knit family, and I am very close to all of them. I am daddy’s lil girl and I love him to death. My grandparents have had a great influence on me. My thatha was the love of my life and I used to call him my handsome man. We shared a lot together and had our special moments. He now watches over me and makes sure all good things come my way.

7. What is it that keeps a marriage ticking? What is your counsel to young couples about nurturing a long lasting relationship?
I never counsel. I think every couple makes their own set of rules in a marriage. But tolerance, trust, forgiveness and love is what keeps myself happy!

8. What do you think is the most fulfilling aspect of a successful marriage?
When I come home after a long day or in my case a long trip, my husband sits me down with a smile and gives me a foot rub if I am really exhausted. That smile and the short silence we share means more to me than a million words or extravagant gestures!

Many of us enter into marriage expecting the moon and the stars only to be disappointed when things don’t pan out as imagined. This is not to say that you should lower your standards when it comes to your partner – it just means that happy relationships focus more on giving than receiving. True love is like the radiance of the sun or the coolness of the moonshine – it shines consistently and unconditionally. That is the kind of love that makes a marriage concrete and everlasting.

Keep expectations to a minimum
This not only applies to marriage, but to all relationships in your life. The more you expect out of a person, the more you are likely to feel angry, upset or let down. Love doesn’t have to be slave to terms and conditions – if you really care about your partner, give them unconditional love. You will find that it makes you a much happier, calmer and fulfilled person.

It also empowers you in a way because now, the source of your happiness is no longer dependent on your partner’s actions; rather, it comes from “giving” to the relationship. When you love your spouse without any pre-set terms, you are able to embrace them with all their flaws and forgive them easily for their mistakes. This changes the dynamics of your relationship and makes your bond stronger and purer.

Discuss your needs openly
Just like you, your spouse may have his or her own set of expectations from you. Make an effort to find out what they are and try to fulfill whatever is within your reach. Talking about expectations in a marriage also gives you an opportunity to express yours so that you and your partner are in sync with each other. Do remember that your partner is only human and it is impossible for them to guess what is going in your mind unless you tell them. If you really want something, you have to ask for it. Open communication is the only way you can understand each other’s needs.

A marriage fulfills your need for companionship and it possible that your spouse is doing a lot for you without you acknowledging it. It is easy to pile on expectations on an individual but it takes a lot of compassion an open mind to appreciate what your partner is doing for your. Thank your partner for being such a positive influence in your life and give your 100% in nurturing your relationship. When you both work towards love, care and understanding in a relationship, it becomes easier to manage your emotions when some expectations are not met.

Happiness tends to elude us when we chase it. Focus instead on making your and your partner’s life beautiful with unconditional love and companionship.