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May 03, 2011

An Open Letter to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge…and All Other Newly Wed Couples

IStock_0justmarriedllBelow is a post from my new blog http://lmerlobooth.typepad.com/straight_talk_4_women/ Enjoy!

First and foremost, congratulations on your recent marriage.  I can only imagine the pressures the two of you must be under.  This letter is a gift from me to you both (and any other newlyweds) who could benefit from advice that too many couples never get.  I hope it helps gives your marriage a healthy start.

The first rule for newlyweds is likely the most important rule for you.  You will have countless people telling you what to do, where to go and how to be.  You will have people telling you when to have children, how many children to have and how to raise them.  You will also have people wanting to get close, others trying to break you up and still others spreading rumors.  The way you handle all of this is by always remembering that you two come first. 

Imagine that you are both in a bubble.  The primary bubble goes around you two first, the next larger bubble goes around you and your children, the next larger bubble includes your closest family members and friends and so on.  Do not allow work or other family members to enter the key nucleus bubble or you risk shaking the foundation of your marriage.  The most important bubble is always the two of you.  Nothing enters the principal bubble until you both have talked and decided what’s best for your family. 

Because so many of us are young when we first get married and often greatly influenced by our families, putting our couple-ship ahead of our families is one of the most difficult skills to master as a couple.  Be diligent and remember you two are the core -- and always protect the core.

Remember to make time for you to be a couple.  Too many marriages fizzle out, not because of a huge disagreement or a major betrayal, but because life gets in the way.  Couples begin to get caught up in the demands of everyday obligations and they forget to keep their fingers on the pulse of their relationship.  Keep your finger on the pulse.  If you’re feeling distant, it’s because you are getting distant.  Set up a date night, minimally twice a month from the start of your marriage.  When you have children, this is even more important to do.  As flight attendants say all over the world, “Put your oxygen mask on first and then assist the children.”  Marriage is the same.  If your relationship is not strong, your family will not be strong.

Talks things out -- always -- and be respectful in how you do so.  The most damaging thing couples can do in conflict is either silence or become abusive in their fight.  When we silence, we leave no room for repair.  Each unresolved incident becomes a crack in the foundation.  Eventually these cracks become insurmountable and the entire structure collapses.  Similarly, name-calling, belittling, yelling or moving in power with our partner rots out the relationship.  When we verbally attack our partner we show them we don’t respect them.  After a while this becomes old and not something anyone wants to be around.  Harsh interactions create huge distance.  If you want a loving marriage, then act loving, even in your disagreements.

Remember to check in with one another regularly.  Intimacy means, “into me you see.”  Share yourself.  Give your partner a glimpse of what’s going on inside you.  A mutual sharing will keep you both close.  Too often women share and men don’t—those couples end up in my office.  Don’t make that same mistake.

Do not allow your friends or families to dictate how you are with one another.  Be your own people and make sure you have each other’s backs.  You want to be one another’s greatest supporter.  See life’s struggles as something to trouble-shoot together, not obstacles that keep you stuck.  Be committed to solution, not criticism and nay-saying.

I wish you both the best.  Know that despite what many people may say, marriage can be a great source of refuge from an otherwise difficult world.  Although there will be difficult times, marriage should not be hard work.  Healthy relationships have a way of flowing comfortably.  If yours does not, each of you should look at your part.

On a final note, always remember to treat one another as equals…because you are.  Neither of you is better or more important than the other.  If you begin to act otherwise, your relationship will pay the price.  Hold each other accountable for this equality at all times.  Holding yourself in warm regard and insisting others do as well will be the greatest gift to yourselves and any future children you may have.

May you both have an amazing life together filled with endless laughter, far more joy than sorrow and a peaceful love that you both grow to count on throughout your lifetimes.

Warm Regards,
Lisa Merlo-Booth


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I am in such strong agreement about protecting the inner bubble. Most people never realize how much they allow that bubble to be burst, often by their own children. They don't understand they really do have the power to protect and nurture their marriage. Your definition of intimacy is one that needs to be heralded to the world. Thanks.

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