Meeting your future spouse should be simple and straightforward. You bump into your soulmate in some cheesily romantic situation, you instantly fall in love, you realize you’re perfect for each other, and then you tie the knot at the wedding of your dreams.
However, meeting the love of your life is rarely that simple. The way people meet their soulmates can be chaotic, hilarious, and cute, but not necessarily the easy-to-understand romantic Disney fantasies some people crave. That’s what Reddit user Thequeenoffandomhell showed us when they asked their fellow internet users to share their “anyways, we’re married now stories.”
Scroll down, have a read, and upvote your fave stories that might just make you start believing that Fate has a sense of humor. If you have any similar tales to tell, be sure to share them in the comments below, dear Pandas! It's one thing to meet the love of your life, but it's a whole different challenge staying in a committed and healthy long-term marriage. We wanted to learn more about this, so Bored Panda reached out to Suzann Pileggi Pawelski and her husband James Pawelski, authors of 'Happy Together: Using the Science of Positive Psychology to Build Love That Lasts.' Scroll down for their in-depth insights into married life.
Suzie and James stressed that maintaining strong connections is very important for our mental health, especially during this challenging time. "While it’s critical we all social distance, we must make sure not to emotionally distance with our friends and family. Positive psychology research indicates that one of the most important factors in human flourishing is building close relationships with others." Which means that building and maintaining lasting relationships is more important than ever.
We wanted to know what the biggest challenge that most newlyweds face is and how someone can be sure that they're ready for marriage. Suzie and James explained how a lot of people spend a lot of time and effort planning their wedding but don't spend enough of it thinking about the actual marriage. "A wedding is magical day no doubt, and of course something to celebrate, but what about planning for all the days to come in our marriage which is intended to last a life-time? Many newlyweds seem to think that “happily ever after” just happens. However, research shows it’s healthy habits that build long-term love," they said.
"It’s interesting that it’s the only domain in our lives where we think that success will just happen without much effort of our own. For example, when it comes to our physical health, it would be foolish to think that merely buying a gym membership and working out once would strengthen our muscles and build flexibility (if only that were the case!. We all know that in order to increase our strength and tone our bodies we have to work at it regularly. So, too, when it comes to our relational health. However, popular culture seems to romanticize marriage making people think that once you get married you can can merely ride off into the sunset together. That’s obviously not the case. It takes work," the couple explained that relationships take hard work, just like everything that's worth going for in life.
"The good news is that there are skills and exercises we can do to strengthen our relationships. In our book Happy Together: Using the Science of Positive Psychology to Build Love that Lasts, we talk about the notion of the 'relationship gym.' We invite folks to join us for a workout at the 'relationship gym' where they can practice scientifically backed exercises to help them strengthen their bonds."
But what about people who might be in a committed relationship but aren't sure if they're ready to take the next step towards marriage? Can anyone even know that they're ready for marriage?
"I don’t think there is actually a moment when you’re necessarily 'ready' so to speak, but rather a willingness to continue working on yourself and your relationship. As human beings we are always growing, changing, and evolving. And so are our relationships," Suzie mused.
"Being open, curious and having a growth mindset about ourselves, and our partners, will help us be able to better navigate together in marriage. A marriage isn’t an end state but rather a beginning. It’s a process and a life-long journey. The more we seek to understand ourselves and our partners, the better equipped we will be to travel together on this beautiful, yet often challenging adventure."
Finally, we were curious to find out how to we can all maintain attraction to our life partners after many years of being together. Suzie and James provided us with a whole bunch of helpful tips and science-based ways for couples to maintain attraction:
Suzie explained that 'strengths dates' allow each person to use their natural qualities associated with greater well-being. "The strengths date idea is a much better way of approaching dates than how many couples traditionally do so where they take turns choosing the date. In those instances, one partner often begrudgingly goes along on a date (perhaps to a movie or musical concert) that they have no interest in attending. We’ve all been there, right?! Those type of dates are extrinsically motivated, rather than strengths dates that are intrinsically motivated because they tap the the unique qualities at the essence of each person," she said.
"We feel it’s incredibly important for everyone— individuals and couples—to practice their strengths regularly," the couple told us, pointing out that it's the foundation of positive psychology that they believe is crucial for thriving relationships.
"It seems that in the beginning of the relationship we notice one another’s strengths and see our partner’s differences as intriguing as evidenced perhaps by marathon conversations that last long into the evening. However, after time we often fall into a rut, stop asking questions and think we know all there is about our partner. What perhaps we once saw as intriguing differences we now see as annoying deficits! That’s dangerous to a relationship. It’s important to continue asking questions and seeing strengths in our partner to help build a stronger bond."