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Four Years of Marriage: Four Insights for a Lasting and Loving Relationship

Interracial Couple laughing together

Love is not about how many days, months, or years you have been together. Love is about how much you love each other every single day. And when you do that, every day feels like the first day you fell in love. - Unknown

It's hard to believe that four years have passed since we said our "I do's." To celebrate this milestone, we chose to spend it in one of our favorite places on Earth, Costa Rica!

There's nothing quite as fulfilling as sharing your life with the one you love, whether that person is a spouse, a friend, or a family member. Marriage, in its unique way, brings all three of these relationships together into a beautiful tapestry.

Today, we want to share four key insights from our four years of marriage. We hope that these insights will not only provide you with valuable guidance but also bring a little more joy into your relationships. We believe that sharing our experiences is one of the most precious gifts we can offer one another, and we're honored to have you with us on this journey.

In life, relationships are at the core of our existence. Even if you're single, you're still in a relationship with friends, family, or the world at large. Opening up to the gifts of personal relationships helps us grow and become more authentic. And when we become more authentic, we find happiness and greater well-being, something we all strive for.

When we tied the knot on September 22, 2019, the world was a different place, and so were we. We had no inkling of the twists and turns that awaited us in 2020 and beyond.

Life is indeed a mystery and can often feel like a roller coaster ride. Marriage and relationships are no exception; even the best relationships face their share of challenges. These challenges often hold hidden lessons, which is why reflecting on our journey can uncover valuable wisdom. So, without further ado, here are the four key insights we've gained from our marriage journey:

1. Effective Communication

You've probably heard a thousand times that good relationships are built on effective communication. It's a universal truth, but it's not always easy to put into practice. Most of us equate communication with waiting for our turn to speak, which often leads to the frustration of feeling like we're talking to a brick wall. This struggle with communication is not unique to personal relationships; we see it play out on the global stage, in governments, businesses, and everyday conversations.

Why is communication so challenging for us as a species? From our 17 years together as a couple and our four years as a married couple, we've learned a few things. First and foremost, we all want to be heard, acknowledged, and considered. Second, we all believe we're right, each holding a unique perspective and valuable contributions.

Effective communication isn't about proving oneself right but acknowledging that everyone has a unique, valid viewpoint. It means actively listening, a skill that isn't easy for everyone.

Active listening requires setting aside your own thoughts, words, and agendas and truly opening up. You can't listen effectively if you're busy trying to prove a point. It's about understanding that together, you can create something far better than any individual perspective. Effective communication is when you shift from your head to your heart. Interestingly, the word "heart" contains "ear" for a reason—perhaps it's not just a coincidence.

In real life, effective communication looks like listening without judgment and expressing yourself honestly and respectfully. It looks like valuing diverse perspectives and working collaboratively instead of competitively.

2. Emotional Connection

Building on effective communication, an emotional connection is a vital aspect of a thriving relationship. When we communicate effectively, we're essentially sharing our emotions. Feeling unheard or unseen can lead to unnecessary conflicts. Despite the societal stigma around emotions, we're all emotional beings, and the more we deny this, the more we tend to bottle up our feelings.

Balancing our relationship with our emotions allows us to connect genuinely and joyfully with others. It's crucial to understand that we are not our emotions; we experience them. As we become more in tune and balanced with our emotions, we grow both as individuals and as partners.

Remember that emotions are "energy in motion" (e-motion). Energy naturally seeks movement, and if we suppress it, it will eventually find a way out, often in ways we don't want. On the flip side, once that energy is in motion, we must let it go. Emotions aren't who we are; they're experiences we have. They serve as our internal GPS, guiding us through life.

In real life, emotional connection looks like openly sharing and acknowledging emotions. It's about recognizing that emotions are a natural part of being human and embracing and understanding them, both in oneself and one's partner, for a more authentic bond.

3. Conflict Resolution Skills

Conflict is a natural part of any relationship, and no two people will see eye to eye on every issue. We often engage in conflicts with the mindset of "Why can't you see it my way?" We're all passionate about our perspectives and want to see our ideas become reality. When these ideas are threatened, our primal instincts kick in, leading to emotional reactions that can strain even the strongest relationships.

The key to conflict resolution lies in realizing that everyone's viewpoint is valid from their perspective. You're not meant to be someone else; you're meant to be yourself. The goal in resolving conflicts is not to understand each other's perspectives as if you were the other person but to create a third way that combines the best elements of both viewpoints.

Some may call this compromise, but we prefer to think of it as synergy—a new, better way created through collaboration. Awareness of our emotions and the art of effective communication allow us to pause and respond instead of react. We can choose vulnerability and openness over aggression.

The Latin root of the word "resolve" means "to loosen." In conflicts, we often tense up, close off, and build walls. To resolve a situation properly, we must loosen up, open ourselves, and build bridges. When things get heated, it's best to cool off before attempting effective communication. Loosening up, focusing on what's going well, and maintaining a positive outlook are key to resolving conflicts.

In real life, conflict resolution skills look like recognizing the validity of different viewpoints and collaborating on a solution rather than insisting on one's perspective. It's about loosening tensions and building bridges through openness.

4. Quality Time and Shared Interests

In our busy world, where we decide to invest our time, it has a profound impact on our relationships. The most enjoyable moments in our relationship occur when we're together. It's not about where we are or what we're doing; it's about being in each other's presence. We made a conscious choice to prioritize our time together when we left our jobs in 2016 to build an online business together. We didn't want to spend most of our waking hours apart; it didn't make sense to us.

In a world filled with technology and constant connectivity, it's crucial to create space for one another just to be. Quality trumps quantity in the time spent together. Are you genuinely present, or is your mind elsewhere? Being fully engaged in the moment with your partner makes all the difference.

It's about the deep conversations, hearty laughter, and quiet moments shared while watching a breathtaking sunset. Love and life are truly about these unexpected, precious moments that arise when you create space for them. They're the gems that make the journey worth every step.

Interracial couple cooking together in the kitchen.

In real life, quality time looks like prioritizing moments of genuine togetherness over the busyness of daily life. It's about being fully present, engaging in deep conversations, sharing laughter, and creating space for quiet, intimate moments.

Thank you for being here with us today, and we genuinely hope this has brought some joy into your life. If you're interested in delving deeper into the art of cultivating healthier relationships or discovering your soulmate, we warmly invite you to explore our comprehensive online video course. Within it, we dive further into our journey and offer a transformative process to become a super magnet for love and nurturing relationships. To find out more, simply click here.

We eagerly anticipate the opportunity to connect with you further, and we have some exciting surprises in the works that we can't wait to share with you and our vibrant online members!

With love and compassion,

Wendy + Dan

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