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Secrets to a Happy Marriage

Not your parents’ relationship: The keys to a good marriage are different now

Marriage and tradition ― They belong together continued...

Many men, Real tells WebMD, try to fix their marriage after it is broken, after their wives have turned off or they've lost the incentive. "What I tell guys is, 'If you don't put oil in your engine, it freezes.' Guys will put more energy into maintaining their car than they will into maintaining their marriage, and if you don't maintain something, it breaks."

Among his tips for a happy marriage is to let your wife kvetch. "A lot of guys don't want to go out alone with their wives because they know when the wives are alone with them, they're going to complain." Don't fight that, he says. "Take your woman out and cut her some slack. Don't insist that everything go your way." Listen, nod, agree now and then ― but within limits.

Doing these things is not the same as compromise. "I don't want people to compromise on the one relationship that is the most important relationship of their lifetime," he says. "Women don't get what they want because men can't deliver emotional intimacy. I talk to women about how to go about getting that. Guys don't get what they want either. But we are so dumb and used to having low expectations that we grumble about it, and then don't do anything about it. My message to both sexes is: Go back into the ring and duke it out. Most guys do not feel appreciated, cherished, and loved and desired in their marriage." You need to learn to ask for those things, he says ― before you end up paying for them with an extramarital affair.

"You can ask for what you need on your job; you can say you don't feel appreciated in the work place. You can't be selectively incompetent. Awaken to your responsibility to bring those skills home with you."

Or else go back to the farm.

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Reviewed on June 01, 2007

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