The most popular undergraduate course at Northwestern University in Chicago is Building Loving and Lasting Relationships: Marriage 101. The class fills up on registration day and the wait list is pages long.
So why teach a course about marriage to undergraduates and what exactly do they learn? Professor Alexandra Solomon, author of Loving Bravely, teaches the popular course. She says students at this age are curious and that they want to learn more about themselves and how to be a good partner before they say “I do.”
Here are a few of her tips for a lasting marriage. Do you have any of your own?
- Become the right partner: We often make lists of the qualities we’re looking for in a partner, but how much do we embody those qualities ourselves? Understand yourself so you can be prepared to have an amazing relationship.
- Go back to your childhood. It’s important to understand the patterns and behaviours you witnessed as a child. These help inform your understanding of love, affection, trust and communication. Shed the patterns you didn’t like and work on developing the kind of relationship you want to have.
- Learn to face conflict. Any relationship will have its share of conflict. But how do you manage conflict? Understanding your personality and identifying your triggers—and how these interact with your partner’s—will help you solve problems as they arise.
- Apologize. Saying “I’m sorry” is an important tool when you’re navigating a loving relationship. To make love last, learn to say it in a heartfelt way.