Tips For A Happy Marriage

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Tips for a happy marriage
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How to have a happy marriage?

Marriages have between a 40 and 50 percent chance of divorce, which increases for second and third marriages, it is more important than ever to to work on your relationship so that you can have a happy marriage and secure it from the threat of divorce.

Who is more likely to have a happy marriage?

Children and a happy marriage

A recent study found that couples are less likely to get divorced if they have children. It is important to note that this study also showed that scores for happiness and life satisfaction in that same study tended to decrease after couples had children.

Mental health and a happy marriage

Those marriages with substance abuse and depression had the highest rates of divorce.

Happy marriage when there is a family

history of divorce

Couples who had a family history of divorce tended to have higher rates of divorce.

Age and a happy marriage

You are more likely to divorce if you marry before 25 years of age.

Education  level and a happy marriage

The rate of divorce is lower for those with a higher level of education.

Religion and happy marriage

Couples who were more religious tended to have a more stable marriage.

Location of happy marriage

Washington DC had the highest rate of divorce whereas Hawaii had the lowest rate of divorce.

Happy marriage and living together before

marriage

People who live together prior to getting married have a higher risk of divorce.

Is divorce increasing or decreasing?

According to

Bowling Green State University,

The rate of divorce has decreased 25% since 1980.

A happy marriage requires work,  attention and the willingness to learn.

One of the greatest lessons in life is the realization that the limit to your learning is endless. Any of us have the opportunity to learn something new every day that can help with marriage. You may or may not be aware of it, but over the course of a lifetime you learn more about how life works, how other people work, and even about yourself and how you interact with others. Life is continually calling us into learning, and this is especially true when it comes to human relationships.

Marriage success or failure has the greatest impact on your adult life. Divorce is stressful to you, your spouse and your children, it also has a huge impact on your assets and earnings. There are numerous tools available to help you work on your relationship. These tools can help you navigate your way through marriage.

You can never be too informed about tools, methods and studies about building successful happy marriages. These tools will help  you become more competent in your knowledge.

Understand the success factors like the personal and psychological circumstances that will influence your marriage, what are the tools and approaches available to you in dealing with conflict, and numerous other relevant data. All this information is readily available to you whether through self-help material, through a counselor, support group or other venues.

There are no shortcuts. The people who achieve great things in life, sometimes against great odds, are those who are determined to succeed and determined to take action and do something. Others can provide you with the tools, but the hard work and the heartache and the achievement are ultimately your responsibility.

Interestingly, it does take years of passion, love and intimacy to get to the point where a couple is so comfortable with each other that they finish each other’s sentences and depend on each other.  This is a happy marriage. Want to know a secret? Studies say that couples like these have an even better sex life in their marital futures than the ones with all the passion at the start then burn out later on.

Tips for a happy marriage

Prioritize each other

This is one of the most important tips. Those in a successful happy marriage have come to realize that above all relationships each one has in their lives, even kids, parents, siblings, co-workers, best friends a couple has to prioritize their marriage.

Why? Ultimately, it will be just the two of you going through life together and you made the promise to do so. People fail to realize that your spouse is your first and foremost priority! They allow their marriages to get caught in between squabbling kids, family politics and even work obligations.

Your spouse has to know that he or she can trust on you to do what’s best for the relationship and vice versa, that he or she is your best friend and will never let you down. When you work as a team, you face the obligations you have towards others as a team. This makes for a happy marriage.

Don’t give up dating each other

The humdrum of life, kids and laundry can take away time from each other. Don’t allow it! If you’re the spontaneous type, rethink your understanding because you really do have to set a date to date your spouse  and make it a routine. Setting time for each other doing fun things will make for a happy marriage.

Fight fair and laugh

You might think the elements in this tip are not related but they absolutely are. It’s all a matter of attitude. How do you see fighting or arguing in your relationship? How do you see humor? If you can inject both with a positive approach always, then you realize that it all comes from the inside.

Learn how to fight constructively with the correct communication tools will make for a happy marriage.. And don’t take fighting too seriously. Laugh with your spouse at your annoying little fights. See them both as essential to your marriage. It is a way to communicate.

Agree to disagree

As a couple, it’s better if you share a majority of your beliefs and perspectives about life. But, even if you don’t, talking, discussing and bantering are important in keeping the spice in your marriage. You can even agree to disagree. The more you talk, the more you get to know what your spouse is thinking and feeling. The more you get to know the real person behind the words will make for a happy marriage.

Communication helps all couples. It is quite normal for a marriage to go through cycles, and arguments will happen from time to time. In fact, one thing they talk about in the course is how disagreements are normal. It ts how you deal with those arguments and disagreements that determines the health of your relationship.

As each of us grow and evolve, we are called to learn different lessons in different ways, and one of the exciting things about marriages is the way we interact and negotiate our way around issues when we look at things from different perspectives. What determines whether this challenge is a positive or negative experience for your marriage is how both of you choose to react to your differences and work around them.

Disagreements in a happy marriage

When faced with a disagreement there are a range of choices. The first is to back down, allowing the other to make their point and express it. Another is to challenge their point and ascertain whether it is correct. Another choice is to discuss both options and see if there is room for flexibility. Are both of you correct, or is one of you incorrect in your viewpoint? How much is one person’s viewpoint inhibiting the beliefs, values, or morals of the other?

Evaluate your actions and reactions.

What lesson am I being called to learn in this conflict?
What can I learn about my partner and myself?
What can I learn in order to address this issue and move forward?

The key is to understand the issues and to find small ways to move forward. You can call them goals. Make them achievable, and make them measurable.  Re-evaluate these goals and see if you are making progress or are you at a stalemate?

Just because your partner views something different than you do, it doesn’t make them wrong. There are often several interpretations of the truth, and the key to marriage success is in recognizing that each of us have key fundamental differences in the way they view things.

Save My Marriage Home Course

What are the essential ingredients of a

happy marriage?

tips for happy marriageThink of a relationship you had with something in the last week that in your mind was the ideal relationship, and think of what it was about that relationship that made it ideal.

Men may think of families, workmates, old friends, even relationships with objects such as their television remote, recliner chair, or favorite pair of shoes. These things feel comfortable and simple.

Women may consider  kitchen appliances, favorite clothes or shoes, old friends, neighbours, and treasured items in their lives, and the bond that they had created either between people or with items they used in their lives.

Both men and women may think of their dog. A dog has very simple needs, requiring only food, shelter, and love. No matter how someone’s day has been or what kind of mood they are in, when they get home at night they are greeted in such an authentic, transparent, and enthusiastic fashion.

These answers are not what you would expect but they are the answers that are given in marriage workshops. When you have your answer, ask yourself “what makes the relationship ideal”  Can this answer be used to make your marriage a happy marriage?

A happy marriage typically has unconditional

love?

Unconditional love is the type of love that comes without conditions. It is the type of love that you have for your partner when the romantic love is long gone. Once the romantic love is gone you make the transition to “real” love. Real love is love you have for your partner despite the knowledge that they are not perfect.

You know by now your spouse has faults. You know your spouse is not perfect. You know your spouse makes mistakes sometimes, but that’s okay. You still love them. You love your spouse because of those imperfections rather than in spite of them. This is unconditional love.

You acknowledge that you are the same. You have faults. You are not perfect. You know you make mistakes sometimes, but that’s okay. That’s called self-acceptance, and you expect unconditional love to overcome the faults and imperfections that people have.

A happy marriage has little emotional clutter

We all clutter our lives with thoughts and emotions, trials and tribulations, and there is the temptation to let our issues become bigger than they really are and rule our lives.

If you are serious about saving your marriage the key is in finding ways to place the emotional clutter to one side and let your unconditional love come through. It is okay to have faults and make mistakes. It’s okay to have thoughts and feelings. But above all of this is the love you have for your spouse, the love you have for one another.

It is possible to not like your spouse or not like what they are doing and still love them. It’s possible to not like where your life or your marriage is at but still love your spouse. The love you have for your spouse and your marriage can remain constant.

Even a happy marriage goes through cycles

Like the seasons, love in a relationship grows and wanes. One of the most common myths in marriages is the belief that when the love wanes the relationship is over. It’s not. The key to success is in understanding what is happening in your marriage and the role that love plays. It’s very easy for us to connect losing the feelings of being in love with actual loving when it is not really the case.

After the initial thrill of romance is gone, couples often find themselves lost and confused. What they don’t realize is that lustful love is temporary, it will wear away. When the prospect of spending years together sets in, the correct question to ask one’s self would be ‘How  do I love when the initial thrill is gone?’

The important thing to realize is that you are always learning, and finding new ways of understanding and loving each other as well as yourselves. Think of your marriage issues as an opportunity for growth and understanding.

 In marriage we are called into a constant evolution. The challenge to all marriages, good and bad, is to find new ways of loving each other. If you have been married one year, ten years or forty years, the challenge is still the same. Grow in love together.

Some spouses may feel they have ‘I have fallen out of love,’ It doesn’t mean your marriage is over. What it does mean is that they have lost their way. There are many stages that love and a relationship goes through.

We are very quick to judge that we no longer love someone just because the feelings fade. With proper understanding, we can expect that even if the feeling may not be there, it doesn’t mean we don’t love.

In truth, love is a commitment. It is not just a feeling, it is a doing thing. A mature person loves by choice and not simply by circumstance.

 

The next step would be to manage your partner’s feelings or lack thereof by starting with dialogue. Talk about the feelings and find out what happened, where is it coming from? There are numerous tools and methods available for a couple. A counselor can  help a couple examine their present situation. The relationship deserves at the very least,  dialogue as to what the current situation is.

In dialogue, let your spouse talk and you listen. There may be important things you need to learn about your spouse and your marriage. On the other hand, you can also share your own feelings about what is happening. Try not to place blame on your spouse, however, but share your thoughts and feelings by using ‘I feel’ statements.

Lines of  communication can breakdown in a

happy marriage

No one is immune to the confusion of conflict. People  find themselves in a communication breakdown when they least expect it and chaos ensues.

You will need to identify any marital issues. Do you really know specifically why your marriage is in crisis? Recognizing you have a marriage problem is the first step along the road to transforming your marriage, and for most couples simply acknowledging there is a problem shatters the marriage myth. According to love stories, movies, and fairytales we are supposed to live ‘happily ever after’. But what happens when one spouse works too much, spends too much money or develops a drinking problem

The fact is we know surprisingly little, and from the moment we say “I do,” we don’t get a manual or a textbook telling us how to get it right. Our marriage becomes an evolving set of experiments, learning and discovering more and more about ourselves and each other, and figuring out what works and what doesn’t. Some say if we don’t make mistakes we don’t really learn, but what do those mistakes cost us, and is the cost too high for some couples?

Happy marriageSteps to a happy marriage

The first key to transforming your marriage is to stop looking at your issues on a case-by-case basis. Going into the small details of every argument are never really dealing with the big stuff will not make for a happy marriage.

What are the issues that keep coming up in every disagreement? Does one partner feeling unappreciated? Perhaps you are  not making love as much as you used to? Do either of you feeling unfulfilled by your lifestyle or the relationship? Is the communication poor in your relationship? Does your need to always be right override the feelings of your partner? Spend less time worrying about the details and more time examining the issues and themes behind your arguments.

If you have a greater understanding of what the key themes are behind your marriage issues you are better able to develop effective solutions that will really make a difference.

Examine your beliefs about marriage and how you deal with disagreements. It’s okay to not have the fairytale marriage. Even the best couples don’t always get it right. But what makes the imperfections good or bad is how you choose as a couple to deal with it. When you disagree about something, do you sit down and talk about it, or is your first instinct to deny that there is a problem and hope that it will all go away?

At times a sarcastic comment may cause hurt feelings and the need to lash out. Sometimes it starts with a silly argument over something as simple.  It usually represents something much deeper that had been simmering away for a couple of weeks.

You need to understand that it is okay to be imperfect. In fact, admitting this to yourself and your partner can be one of the most liberating actions you take in transforming your marriage. Admitting your imperfections exposes a vulnerability that can bring you closer together as you find ways to get some meaning out of your issues. Acknowledging that you do make mistakes can open the door to acknowledging that there is a better way to do things, and one of the lessons we are called into as a couple is finding that solution together.

Make a list of things that you have learnt since you got married, and a list of areas that you as a couple can both improve on. Then try sharing that list with your partner and ask them to contribute their thoughts. These exercises can help make a happy marriage.

Here are some examples of how working

together can lead to a happy marriage

One spouse is usually more organized. Both parties should realize the differences and work together to create a solution. Often one spouse may get  frustrated if they have to  search for something when it is not where they expect it to be.

Solution -If you both agree have a designated spot where things that are found lying around the house can be piled up into a box and placed somewhere. Yes, you may need to sift through the box but at least you have a starting point. Encourage your spouse to clear away the junk regularly in the box so that it will not be so difficult when they are trying to find something of importance.

When one spouse feels their efforts are not appreciated. This argument may occur when someone cooks meals more so than the other spouse. The spouse that is cooking may not expect praise all the time but they would like their efforts recognized. Saying something like you do not have to cook shows ingratitude. One spouse misinterpreted efforts, and  the other spouse misinterpreted the  response.

Both partners need communicate and  talk about their feelings more. They need to discuss  how each of their contributions to the home and relationship make them feel. Misinterpretations need to be discussed as it leads to further frustration and breakdown of communication.  Just because something isn’t spoken about, doesn’t mean it’s not important.

A relationship or marriage is not a competition, but for many couples it feels like it. Sometimes you get so wrapped up in your own emotions that you forget to think of the other person. You also need to entertain the possibility that you are misinterpreting each other. Talking about it is the way to expose the miscommunication and let the healing begin.

Happy marriage and stress level

When people feel guilt or stress, it leads them to act funny ways. Often stress and guilt are barriers to communication. The key to overcoming them is to recognize what it is, and have the courage to talk about it. You might be able to do it as a couple, or you might want the help of a friend who can listen to the way you are communicating with each other and offer insights and advice. Find new ways manage stress and express it in a positive way.

Each partner needs to manage their stress levels. Simple things like getting more sleep, exercise and meditation can be a good start. A counselor can also help work through your stress or refer to a specialist if medications are needed.

Managing anger in a happy marriage

What strategies do you have as a couple for processing and controlling anger?  Conflict or anger itself does not have to cause an irreparable rift between partners. With good communication skills and a shared commitment to a marriage, even these are surmountable.

Recognizing you are in a partnership helps

obtain a happy marriage

It’s a mutual commitment to be focused on each other, to communicate, spend time together, plan and set goals as a couple. Don’t stop reinforcing your presence in the marriage. Do some positive loving acts for your spouse without expecting anything in return. These mirror your mature, positive view of what love really is. Make these acts little things. They don’t have to be grand gestures. It’s the everyday things that actually build trust, intimacy and love between couples. Create a place for each other in your marriage.

Breakdown of a happy marriage

There are numerous reasons why a once committed relationship would degenerate to one partner asking for a divorce. It could have been:

  • Conflict or resentment within the marriage
  • An affair
  • Behavioral issues or psychological problems of one spouse
  • Unmanaged addictions.

Whatever of these problems may be what is seen on the surface, the bottom line is that usually, barring any abuse or psychological problems that are best handled by a professional.

How can I save my marriage if my partner

doesn’t want to help find a solution?

It is a typical enough story: one partner leaves, the other stays. One remains ‘in love’, the other is uncertain. Whatever it is that has caused a couple to be apart, the one person who remains bears the prospect, fear, doubt, desire, hope of saving his or her marriage alone.

The answer is work on yourself.

Self actualization and a happy marriage

Considering there are two people contributing to the overall health and wellbeing of a marriage, shouldn’t both of you be present to actually try and save it?  The first thing you must know is if you want to save your marriage and if you find yourself alone in this desire, waiting for the other spouse to make the first move is the beginning of the end. If you are looking for someone to blame or someone else to put the emotional and physical work into saving the marriage, again, it’s going to fail.

The belief that the responsibility lies with the other person is a self-defeating attitude. It propagates the belief that there is absolutely nothing you can do to save your marriage and you should stand and watch what comes your way. There is still something you can do. You can work on yourself.

How to Save Your Marriage Alone

Ideally, the mature human person should have developed a strong sense of self-awareness, confidence and self-esteem as he or she reaches adulthood. These become the windows with which we view the world, flaws and all. These make up part of our personal shelter amidst challenges and difficulties. This is called self-actualization

However, many of us enter into adult life without reaching this point. We may have experienced abandonment in our childhood or been disappointed by our romantic relationships; whatever it is, it has caused to shift from proper mature development to fears of abandonment and the inability to see that we can stand on our own two feet. You need to know and believe that you are ok alone.

Your happiness in a happy marriage

Thus, many of us enter relationships and marriages with the hope, plan and dream that we would never be alone. We invest so much in our partners and loved ones, focusing our entire beings on them and relying on them to make us happy and secure. Unfortunately, this perspective carries with it its own poison. Subconsciously, we project the responsibility of our life happiness on the other person, eloquently sidestepping taking responsibility for our own life happiness and destiny.

As human beings, we hate being alone. It’s part of our genetic make-up to be social creatures and develop connections with others, whether through friendships or romantic interest. The way we connect with others and the nature of how we interact with people is a fundamental aspect of personal and emotional development.

Happy marriage and placing blame

Problems develop when a partner indicates some form of dissatisfaction with the relationship or the expectations unwittingly placed upon them. When something goes wrong with our marriages, it is very easy for us to place the blame on the other person for having made us unhappy. Look carefully at the situation. Is there something you can do to alleviate these feelings rather than placing all of the blame on your partner.

Working on self improvement to help obtain a happy marriage

Unless you feel good about yourself and have a healthy mind it is difficult to have a good relationship with someone else. All of us can benefit from self-improvement. It is never too late to evolve into a happier, more mature and more lovable person. A happy, fulfilling relationship begins with you.

Often, when confronted by a crisis, we find ourselves backed into a corner thinking we have no choice in the matter. How can we change the situation when it involves another person’s feelings or decisions?  Although we cannot manipulate, blackmail or threaten our partner into changing their mind, we can actually control how we react to the situation. If anything, you must realize that you still have control over yourself. You have the opportunity to look inward and take responsibility for your own feelings and actions and even have the chance to take personal inventory of what your partner is trying to tell you. Are there points in your marriage that must be changed? If so, respond appropriately and proactively.

Here’s the thing. You can choose to wallow in pain and anger or you can choose to become even more positive and loving towards your spouse. You can choose to blame and shame your partner or you can choose to take stock, be accountable for where your marriage is and move on towards a more fulfilling, happy you.

This means that you have a lot of self-work to do. Work out your issues, mature, learn to love yourself. These are all part of growing up and growing into a successful marriage. Even when your partner has issues of his or her own or buckles under the pressure of a crisis there is still you.

I always say that mature individuals make mature, lasting marriages. What people fail to realize is that you can take responsibility and choose your actions. When the going gets tough, you have the choice to either react to the situation you’re in or to be swept away by a tide of emotion. When faced by temptation, the temptation will not make you ‘do it’ ‘ you will. It all lies with you.

Rather than beat yourself up in desperation, try these tips to start your own personal transformation and lead your marriage to success:

Breathe deeply

Smile and laugh
Let go and forgive yourself and your partner
Believe that reconnection is possible
See a counselor for yourself not just for your marriage
Examine your part in contributing to the difficulties in your marriage
Take care of yourself by sleeping enough, eating healthy and getting some exercise.

In being open and mature, you can also provide an environment where love and intimacy can flourish once more. With all the confidence and sincerity you have gathered, take these steps. Plus one more. Even in your separation, conflict or difficulties, find it in you to continue loving your partner and showing him or her that you do. Through little, subtle acts, like preparing a snack for him or her or spending some quality TV time, you can rekindle love in your marriage. They don’t have to be grand gestures, they just have to be sincere. And coming from the mature, new you, they will.

The first step to transforming your marriage is in transforming you.  All it takes is the ability to step outside your day-to-day issues and look at different ways of viewing your marriage. Every marriage problem invites you into growing and offers you and your partner the opportunity to learn.

Become a loving person again by caring for your spouse in the little everyday things. Be there for him or her when before you may have been too much of a workaholic. Set aside intimate time just for your partner alone whereas previously, you may have let the kids take up too much of your time.

Take a good look at yourself and what you can do in this moment. You can definitely not control your partner’s feelings, attitude and reactions, but you can control your own. You can go from fearing abandonment to actually taking responsibility for yourself and your own happiness.

This is where the human truth about self-actualization comes in. Understand, adapt and internalize this for yourself. Learn it. It will spell the difference not just in your marriage but in you.

A whole human being is easy to love. A happy person attracts happiness. In starting with yourself, you can move from being an unhappy, clingy, difficult person to one who can provide an environment of safety, wisdom, trust and open communication. If each of you are able to self-sustain when it comes to taking responsibility for your own life happiness, you both have much less baggage and much more genuine love to bring into the relationship. Your motivation shifts from being one of fear to being one of real love.

Even if your spouse is stubborn and unresponsive, you can still change yourself and become as engaging, positive and proactive as you were when you first fell in love. Usually, at the struggling stage of a relationship, one or both couples would look back and miss the good old days where it was easy to be together. You can capture those days again and even add to them with your own current maturity and growth. After all, you did not spend those years after the wedding for nothing. You and your spouse have made a huge investment into this partnership and your intention to stay in the marriage through positive loving actions, through open communication and strengthened commitment can help your spouse refocus his view on what you once committed to.

Hopefully with time you will be able to have  open communication with your spouse and actually sit down and discuss the crisis you’re in. Discuss your motivations, plans and feelings. You can even get to the real issues surrounding your marital difficulties and actually begin taking positive steps to work them through. Ask him or her if he or she realizes just how much effort a divorce could entail? Does your spouse actually realize that a divorce has emotional, financial, logistical and physical consequences? A divorce brings change  and it is definitely not to be taken lightly. If your spouse wants a divorce, is he or she prepared to embrace this change?

Special considerations

Are you married to an addict or someone

with deep personal issues?

Is your marriage or family life going through a difficult time because of problems, financial concerns, abuse, or caring for a physically or emotionally handicapped family member?

If so, do you find yourself making excuses for these issues? Calling in sick for your alcoholic husband? Taking over the housework because your poor spouse is just too depressed to help? Denying that abuse is going on in your own home? Do you find yourself taking charge and bearing the burdens of the entire marriage or family?

You may be a codependent and this is a serious issue in marriages and families. You may have learned to be codependent due to your family background. It happened in your family so you tend to be attracted to the same situation once you marry.

You may have learned behaviors such as making excuses, tuning out, controlling, excessive caretaking, being hyper-vigilant because you feel that you should do something to save your family from shame or to at least diffuse the situation and keep the peace. You also do this because you desire to be needed and fear of doing anything that would change the relationship.

Unfortunately, while such behaviors may reduce conflict and tension for the meantime, they won’t help for the long term. All you are doing is reinforcing the situation and even, allowing it to worsen. You are also allowing yourself to be lost within the situation and, in the long run, may find yourself no longer able to cope.

What can you do to overcome codependence in your marriage and family life?

More often than not, these issues stem from deep seated psychological problems. Don’t let shame keep you from seeking the help of a counselor or psychologist. Additionally, there are programs similar to Codependents Anonymous that will help you process your issues and provide you with tools how to overcome them.

Your partner or family member may also need professional help, especially if they are battling clinical conditions or addiction. Work at getting them the help they need, whether they want it or not.

Codependents need healing too and, once recognized, you should not allow the situation to continue. Get help. Identifying and deal with addiction. Seek professional help to identify keys to transformation, detoxification, treating addiction, relapse prevention, and tips for partners.

Abuse in the home

Abuse should never be tolerated, you need to get away from the situation. Find a shelter or group that will help you gain your independence and help you through healing and recovery.

Seeking help from outside the marriage

You have the option to involve a third party  to help you and your spouse through a difficult situation. This is not the time to let your pride get in the way. A professional counselor, trusted elder or neutral friend can help put things into perspective between you and your partner and may even help unlock deep seated concerns or issues.

Do you have any tips for having a happy marriage?

 

Health Street Journal Designs

About Sharon T McLaughlin MD FACS 236 Articles
I am a physician who is interested in providing health information and health tips so that we may live healthy lives.

14 Comments

  1. Hello! Wowsy what an in-debt article! I found it very interesting! All I know is it takes hard work and commitment from both parties to make a marriage work! And of course you do need to put spouse is your first and foremost priority!

    Great Share,
    Chery :))

  2. Great article! This talks a ton about healthy relationship dynamics and how to form sustainable relationships, marriage or not. I’m really glad abuse was mentioned and resources were provided for that as well.

  3. Hi Dr. Sharon,

    This phrase kinda says it all for a guy who still crazy for the Lady who picked him 45 years ago:

    “Spend less time worrying about the details and more time examining the issues and themes behind your arguments.”

    Brilliant write-up. Thanks,
    Edward

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