Marriage is a lasting commitment that is both wonderful and stressful all at the same time. It’s something that requires constant work and the desire to stay together. Those of us who are married know that it can be difficult, but there are ways to make it easier. In addition to mutual respect and empathy, here are four tips to keep your marriage happy, healthy and lasting:
No one is a mind reader, so you can’t expect your partner to magically acquire the skill. It is easy to get into the habit of believing that, since you’ve been together so long, your partner should be able to know what you want when you want it. However, this isn’t always the case. Sure, there are some things that they will know; your favorite food, your favorite shows, etc., but when it comes down to it they won’t know what you want on a daily basis.
Hinting at what you want or what is wrong and then getting upset when they don’t figure it out not only creates problems in the relationship, it’s also unfair to them. In general, your partner wants to make you happy (or at least they should), but they can’t do that if you don’t tell them what you want. You have to be open and honest about it in order for them to be able to understand and work on whatever the problem is.
Additionally, don’t let an issue simmer in the back of your mind until it breaks through full force, creating a knock-down, drag out fight. If there is a problem you should address it immediately in a respectful way. If you don’t like that they consistently leave their clothes lying around, don’t wait to tell them until you are so angry you can’t see straight. Tell them right away and do it in a way that is not accusatory or inflammatory.
Just because you’re married doesn’t mean you stop being individuals. It’s important to keep certain aspects of your life before living together/being married.
If, before you moved in together, your partner liked to play a sport, don’t be upset when they continue to go out and play that sport. If you were a member of a book club before moving in together, don’t stop going to meetings just because your partner doesn’t want to go, too.
For example, my husband and I both love live music, but I’m not into some of the bands he likes. So, if one of his favorite bands is coming to town and he wants to go but I don’t, he goes with friends. Similarly, if a movie is out that I want to see and he doesn’t, I’ll go with someone else, like when I went to see Beauty and the Beast with my sister. When I told him, his response was, “Oh, sweet! Now I don’t have to go see it.”
In either case, we were fully aware that the other didn’t want to go, so we didn’t put them on a guilt trip about it. There is no need to drag each other down because one of you isn’t having a good time, which is what will happen if you go with them solely because you feel you have to.
Being together is great and important for a healthy relationship, but so is individuality. If you are constantly complaining about the other person doing things that they like and you don’t, resentment will build up and create more problems in the future. Plus, you’ll quickly run out of things to talk about if you spend all of your time together.
Play To Your Strengths
Throw gender roles and societal expectations out the window and do whatever you’re better at or prefer to do. If he’s better at or prefers to cook, let him. If you’re better at or prefer to do yard work, do it.
So many times, couples will do what they think they’re supposed to do, instead of what they’re good at. I am terrible at budgeting money, but he’s great at it. Society says that I should be the one to handle the money, but why would I screw up our finances just because of my gender?
Just the same, if you want to cook and clean and he wants to do the yard work, then that’s what you should do. Just how there are people who would look down on you for not following gender roles, there are those who would look down on you for following them. Ignore those people, too.
When it comes down to it, the only people’s opinions that matter is you and your spouse’s. So, do what works for you and forget what society or anyone else has to say about it.
Remember: Every Marriage Is Different
No marriage is perfect, not even that person from high school whose Facebook and Instagram accounts make you green with jealousy. Every couple has fights and problems, but every relationship is different. Don’t compare your marriage to anyone else’s because you’ll only come out disappointed.
Stay in your lane and stop trying to keep up with everyone else. It is so easy in this day and age to continuously compare ourselves to others and all that does is bring us down. Focus on yourself and your partner and what you both need.
A happy spouse makes a happy house, so do what makes you happy and forget what everyone else is doing.