Being happily married and living happily ever after is not as simple as it sounds in the movies and fairy tales (then again – you knew that already.)
Here’s a list of valuable lessons from couples who have learned how to have a happier marriage throughout the years.
Of course, nobody can really promise you eternal love, but a few of these tips will save you from unnecessary suffering… Guaranteed!
1. Marry someone you are also friends with.
Declare to spend the rest of your life with someone who really likes you as a person, not just as a sexual partner. Sometimes, sex will be nonexistent for short periods of time (for example: pregnancy, illness, geographical separation). If you and your better half like each other and love each other, the foundation that was built on friendship will be more than enough to get you through those rough, sexless patches. Besides, being best friends with your spouse makes marriage so much more fun!
2. Don’t put your spouse on a pedestal.
Everyone makes mistakes, so leave room for plenty of them. If you’re looking for the perfect spouse and marriage you’re probably living in a fantasy world. Simple rules apply in our vows, but we all act a little human sometimes and vows become the hardest thing in the world to stick to. This is to be expected, so try not to come down too hard on your other half for not being a saint at all times and the two of you will be just fine.
3. Leave the past in the past.
Are you still nagging about all those awful things that happened three years ago? Get over it! No one wants to hear the replay of how much of a jackass they used to be, especially when you both agreed to work it out and things are now going great. If you just can’t stop bringing it up frequently, maybe it’s time to seek counseling. Otherwise, concentrate on the good things and push forward.
4. Put your spouse and children first
Nothing is going to send you to divorce court faster than in-law drama. I know you want everyone to get along, but understand that you are not responsible for your mother, father or siblings’ happiness. Your main responsibility is to keep your house in order. If your parents and siblings can’t get with the program, be prepared to take a hiatus from them until they have learned to respect you and your mate. If something in them forbids them to do so, stay true to the one who really matters and that should be you and your spouse. If you truly want a successful marriage, sometimes you have to learn to love from a distance.
5. Never disrespect your home.
You already know your family hates your spouse, so stop going to them and talking behind his or her back whenever you two have an argument. First, it just makes your family loathe your spouse even more and second, your marriage is on the wrong track if you’re pouring salt on your significant other. Also, keep your house a home by not having the wrong people coming and going. This is bad for any relationship, married or not. Keep the drama queen (or king) out of your house – They’re only looking to start trouble.
6. Keep marital advice from someone who isn’t married to a minimum.
Realistically, you probably shouldn’t take marital advice from someone who has never been married, just like you probably shouldn’t take childrearing advice from someone who doesn’t have kids. It sounds a little harsh, but it makes sense. Would you take flight instruction from someone who has never even had flight training? I wouldn’t. In my experience, my unmarried friends have never said anything that could help my marriage. It is better instead to seek advice from older, experienced couples, preferably those who have been married for quite a while. There is no better way to prepare for marital warfare than to get guidance from someone who has already been in combat and survived.
7. Support your spouse’s endeavors.
Why do you shoot down every idea your sweetie comes up with? Will it really kill you to be supportive for once? No one will exist on a single thought for the rest of their lives. Realize that people grow and with growth comes change. It’s understandable that your spouse has aspirations outside of going to work and paying bills. Is your opposing attitude holding him back from starting that small business? Are you laughing her away from her dream of becoming an actress? Be supportive of your life companion’s dreams because if it works out for them, it will really work out for you.
8. Keep passion alive.
She used to wear sexy boy shorts while the two of you were dating, but since you’ve been married and had two children all she’s worn to bed are her ugly “granny panties” underneath shabby sweat pants. He used to say something flattering to you every day, but now he barely notices even when you go out of your way to get a new outfit or change of look. These are common complaints and it can wreak havoc in a marriage. Life is busy and we all get tired from our day-to-day affairs, but just remember to take a little time to compliment your spouse every once in a while. Let him know that you haven’t forgotten about him and you appreciate all his efforts. Show her that you are still the person she fell in love with even though life can get in the way. Your partner will surely return the favor.
9. Communicate often.
Talk to your spouse every day about something other than the kids, the house, and the bills. Even if you don’t spend a lot of time in the house together, a cell phone will solve that problem. Be sure to get some time to yourselves: Go out on a date every once in a while or just snuggle on the couch with a glass of wine and talk about constructive things. Communication is a key element to a successful marriage. Who wants to spend the rest of his life with someone who won’t even talk? Who wants to have a disagreement, but not be able to discuss it intelligently? Heated discussions are not necessarily bad.
At least there is communication, which is much better than going in a room, slamming the door and stewing for hours. Fight it out, get it over with and make up. Because, after all, who doesn’t like making up?