What’s the secret to a happy marriage? Many married people believe they know the answer…
Being married means you are blending two lives together – for better or worse. Sometimes this is a seamless transition that leads to a blissful life married to your best friend. Other times? Well, it can take some getting used to.
It is exciting and rewarding when you finally found the person to spend the rest of your life with, but there are definitely some lessons to be learned along the way. Here are our best successful marriage tips for building a strong, happy life together.
DO: Connect Daily
Michael S. Sorensen’s book I Hear You: The Surprisingly Simple Skill Behind Extraordinary Relationships talks about the importance of validation in relationships.
If you want a healthy marriage, you need to connect with and validate your spouse on a daily basis. This means talking, sharing, laughing, and enjoying one another’s company. Connecting with your spouse should never feel like a chore. It should be refreshing.
Take 30 minutes after you get home from work to sit down and relax together. Eat a healthy dinner at the table instead of in front of the TV and talk about the highlights of your day. Even those with jam-packed schedules can still look for ways to connected daily with their spouse.
“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” ― Leo Tolstoy
One of the best successful marriage advice you can follow is to never, ever compare your marriage to someone else’s.
The moment you start comparing your relationship with your neighbor’s relationship or a past relationship of your own, trouble will soon follow.
There is an old saying that goes: Comparison is the thief of joy.
So, instead of wishing your relationship were like someone else’s, make a list of all the things you are grateful for in your partner and show your appreciation for it.
DO: Be Willing to Forgive
Humans aren’t perfect. This is especially true in any marriage. When you agree to bring two separate lives together, there are bound to be some difficulties that arise along the way.
There may be times when your spouse says or does something that hurts your feelings, but it is important in healthy marriages that couples learn to forgive and move on.
DON’T: Try and Change Each Other
There are great changes that can happen over time in a marriage, such as quitting bad habits, learning how to communicate with each other, and learning patience. But, trying to force these changes will be fruitless and frustrating.
Allowing life and love to be as they are, instead of trying to change or control things is an important part of a healthy marriage. This is further highlighted in David Richo’s book How to Be an Adult in Relationships: The Five Keys to Mindful Loving.
You married your spouse for who they are, not for who you will turn them into. Your partner has plenty of wonderful qualities that drew you to them – remember that!
DO: Plan Date Nights
“After ten years and the birth of our third child, I wanted a divorce,” says blogger and podcaster Whitney Shayo. “Of all the efforts we made to stay together, I give date night the most credit. The action of going to drop the children off at my parents’ house week after week and having uninterrupted time for the two of us was immensely powerful.”
One of the best successful marriage tips is to plan a weekly/bi-weekly/monthly date night.
This is an opportunity for couples to go out, get away from work and the kids, and spend a night focusing on rekindling romance, building sexual tension, and remember what it feels like to date one another.
DON’T: Fight Unfairly
Disagreements are bound to happen between partners, but don’t let a difference in views become an excuse to verbally attack one another. When arguing with your partner, do not:
- Resort to childish name-calling
- Act out any physical abuse
- Bring up hurtful memories or actions for the purpose of upsetting your spouse
- Use a disagreement as a pathway to discuss other issues you are having.
One of the most important successful marriage tips is to watch the way you argue with your spouse. Be kind and respectful to one another. Show patience and love, listen when your spouse is speaking, give them your undivided attention, and seek to solve the problem at hand.
DO: Make Time for Intimacy
Sex is important to a marriage and so, it’s crucial to regularly make time for it.
If you are putting your sex life on the back-burner you are essentially telling your partner that making an emotional and physical connection to them is not on your priority list.
There is so much more to sex than just physical pleasure. Couples who have sex regularly report a higher level of relationship satisfaction and promote lower stress levels.
The oxytocin released during intercourse and other forms of physical intimacy (such as cuddling or literally sleeping side-by-side) is scientifically proven to promote pair-bonding, boost trust, and strengthen the marriage bond.
DON’T: Be Disrespectful
“We both realized we were seeking similar things in the relationship–respect, a listening ear, and some enthusiasm toward maintaining a thriving relationship,” says Jenny Lelwica Buttaccio about how marriage counseling saved her relationship.
Nobody is perfect and at times, you may say something to your partner that hurts their feelings or makes them feel disrespected. In fact, if you and your spouse have been together for many years, you may have already slipped up on this healthy marriage tip.
But, you would never want to go out of your way to be purposely disrespectful regarding your marriage or your spouse.
Being purposely disrespectful may involve complaining about your partner to a family member, saying disparaging things about your spouse to a co-worker, joking about how boring/annoying marriage is, or by flirting with someone else on a side.
DO: Consult Each Other
As a married couple, it is important that you consult each other before making decisions.
It is common courtesy to ask your partner whether you have plans this weekend or whether you should accept a social invitation. It is polite and respectful to consult as a couple what is healthy for you and your family before you make any big life decisions such as taking on a larger or smaller workload or are planning for some travel.
It is not unhealthy or ‘controlling’ behavior to discuss such topics with a partner before making a change in your life. It shows love and respect to your partner who you have vowed to share your life with.
DON’T: Go to Bed Angry
This one is a biggie. Not only does going to bed angry a rude thing to do, it is also a guarantee for a poor night’s sleep. Studies now confirm that going to bed angry is bad for your health. A scientific study revealed that going to bed angry is proven to reinforce bad memories in the brain and cause mental distress.
The next time you’re about to turn out the lights on your argument and endure a sleepless night where you’re unhappy with your partner, ask yourself this: Will this problem still matter tomorrow? Odds are the answer would be no.
Do yourself and your spouse a world of good by vowing never to go to bed with unresolved conflict hanging over you. It just isn’t worth it.