After the stomach butterflies have fluttered and the warm, hazy, puppy-love stage fades, many relationships hit a rough patch. Relationship struggles don’t come with a warning, and even after years of companionship, issues can surface. Just because the honeymoon phase has ended, doesn’t mean a happy marriage is impossible; it means it’s time to learn and grow with your partner. As a vulnerable time for many couples, knowing what to do to keep the love boat afloat can be a difficult time for those involved. Much like a growing plant, relationships need a lot of attention, tender care and nourishment. Not sure where to start? We’ve got some advice for those of you looking to learn from the experiences of others who have achieved a happy marriage successfully.
Think Before You Speak
You’re not alone if you’ve said something you didn’t mean (or didn’t mean to say outloud) during a heated debacle. You’re also not alone if you’ve accidentally said something your spouse wasn’t exactly thrilled to hear, for instance, “Don’t you think the new professor is attractive?”. Engender a happy marriage by never starting a question that you don’t want the honest answer to. This negative habbit can really destroy your partner. If you’re starting your statements with “You never…” or “You always…”, you can almost bet that a fight will soon begin. You’ve been taught how to count for good reason – your happy marriage nearly depends on you thinking about what you have to say before you say it!
We’ve all given the advice to someone in their time of delusive behaviour; honesty is always the best policy. By now, you’ve come to realize that lies, big or small, will inevitably come back to haunt you. Feeling a bit like you’ve been disconnected with your partner? It’s better to be honest and upfront sooner rather than later. The longer delusions are bottled up, the worse they will be when they explode. Often times, money is the driver of dishonest behaviour. Maybe you’ve maxed out the credit cards and are too ashamed to bring it up with your spouse. Think about it from their perspective: yes, you’d be upset about the financial issue, but ultimately being open about the problem will lead to a quicker solution that you can help each other with. The biggest stake at hand is your partner’s ability to trust you; a happy marriage is a durable foundation of trust. Move towards a happy marriage by being upfront and honest with your partner, just as you would expect them to be with you.
Let It Go
Take a lesson from the all too popular children’s movie; let it go! We’re talking about that age-old saying you’ve heard, but never remembered at the right time, “pick your battles”. Sometimes, forgiving more and walking away from whatever it is that’s bothering you is what it takes to have a happy marriage. But that’s exactly the point to this helpful tip – you actually have to forgive, forget and let it be. If you stay silent, bite your tongue and let a bad feeling harbour for weeks on end, you’re going to build yourself an ulcer, not a happy marriage – that’s not the advice we’re giving! Successful silence is genuinely letting go of some slights that just don’t need to be addressed. Remember the reasons you married your partner? Now is a great time to focus on those reasons and to let the issue pass without a fight. Drop the small issue and move on to happier times!
Appreciation All Around
Communicating your appreciation to your partner – and to yourself – can be one of the key habits to a thriving, happy marriage. After all, gestures of all sizes are to show how much we are thankful for the ones we love, and to let them know that we care about them. Marriages become comfortable after years and years of getting to know each other and the way things work. If it’s becoming a stale routine where neither partner feels appreciated, it’s time to take a step back for a look at the small things. Communicate that you enjoy their company, and give yourself a pat on the back for the little things that you go out of your way to do, too. Paying yourself and your partner a compliment goes a long way, and can mean a happy marriage for both of you.
We know that feeling your partner’s breath might sound odd, but it’s a powerful practice that will amp up the romantic ambiance. Looking deep into their eyes, place your hand lightly on their chest and feel their breathing; sync yours with them. Even on the days where you feel entirely drained and it’s the last thing you want to do, think about how your happy marriage depends on reciprocating appreciation and affection. Making these small changes can be a simple way to love on your partner and feel loved in return, therefor making your terrible day take a turn for the better. Simply put, these gestures will make your partner feel the affection simultaneously with feeling loved yourself; don’t let the depression settle in just yet.
Water The Grass
The grass is always greener on the side where it’s watered patiently and frequently. Here’s a happy marriage habit that’s difficult for some, (although we assure you, it only takes a little reminding); stay away from the thought that the grass is greener on the other side. Entertaining the delusions that someone else will make you happier is unfair to your partner, and takes away from the energy you should be putting into building yourself a happy marriage. This is also a great time to focus on the reasons you’ve married your spouse and to appreciate them for their qualities that you’ve fallen head over heels with. To give a double meaning to the green grass – pick up those small chores that you do actually have time for. There are big deals in your relationship and there are small problems that need some extra care. Most of us don’t have to deal with a big issue like our spouse having a second family stashed half way across town, but for the small deals like watering the grass or putting away the jumper cables, we can give some extra attention to. We’re talking about those petty little things that somehow blow up into major fights; maybe your spouse leaves dirty dishes in the sink when the dishwasher is empty, or maybe they always forget to change the toilet paper when they’ve emptied the last roll. A big habit to having a happy marriage starts with immediately addressing those small annoyances that can – if left unattended – do us, and our happy marriage in.
Spend Time Apart
We’re not trying to split you up – we’re saying to foster your friendships outside of your home because they’re really important to your overall happiness (and sometimes, during stressful weeks, your sanity!). Spend a weekend away for a girls trip or a guys trip and experience some friend time. While it may sound counterintuitive, spending time away from your partner can really stoke the intimate fire between the two of you. Enjoying a couple new experiences away from each other gives you something interesting to talk about, and something new for them to listen to. While yes, your happy marriage should be your highest priority relationship, building relationships with your friends is also very important.
Start And End With Affection
We’ve mentioned this one a few times in this article already, but that’s because it’s really important to show affection. A lot of happy marriages take a turn when those little acts of kindness from the heart don’t happen, leaving one (but generally, both) partners feeling unloved. An easy way to turn this around is to start and end your days with displays of affection. Maybe your schedules aren’t the same – when you’re thinking about them before they get home for the day, shoot them a sweet text letting them know you’re anxiously waiting to greet them with a big hug and kiss when they get home. Good morning kisses, good night back rubs – all of those feel-good things make for a happier union. Maintain that passionate chemistry inside and outside of the bedroom. At the very least, take a minute of your time each day to give your partner a tight squeeze to release some of that bonding hormone, oxytocin. Starting and ending your days with a positive, loving action can definitely make both partner’s day that much better, and is a strong step towards an affectionate, happy marriage.
A lot of work goes into having a successful, happy marriage. That being said, all that work doesn’t have to be hard work. A lot of these habits are things we already intend on doing, but sometimes we lose focus. Encourage that positive, happy marriage by treating it as a growing plant with these simple habits of affection, admiration and gratification; you and your partner will both be reaping the benefits!
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