I’m no expert when it comes to marriage. I’ve had two long term relationships in my life. The first was with my son’s father (abusive ex from hell) which lasted just over ten years, and the second is still going strong after six amazing years of marriage.
Still, it never ceases to amaze me when I learn of a friend who is suddenly ending their relationship before the ten year mark. It makes me feel sad really. Maybe because my parents have been married over forty years and still love one another. Maybe it’s because I think people give up too easy on their relationships, always thinking the grass is greener on the other side. They don’t even consider couples therapy, or getting advice from their local pastor or even listening to other married friends who have healthy relationships. They just give up.
But the question always arises…
How do you keep a marriage alive and healthy?
Laugh and Have Fun. By fun I don’t mean just hanging out or going out for dinner or doing fun stuff together. I mean being silly. Being yourself around your partner, without reservations about what they are thinking or feeling, afraid of being put down or embarrassed. If you can’t be yourself with the one you love then there is no point.
Always say what you mean and mean what you say. In any relationship it’s important to remember that although words are just words, they can hurt. So be prepared for the aftermath if an argument ensues and you use your tongue as a defense. Make sure you be careful and say what you want but with consideration for how it will affect your spouse.
Forgive and Forget. Yes I know this seems to be a big one for many married couples. Forgiveness comes, but forgetting isn’t always easy. Many couples bring up the past, especially during a disagreement. If you talk about the issues, come to an agreement or agree to disagree. Make sure you move on and don’t bring up what happened yesterday tomorrow.
Love one another for who you are. Another big one in relationships. We often start out loving each other for all the little idiosyncrasies we found attractive in the begining, and then somewhere down the line we begin to fester over them, wanting to change one another. Life is about evolving and accepting each other for who we are. You can’t change the core of who someone is but you can learn to love everything about them (good and bad) and it will go a long way in your marriage or relationship if you learn to accept each other for who you are.
Don’t sweat the small stuff. With life constantly moving, between work and kids, bills and the ups and downs life throws at us. Our relationships matter most. So don’t sweat the little things, even if they are annoying. He leaves his shavings on the sink, doesn’t put down the toilet seat. She constantly rearranges the furniture or leaves her tampons in the garbage. Little things can turn into big things, so learn to just accept the little things and save the disagreements for the things that matter most.
Talk and communicate to the person who is your best friend – your spouse! Okay girls we all know women talk to women. Men talk to men. I love my g/f’s and do chat with them about my marriage and even things I’m maybe unhappy about. It gives me perspective. However that being said there isn’t anything my husband doesn’t know about me or what I’m feeling. Like it or not, he’s the one. He’s my bff, and at the end of the day his opinion is the only one that truly counts.
No matter what you do. Love each other. Communicate. Don’t fret over the little things and by all means have some fun. Your partner is your not just partner in marriage and raising kids, but someone for life, to grow old with and be there. Like a garden (yes you’ve heard this) you need to water your marriage, help it grow, work at it, learn from what works and what doesn’t and appreciate one another and life life as each day comes.
Here’s to love!