So we were walking on the terrace talking about family, an upcoming wedding and catching up on the status of those who got married over the past couple of years. It was a bit sad to think that some of these had broken up for various reasons.
Then my son asked me, “Mom, what do you think keeps a marriage strong and happy?”
I had to smile, thinking about my own, obviously. He looked at me, questioningly and I told him that just the previous day my friend and I had been appreciating how fortunate we were to have wonderful life partners.
“Why do you think that?” my son insisted.
I didn’t really have to think too hard to come up with a list.
It is true what is said about the honeymoon period not lasting long in most marriages, simply because we return to our routine and get busy. But it is not that hard to bring back those happy butterflies-in-the-stomach feelings. I know for sure that the following tips will keep your marriage strong and happy long after your wedding day.
How to keep your marriage strong and happy
1. Practice Honesty
Truly, honesty is the best policy. And hiding information from your spouse isn’t a good idea. Say, for example, you blew some money on something you really don’t need. Don’t hesitate to tell your partner. Of course, choose the right time because that’s smart thinking. But don’t hide the info as it will eventually come back to bite you—that’s how life works! Do not lie about finances. I remember a friend of mine was buying a wedding dress. She went to check on Azazie site – then after she chose one, she worried over what her fiance would think about how much it cost. But rather than hide it from him, she went ahead and told him. When you are honest, there’s less stress. Nobody likes nasty surprises.
Keeping important information from each other is the fastest way to start losing trust in each other. If you feel like something is off in your relationship, you should talk about it. Not communicating and talking about your problems will make your life miserable. The sooner you open up about what is troubling you the sooner you can start fixing your relationship and be happy, as you deserve to be.
2. Take Care of Yourself
Most couples are conscious about self-care initially, but after a few years and several kids, it is easy to get comfortable and let yourself go. When you first met your spouse, would you have been around them in unflattering clothes? Consider what you would have done in the initial stages of courtship then continue to do it.
Sure, it doesn’t make sense to wear makeup when you care for your kids, but definitely take the time to shower daily and dress well at least once in a while to remind yourselves of the time you first met.
3. Watch Your Mouth
This one is pretty serious. Words can heal or hurt. It is good to watch what you say to avoid aggravating your spouse. I’ve seen couples annoy each other by asking each other ridiculous questions like: do you think the new neighbor is attractive? Another thing is constantly nitpicking on the spouse’s shortcomings. Ah, and the classic suspicious spouse who keeps calling every five minutes to find out where they are and who they are with. And tiring themselves out by jumping into conclusions. Instead, why not say the things that made you fall in love with each other in the first place and nurture the loving relationship? Also, never go to bed bearing a grudge. Always make up before you sleep.
4. Enjoy Some Silence
Sometimes, silence is the best way to address a problem. If you feel your temper getting out of control, walk away and give yourself time to calm down. Do not feel the need to address every minor slight – forgive as much as you can to foster a happy relationship.
In a stressful situation, remember that not every insult is intended. Try to recall why you got married in the first place. However, silence does not mean that you should let the problem fester whilst harboring ill will towards each other. You should talk about an issue after you both calm down because words spoken in the heat of the moment can be very harsh. And worse, never forgotten!
5. Be Kind to Each Other
It is a fact of life that people take advantage of those that love them because they can get away with it. That doesn’t mean it is okay. When you have a bad day at work, don’t take it out on your partner. Instead, ask yourself what you can do to make each other happier. And you’ll find that in the process, you feel better, too.
This can be anything from enjoying a cup of coffee together, watching a movie, or just sitting together doing your own thing enjoying each other’s presence. Maybe you have to get out of your comfort zone—and that’s perfectly okay. When I freak out over deadlines, my husband calmly tackles the dishes and the laundry.
6. Keep the Passion and Fun Alive
Intimacy needn’t always mean taking off your clothes. Over the years, the concept of intimacy changes. It can mean bringing each other flowers, cooking that favorite dish, being affectionate, watching a romantic movie together. To increase intimacy you can also up your cuddling time and have intimate conversations. Most of all, don’t take each other for granted.
To strengthen any close relationship, it takes care and effort but the results are well worth it. When you love someone enough, it’s easy to do it.
What do you think it takes to keep your marriage strong?
What would you add to this list?