Life is rarely perfect and there are always struggles and adversity to overcome which can place a massive amount of stress on a marriage. How to keep a happy marriage despite these things can seem like a difficult task for any couple but the rewards of reducing conflict and promoting love and happiness actually makes overcoming hardship easier and will reduce difficulties in an almost karmic way.
There is no secret formula to keeping a marriage happy but there are a lot of small things you should be doing that will work no matter what sort of marriage you have be it: professional working couples, married with kids, marriage with pets, young, old and everything in-between! Some advice that will lead to better results in no time are:
Commitment to Marital Happiness
First and foremost is the idea that happiness is not something that magically lands in your lap. Happiness is not your bank account balance nor is it success, children or half a hundred other things that people often tie their entire happiness to. Happiness is a choice through adversity and good times that you must commit to nurturing so that it becomes a self fulfilling prophesy.
This does not involve grand gestures or a lot of extra time but it does require a constant awareness of what you are doing and contributing to your marriage to make your life with your spouse and children better and happier every day. No one else can do this it is up to you first and foremost and this investment in happiness will be infectious to your entire family.
Focus on the Good Rather then the Bad
One problem many people face when things get tough and sometimes when everything in life seems good is to focus on the negative. When life seems great this may be because you become obsessed with removing anything slightly bad about it and when things are down it becomes much easier to see lots of negative things.
When you overlook the annoying things such as towels left on the floor, the occasional bowl or cup left unlearned, poorly folded clothes in the draws or a hundred other bad habits instead concentrate on what you love about your spouse.
Remind yourself and focus on those things that you adore. The way they hold you when you are sad, their boisterous laugh, the way they always cook your favorite foods on the weekend, how delightfully they play with the kids or whatever warms your heart.
Show Appreciation More Often
When life gets hard or busy and we are comfortable in a marriage we tend to forgot to compliment our partners on their actions because we become accustomed to it. In fact it can often be the case that after a while you get accustomed to all the good thing your spouse does that you see them as ‘normal’ and start wanting more effort and more good things to make you feel they are special and you are happy.
This can be poisonous and a simple remedy to such things is to remember to compliment your partner often and show real appreciation for even the smallest things. If they clean something up that you usually do without asking make sure to say thank you, if they spend some extra effort to get dressed up when going out say they look great and even when they are just doing their job you workout like picking the kids up from school remember to occasionally thank them for doing this.
If you are heartfelt about this it is easy, quick and not only makes your spouse feel more appreciated and loved but it builds reciprocity and you will find that they cannot help but show you appreciation back. On the opposite end of the spectrum a relationship where compliments have faded from conversations will find that there is no reciprocity as neither husband nor wife gives anything and neither gets it in return making for an unhappy marriage and often resentment and anger and a slide to focusing on the negatives.
Show Respect to Your Spouse
As has been mentioned sometimes we tend to take our husbands or wife for granted in all that they do. ‘Familiarity breeds contempt’ as the saying goes but it does not have to if we choose to be mindful of how we act.
If you have ever caught yourself saying things to your spouse that you would never say to your friends or your work colleagues because it may insult them then you may be sliding down this dark path. It may be because you know they love you and something disrespectful will not be taken to heart or that you are so comfortable in talking to your partner that you feel cutting to the chase and showing your true feelings of annoyance at something will simply get to the core of the problem faster; this is not a good way to communicate even if it seems efficient.
Your spouse is a person like any other and showing disrespect to them hurts them and hurts your relationship. IF you have the choice to be nice or to be right and to point it out then what do you think creates happiness? Be nice, communicating problems can be done respectfully.
Do Not Nitpick
Like the idea that you should focus on the good parts of your spouse and overlook the small bad things you should also work this into how you communicate. The idea of ‘picking your battles’ can be an important part of how you approach conflict in marriage because there will always be some disagreements no matter how well matched you are.
Whenever there is an issue you feel like raising, ask yourself if this is really worth picking a fight about. Is it really important enough to be creating more conflict or should this one slide? While you feel all problems must be resolved if you are constantly nagging about this and that your partner will start to filter out what you are saying because most problems are too petty. If you do not nitpick when you do raise a concern they will pay far more attention so save your problem solving conversations to those that do matter.
Likewise if you are tolerant of the small things you will find you partner will show tolerance to any of your habits and life will be happier if maybe a little bit messier … which would you prefer?
Increase Touching & Intimacy
Newlyweds often cannot let go of each other as every moment they want to be close and intimate. Hugging, touching, kissing and caressing all build intimacy and happiness in closeness which can drop off the list of things to do as married life goes on.
Mothers especially find them selves all hugged out from children and have little left to give to their husbands which can build small resentments over time that can be a barrier to a free flow of marital happiness.
You do not need to go back to the heady days of the honeymoon but making sure you occasionally just hold your partner for more than a cursory hug every now and then does wonder. Hold them and let it linger to let them know you appreciate their closeness then make sure that you increase your touching. Add a few more kisses here and there, hold their shoulder with a loving squeeze when they are doing something and other small actions can do a lot more to showing love than any words can muster.
Make Time for Just the Two of You
Work, children and hectic social lives can sometimes makes pending time along with just the two of you hard. When it does happen often the only conversation is about work, children and your hectic social life too making it less of an intimate experience!
Not that you need to cut these things out of your conversation completely but taking the time to be alone and together without children begging for attention or your blackberry going off every 5 minutes is essential for reconnecting to each other.
No need for weeks of holidays, just an afternoon here a day every fee weeks or even just half an hour after the children are asleep to share some time in conversation over a drink is important to remind you that you are married to someone who you love and loves you back and that you are not just an mom or dad and that you are more than just a worker and provider. Remind yourselves you are two people, in love, married and fulfilling the dream of being happy though all hardships and problems.
So take the next week and apply these ideas to watch them grow and flourish into a happier marriage because a happy marriage breeds happier children, a better work life and a sense of contentment that boosts so many other things like health and success as well! For more detailed information on how to achieve these goals including exactly how to solve conflict without arguments and how to make your partner reciprocate all your efforts click below for reviews of guides written by professional relationship coaches that can help you create the perfect marriage to last a lifetime.
Marriage Tips & Secrets