No matter where you are on the road to marriage and commitment, there are some keys to a successful marriage to consider when you are married.
You could be at the engaged stage, and if you are reading this, good for you! Being prepared can undoubtedly reap the rewards further down the line. If you are newlyweds and reading this, you might have realized that the work has to begin once the honeymoon is over. Finally, if you are at that stage where you have a few decades behind you and things are hitting a hard patch, then not all is lost.
Simply deciding to work on your marriage shows commitment in the action of finding out more.
Each marriage is as different as there are couples. Each couple has their dreams and goals both individually and together.
Sometimes people’s faith will drive a union, which might be their goals or dreams for others.
Perhaps children are the center of their marriage, and for others, not having children is the key to their happiness.
Success in a marriage is different for everyone, but there are specific keys to a successful marriage to remember when you want a relationship to work.
Happiness and success in a marriage are purely subjective. These days social media can drive our perception of how marriage should be. Social media also promotes the quick solution scenario, and like a beautiful photograph, things can appear to be exceptional in your union on the surface, but is it? If you want what is proper for you, it takes a little thought and time.
Key 1: Let Go of the Small Stuff
He leaves his socks on the bedroom floor, and she leaves hair in the bathroom basin. These small things can drive a couple around the bend and even into heated arguments. In the larger scheme of life, these are small things, and if you allow small things to destroy your marriage, how will it go when there are multiple issues to sort out?
The way forward is to understand that marriage is a team effort and that we all have annoying habits. Communicating why this annoys you might help but save your energy for more essential things in the larger scheme of things.
Key 2: Allow One Another Their Feelings
Life is challenging at times, and some people are just plain old grumpy in the mornings! Try not to personalize every mood or action as something you caused.
Instead, allow your partner to ‘be .’
Creating a safe space for your partner to relax is more critical than demanding they are happy. If a person cannot express anything but positive emotions all of the time, it will eventually wear them down.
Some people need alone time after work, for example, and want to go and listen to music for half an hour; others might hide out in their greenhouse until they have balanced out. No one will be picture perfect all of the time, and we are not always the core of their universe.
Key 3: Don’t Be Joined at the Hip
No matter how much you love and adore your partner, allow them their space. Each person should be encouraged to spend time doing their own thing, whatever that thing is.
It might be something outside of the home or a hobby they enjoy. Humans never stop developing, and they should be encouraged to continue to grow as individuals and as part of a couple.
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Encourage them even if you hate going for walks if they love walking. The more encouragement and understanding a marriage partner shows, the more robust the marriage will become. You can always get on with the things you love while they are on their walk.
Key 4: Have Shared Interests
We’ve just mentioned that allowing people to have their interests within a marriage is super important, but having shared interests is often the glue that binds a couple together.
Most of the time, couples know which interests they share and happily spend hours doing what they love together. If you are a bit rusty in this department, then communication might help.
Sharing new ideas can open up new experiences within the marriage and bond you closer together. Sharing your interests with your partner can create great joy in a relationship, but don’t expect them to love them all! Save the ones they are not too interested in for an alone time.
Key 5: Become Friends
It might sound not very interesting in those first heady stages of marriage, but the most successful couples become best friends. You might be one of the fortunate couples who already have that experience alongside all of those exhilarating feelings, but those feelings do change over time.
It is easier to live with your best friend than with anyone else if you are in it for the long haul. Some couples panic over this notion, but being with your best friend for the rest of your life is far easier than not. If you do not feel like friends at the moment, you can work on it with these steps.
Key 6: Imagine Life Without Them
Imagine your life without your partner if you are going through a tough patch. No one is perfect, and no one can live up to a person’s needs. Imagine your life without your partner when things go wrong or feeling fed up with the situation.
Understanding this could put things back into perspective. Sometimes we do not realize just how vital our partner is to our daily life. We can also forget how much they do each day, whether around the home or just the way they are and what they offer to us by being there.
Key 7: Hugs and Kisses are Important
Media focuses on the sexual side of relationships, and many couples do that themselves; the truth is hugs and kisses are just as important. Being close means encouraging one another and making each other feel loved.
Words encourage us, and understanding makes us feel whole, but hugs and kisses can make a person feel loved. Even more than sex!
Key 8: Understand You Might Be Fascinated With People Other Than Your Partner
Some partners can become infatuated with people outside of the marriage. It could be a work colleague or someone else, but the emotionally mature partner understands this will pass. They see it for what it is, and they move past it.
Knowing this could happen prepares you well in advance. It doesn’t mean you are no longer in love with your partner.
Many people who leave a marriage because they were fascinated with a person regret it afterward. Infatuation is fleeting. It is often not the other person’s fault but our own for not taking responsibility.
It is OK to find other people attractive or exciting, but it is not OK to emphasize that fact, particularly if we love our partner.
Key 9: Communicate
We all know this, but how many people do it?
Communication is one of the most vital keys to a successful marriage. It is not always comfortable; communication in marriage can be very uncomfortable and tricky, but with painful feelings, there is always growth. Couples need to understand that it is not always easy and get on with it anyway.
There can be diplomacy in communication, meaning carefully chosen words and phrases are essential. The more couples communicate, the easier it gets.
Key 10: Practice Self-Care As Well As Joint Care
These days, self-care is a bit of a buzzword, which is good. People are learning that to be better partners to their spouses; they need to attend to their own needs.
Self-care can be anything, from reading a book you love, pursuing a hobby you enjoy, and meeting up with your good friends for a book club or movie.
Encouraging your partner to use self-care as a way to de-stress helps keep things on an even keel. Some people love golf, swimming, horse riding, or exercising.
Some acts are joint care, which can mean sharing a bubble bath with a glass of wine. Each couple understands what brings them joy. If you have been together a while and self-care was not part of the picture; it can be now. These types of activities can inject new energy into your marriage. Sharing a spa outside in the sunshine or the moonlight can bring unique nuances to the fore. Find each other’s sweet spots and work on those if you are starting with the self-care journey.
Key 11: Compliment Your Partner
When you compliment your partner, be sincere. Men often think that women want compliments on their physical appearance, and women consider compliments on what their partner has done that day important.
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People also enjoy compliments about their personalities.
“I love your way of looking at things” and “You make me laugh so much” are meaningful compliments.
“I appreciate all of what you do around here” is a great compliment, but it sometimes helps to be more specific.
“I am so appreciative that I get into a clean bed each night” allows a person to understand their contributions are worthwhile.
You don’t have to mention everything, but picking up on some heartfelt ones goes a long way toward showing respect for your partner.
Key 12: Never Use Money as a Power
Partners should always discuss money but never allow money to be part of a power-play in a relationship. Some couples go into an agreement at the beginning of their relationship, which is fine, but circumstances can change. Savvy partners understand this.
Some partners understand that for them, the one that earns the most pays the most. Others feel one partner must pay for things while they keep the house. There is no wrong way; the only wrong way is not to discuss it or use the money for power over another person in an abusive manner.
A person who pays for everything should still help around the home where they can, and they should respect the person keeping the house for doing so.
Many relationships break up over finances, and this need not be so. Talking about it might clear the air and help each couple set essential goals together.
Key 13: Set Healthy Boundaries
When you get married, it does not imply that you have no other interests aside from the marriage.
Set boundaries early on. Each person is entitled to having friends, having a life separate from the relationship, and enjoying their hobbies and interests away from their partner.
If you have both hit a glitch in this area, talking it through will help. Most partners who love one another are kind enough to listen and change when they realize that their partner needs space to be them.
Boundaries can also include essential ideas that are important to that person. It is a form of respect, and marriage without consideration is not a happy marriage.
Key 14: Keep Some Independence
Marriage is all about togetherness, but there should always be a clear outline between togetherness and independence.
If one partner is taking care of the household chores while the other goes out to work, ask for a monthly ‘salary.’ Houseworks is work. You can save it or use it. If this is not financially possible, the partner that stays at home could consider taking up a hobby that pays something out each month.
It is important to remain independent and include having your personality, ideas, and friends outside of the relationship. Some partners can have a strong influence on what is right or wrong. That is fine, but each should respect autonomy. Not all couples feel the same way about essential topics. Always agree to disagree!
If your personality is more outgoing than your partner is not, you should be allowed to be yourself in a relationship. Control over another person is not conducive to a happy marriage. Celebrating our differences is what makes the partnership more magical.
Key 15: Never Go to Bed Angry
It can be easy to get mad and go to bed in a huff, but this can erode a marriage over time.
The best approach is to reassure your partner that you are angry, but you love them anyway, and you can discuss this topic in the morning. If you can, try and resolve it there and then.
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Going to bed angry can cause you and your partner a sleepless night. Our marriage and our home are safe places, and having sleepless nights does not make it feel like a safe place.
Key 16: Get Counseling If You Need it
Getting counseling can really be one of the most important keys to a successful marriage. It doesn’t mean you have failed. Quite the contrary, it shows that each partner is prepared to make a go of their relationship.
Many therapists recommend going for counseling before you even know they need it! It can be an enriching experience for both parties, helping each grow more as people.
If you are in a crisis, make sure your chosen counselor is the right one for you and that you are both invested in the process.
No marriage is perfect; it might go well for a while and hit a road bump like a car on a sunny country road. It is not the bumps that matter, but rather how we deal with them, that is important.
Never compare yourselves to other couples. The most crucial factor is how you both feel in the relationship at any given time. Problems will come up, but it is more important how you deal with them than the problem itself.
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