Our life is filled with relationships.
Every relationship in our life needs care and effort to make it strong. Marriage is no different. If you are looking to create a strong marriage, then there are steps that you can take to build a solid foundation.
I’ve been married for 16 years, and it’s not always been perfect. We cannot be deceived by the Instagram posts that show perfect marriages all of the time. Unfortunately, real life isn’t clearly demonstrated on social media.
It was Audrey Hepburn who once said,
If I get married, I want to be very married.Audrey Hepburn
We never want to glide through our marriage and not give it the effort required to make it successful. If we don’t give our marriage the care and attention that it deserves, then it’s bound to suffer.
The phrase happily married is overused in our society. Happy marriages are not with people that don’t argue, or fight; it’s with two people that understand their flaws and strive to build their relationship with each other.
Marriages that work take a lot of work.
In this article, I’m going to list some things that you can do to work toward a happy married life. I’ll give your 5 principles, but also some ways to implement them in your daily routine.
Honestly is an important building block for marriages. I am a firm believer that people who have nothing to hide, hide nothing. It’s vital that we are truthful and honest with our spouse if our relationship is going to progress forward.
This means we shouldn’t have secret accounts, relationships, passwords, or events. We should be an open book to our partners. This means sharing access to our email addresses, allowing our partner to have the password to our cell phone, and also giving our spouses access to our calendar.
Honesty and transparency are important tools for building a strong marriage. Honestly encourages trust, growth, and value. According to Marriage Builders,
Honesty and Openness is one of the ten most important emotional needs identified in marriage, which means that when it’s met, it can trigger the feeling of love.
If you want to build a happy marriage, then honestly must be on the top of your to-do list.
It’s great to have a marriage based on friendship. We all love hanging around with our friends each day, and marriage shouldn’t be any different.
According to Psychology Today, there are 13 characteristics of friendship that you should be aware of:
- A Good Listener
- Supportative of others
- Happy for the success of others
- Fun to be around
We all need good friendships in our life, and it’s important for us to be a good friend to other people. Yet, this becomes lost when we consider our marriage. When we start thinking of marriage as a friendship, then most of the time, there is a higher percentage of satisfaction. The points above that define a good friendship should also be components of a good marriage.
Marriage should be fresh, relaxing, and enjoyable. There should be room for mistakes, opportunities to try new things, and the thrill of the adventure.
Have Fun Together
Marriage should be fun and playful. There are so many different ways to keep your marriage playful, such as playing fun, flirting games together.
My wife and I would always hide random gifts for each other. This was totally random and unexpected, but we had fun doing it. I would go to the store and purchase a little gift for my wife and place it in a place where I knew that she would find it. The gifts would normally be something that my wife had said or something that I knew she really liked. One day I hid a small teddy bear, and. another day it was a coffee gift card – it wasn’t really about the gifts, but the playfulness of hiding them.
Keep your marriage full of laughter and fun. Make sure you take time to enjoy the small things together and laugh about life. It’s easy for us to lose that “fun spark” when children come onto the scene, but we need to take the effort to keep it there.
Having fun together as a married couple takes effort and work. I will give you a great way to keep fun in your marriage, make sure that you schedule new things. Unfortunately, if we do not schedule events then they probably will not happen.
You cannot over-communicate.
Communication is vital to any relationship. This means telling your spouse how you feel, and becoming a good listener when they tell you their feelings.
The worst thing that any couple could ever do, is to hold in all of those feelings and let them fester inside. Couples can become extremely bitter over time if they don’t communicate how they feel. Be clear and compassionate in your efforts of communication. According to Stephen R. Covey, in his book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, it’s important to first understand and then seek to be understood. We often cut off others in search of being understood, but highly effective people, first listen and understand the perspective of the other person.
There are some helpful tools for being a good listener that you should be aware of:
- Pay atention
- Make sure that you’re spouse sees that you’re listening which means you can nod, and smile during the converation.
- Put your phone away! You cannot say that you’re listening if you are sitting on your phone and flicking through photos on Instagram.
- Don’t judge, but provide feedback during the conversation. Stay turned and speak in the approiate times during the communication.
Becoming good at communication isn’t always a natural thing for everyone, it frequently takes effort and work. Like anything in our lives, the work that we put into communication skills will benefit us in the end.
Celebrate the Good and the Bad
Marriage is not always filled with sunshine and roses. Unfortunately, bad things can happen and these events can put stress on our marriage. Every event in our life is an opportunity for self-growth, learning, and building toward a stronger marriage. Every event in our life should be celebrated – the good and the bad.
Wedding anniversaries are wonderful and should be celebrated for sure, but it’s the small things in between the anniversaries that actually make a strong marriage. These things cannot be ignored.
Make sure that you focus on these victories – good and bad, and communicate with your spouse the lessons that you’ve learned together.
When it comes to your marriage you cannot buy into this idea that “Happily Married” is a marriage without problems. It’s simply not the case at all. Problems are going to come into your marriage, but the way that you handle those difficulties as a couple is what defines your marriage as happy.
Always be honest with each other, create a friendship first, that’s trustworthy and dependable, and always have a good time together.
Keep the lines of communication clear and concise which will help you tackle the difficulties that come your way, and make sure you celebrate the good and bad.
Your marriage is important and desires the care and dedication to make it work.
After Justin Beiber was married to his wife Hailey. The two went to a marriage counselor to help them work through some issues in their life.
When asked in an interview, Hailey Beiber said this, “The thing is, marriage is very hard . . .” She is absolutely right, it is hard, but it’s not impossible.
I will echo the phrase I said at the very beginning of this article, a marriage that works is going to take work. A happy marriage isn’t your goal. It’s a strong friendship, clear communication, and a space for imperfect people to grow and learn. When you accomplish this in your marriage, then the happily-ever-after will follow.