You may have heard the statistic that upwards of half of all marriages in the United States end in divorce. While there is some truth to this rate, it is a much more complex issue that depends on the individuals in each marriage, which are all unique.
The good news is there are some practices you can put into place to increase your chances of staying together. There is no guarantee of a happy marriage, but it will point you in the right direction.
Below are 10 tips for maintaining happiness in marriage. Keep reading for steps you can take to improve yours.
1. Communication Is Key
For couples starting out, communication seems simple and seamless. From career aspirations to vacation plans, you discuss everything with ease. Over the years though (and especially if you have kids) communication can break down.
Making a concerted effort to communicate with one another is essential to a happy marriage. Everyone has busy days where you do not feel like chatting. But make sure you are communicating with your spouse on a regular basis about what is going on with your life and what you envision for your relationship.
Not unrelated to communicating well in general is the skill of being a good listener. It is important to emphasize listening is distinct from merely hearing. Active listening involves giving special attention to your spouse and responding to what they say.
In some ways, this can be easy to do for important conversations involving big life events. It can be harder to put into place daily, but is equally as important. Developing this skill can help marriages thrive by allowing you and your spouse to engage one another on a regular basis.
3. Be Honest
There is a natural inclination in every relationship (romantic or otherwise) to make the other party happy. This might, on occasion, involve excluding information that could be hurtful. A common example is making an excuse to your friends about why your family cannot attend an event.
Yet trust is important to a relationship as well, and trust is based on honesty. Regardless of what you think of “white lies,” they can have dire consequences in an intimate relationship.
Your spouse is the one person in the world you can trust more than any other. Always telling the truth can help maintain that trust, while failing to do so can erode it.
There is another (psychological) aspect to this. If you always acquiesce to your spouse’s wishes without being honest about your own opinions, resentment can build up. Speaking your mind can help maintain your own mental well-being and sense of self-worth.
4. Share Home Responsibilities
Each relationship has its own dynamics when it comes to household responsibilities. It is important to have a balance, so that each spouse feels that they are contributing an equal amount.
Even if one spouse works full-time while the other stays at home with the kids, it makes sense that the spouse at home will do more while the other is at work. But there needs to be a balance.
Talk about it and reach an arrangement. This will ensure everyone has clear expectations about who handles different daily chores.
5. Make Time for Each Other
As careers change and evolve, and kids enter the picture, making time for each other can be a major challenge for couples. It can lead to ostracising one another or splitting of responsibilities, to keep your head above water.
With busy lives, this is understandable, but it makes it all the more important to plan personal time with your spouse. It could be a weekly or biweekly date.
This does not have to involve something that costs money. It could be as simple as spending time together gardening, sitting and talking on the porch, or doing something you both enjoy doing.
6. Set Boundaries
At the same time, a marriage is between two individuals who have their own lives. Setting boundaries and managing expectations is important for every couple. For example, spending time apart from your spouse, with friends or other family members, is healthy and should be respected.
Setting boundaries must correspond with loyalty and trust. Having your own time and privacy can actually help these aspects of marriage, rather than detract from them.
7. Manage Conflict
There is something to the mantra “Never let the sun go down on anger.” The idea is that you and your spouse do not allow hurt feelings to linger (and fester).
Oftentimes, conflict is a matter of misunderstanding, or at least failure to see the other person’s side. Addressing conflict head-on, out in the open, allows you to see where your spouse is coming from and lets you explain your perspective. You can even find more tips on managing conflict at sites like https://worldupclose.in/.
8. Know Each Other’s “Love Language”
Understanding what is meaningful to your loved ones can go a long way toward showing that you care about them. Consider your spouse’s “love language,” especially if it differs from yours.
While a gift may mean the world to you, it may not have the same impact on your spouse. Cleaning the house or doing something else thoughtful for them may go much further in communicating your love for them.
9. Expect Change
Common advice for someone (especially young people) who are about to get married is not to expect to change a person. This is generally true––a selfish, or kind and giving, person is unlikely to change. But there is something that these well-wishers often leave out: all people, to some extent, inevitably change.
Over time, as life progresses and people learn new things, they change and grow. This is something to be embraced. The key is to allow (and help) your spouse live into their true self.
10. Learn to Forgive
Forgiveness is a complex endeavor but is necessary for every relationship. People make mistakes, and being able to forgive and move past those can lead to greater intimacy and a happier marriage.
Of course, there are degrees of wrongdoing, and forgiveness can take time for more egregious missteps. The important thing is to talk about your feelings (in counseling, if necessary), so that you can each begin to process the wrong that was committed. This can be cathartic and, over time, regular forgiveness can even bring you closer together.
Learn More About Having a Happy Marriage
Now that you know some tips for having a happy marriage, you can start implementing them. While some you can start immediately, others may take time. With a little patience, you and your spouse can develop techniques that will yield contentment and joy.
We hope you found these marriage tips helpful. If so, be sure to check out some of our other lifestyle posts, as well as those on home improvement, health, education, technology, and more.