I’ve heard this question asked a million times. Maybe not to me, but it’s been asked.
What is the secret to a successful marriage?
Well, it’s no secret. It’s not some complicate solution that only a professional can tell you and it’s not just one thing. It’s a few things you’d have to do.
There are a few things that are more important than others, but they’re all important. A lot goes into a marriage, or any seriously committed relationship. You have to work on it and know that not everyday is going to be perfect. Know that you will fight, argue and not agree on everything. Despite having almost everything in common, or nothing at all, you will get into it with your spouse.
What makes a marriage successful is how you handle these tense times, how you deal with each other and how you communicate. You can’t hold a grudge against your spouse. Obviously it’s something serious such as cheating, lying about money or kids, these are things that you will either need professional help for or a divorce. I would hope that going into a marriage you have already had the kid talk, have discussed monies and are able to not cheat. If you want to cheat, do your partner a favor, divorce them. It’ll hurt them but not as much as that betrayal. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.
I’ll make a small list of starters. My top 10 that seem to help us out.
Go on a date.
You read that right, go on a date. Not with another person mind you, with your spouse. Everybody needs a night out and away from the kids. Lord knows I really need one right now.
You can love your kids more than life itself, that doesn’t mean that you and spouse don’t need some alone time, and no, the time between kids going to bed and when you go to bed does not count. You need a night, or sometimes a weekend, of just the two of you. We get stressed. We get tired and sometimes we really do need a break. That doesn’t mean dump your child off on the closest babysitter every weekend. Just every once in a while.
Your spouse is someone you will (well should) spend a majority of your time with. They will hopefully come to know more about you than you do, as you will about them. It may even come to the point that you’ll even be able to finish each others sentences. It is good to have your own separate groups of friends, but it’s also nice to have that person there all the time. When you look at it, at the end of the day, who is going to be there? Your spouse.
You need to have sympathy and understanding for your partner in your relationship. After a long day, the last thing either person wants is nagging and bitching. Try to relax and just talk. It’s hard, trust me I know. You think your day was impossibly hard and the other person just doesn’t understand. They do, they just had their own really hard day. It’s not that they don’t care, it’s just that they need some time too. Be understanding of this. Perhaps telling each other that you’re sorry that the other had a bad/long/hard day would be nice. It could go a long way. Or a hug. Sometimes all we really need is a hug. Don’t shut yourself down, get on the computer and let your partner stand there without you even acknowledging them. Don’t be an asshole when you do acknowledge them, be compassionate and sincere. Remember, your partner has feelings too and being a jerk doesn’t help.
Yeah, equality. No one person is greater than another in a relationship. Whether one person stays home with the kids and taking care of the house while the other works, you’re both important to making it work. If you have it in your head that you are more important to the family and relationship than the other person, or you think your spouse is more important, knock it off. You’re not and they’re not. It takes two to make a relationship. It takes two to raise a family and to keep the chaos at a minimum. Not one.
This one is extremely important. You have to have compassion for your spouse. If you notice that they are upset, hug them. Kiss them. If they are stressed find out why and help to ease that. If it means getting off of the computer or stop playing your video games for a bit, then do it. If your spouse is unhappy, you’ll be unhappy. At least you should be. It should bother you when your spouse is sad, crying, upset or generally unhappy. Sometimes, all you need is a hug.
This another on the extremely important list. There is nothing worse than feeling like your spouse does not respect. Don’t look down on your partner. Just don’t do it. If you’re out in public don’t put your spouse down, don’t belittle them and for God sake don’t make them walk 3 feet behind you. Don’t criticize and just don’t be an asshole.
There is nothing worse than a liar. Don’t do it. If you don’t have honesty in your relationship it’s going to lead to bigger problems down the road. If you’re lying because you’re cheating, stop. Chances are if, your partner knows you’re lying and is just waiting for you to fess up. The sooner, the better.
Ah yes, sex. This one is in the top 3 because, well, it’s important and fun. It could be one of the best aspects of marriage, you can do it when you want and as many times as you want without anyone saying a word to you. You need to have intimacy with your spouse. You need that closeness. I’m not prudish. I may not want to discuss sex with my mother ( I don’t care how old I get, it’s just awkward.) but I do talk about it and I can’t stress enough how important it is for a marriage. Not only for the closeness but you have to realize when it boils down to raw facts, we’re animals. Animals enjoy/need sex. And as sad as it sounds most men would probably venture out of the marriage for sexual satisfaction. Some women too. Men aren’t the only ones who cheat. I personally enjoy it. In fact there are days when I think my sex drive is higher than Greg’s. But it’s also more than just sex. You need passion. Fire. A bit of craziness.
Talking to one another is vital. It’s not just important it is down right necessary. You can’t go through a marriage and not talk. Problems will arise that you will have to discuss with your spouse. If there is something wrong and you are upset, sometimes talking helps. Who is always there for you? (Well, should be.) Your spouse. They are one person you can count on to be a shoulder for you to cry on and an ear for you to talk to. If you can’t talk to your spouse you have issues.
This is the absolute most important thing in a relationship. You must have love. What is the point of being married if you don’t love one another? Everyone wants and needs to be loved. Even if you know you love your spouse, tell them. Tell them often. Tell them every single time you see them. It’s quick and only 3 words. “I LOVE YOU.” And mean it. Don’t mutter it but say it. Don’t whisper, don’t mumble. Say it forcefully and loudly. “I LOVE YOU!”
What is love? It a feeling that even though it has a definiton…it doesn’t. How do you verbally describe such an intense feeling? I can’t. The best way I’ve been able to say it is, “I JUST F-ING LOVE YOU!” Don’t be afraid to use passion behind it. Don’t be afraid to let your spouse know that you love them.
So you see, there is no great secret on how to make a marriage works. It takes the two of you and a lot of work. No magic spell, no magic word, just old fashioned hard work. And love.