Look, I’m no marriage guru. My husband and I have had our fair share of ups and downs, and I can only imagine it will continue as such through our time together. But one thing we’re really good at is communicating and working things out. We’re at the age now where we’ve seen a lot of people in our lives dissolve their marriages or go through divorce. It’s never pretty and most of the time no one has fun. We talk about it a lot, actually, and I think it helps keep us in check. We aren’t perfect but we do love each other. In fact, I miss my husband most of the time we’re apart. It might seem silly and juvenile, but it’s totally true. And since I was missing him a lot this week, I wanted to tell you what makes our marriage work. This post, like our marriage, is a team effort. Between my husband and I, these are five things we think are pivotal to a successful marriage.
5 Keys to a Successful Marriage
Aside from opposable thumbs, advanced communication is a critical component of the human species that has allowed us to advance over time. Without effective communication, wars are waged, walls are built, and relationships crumble. The same can be said of marriage. If you aren’t effectively communicating with your partner — how you feel, if you need more sleep, when you need a date night — the basics of human interaction can fall apart and leave you feeling isolated, alone, and on the road to nowhere. But if you learn to talk to your partner, and listen in return, your goals and dreams will remain aligned and the “growing apart” that some couples experience will likely not happen.
2. Laugh always.
Go ahead, fart in bed. Got kids? Put a stuffed animal or action figure in your spouses’ side of the bed as a surprise. (It’s gotta be under the covers to work effectively. Trust me, it’s hilarious.) Always, always make each other laugh. It releases stress and it’s just straight up fun. Don’t ever take anything too seriously. Smiles and laughter make the world go ’round. Plus, laughing and smiling releases endorphins — ya know, the feel good chemical? Yep.
3. Marry your friend.
If you don’t know the person before getting married, how is it possible to forge ahead with similar life goals and aspirations? It’s probably not, right? Sure, it works for some people. But in this day and age, it’s easier to get to know someone before taking the plunge than it was during the Baby Boom (and prior) generation.
4. Respect one another.
Along with communicating and marrying your friend is knowing when to let your better half be. If I’m having a bad day, I might shy away from my husband’s kiss when he returns home from work. It’s not that I don’t love him and it’s not that I’m mad at him. It’s that I just need to be. He knows that about me and I’m sure the rejection stings, but he knows I’ll get out of the funk shortly and he lets it go. He respects my right to be grumpy. Likewise, when I can see him brewing with irritation, stress, or anger, I let him be. Because we all need that time sometimes — and it’s normal. Even if you don’t necessarily understand the other person — their emotions, their position in the argument, etc. — mutual respect is of the utmost importance.
5. Don’t go to bed angry.
Some couples can do the “go to bed mad” thing. We cannot. Well, I cannot. Maybe he can. But if I’m stewing about something, I won’t sleep. It’s ineffective for us as a couple to attempt to go to bed angry. Luckily most of our fights happen during daylight hours but when we were first dating our fights happened at night. It was not awesome, let me tell you.
And an added bonus…
6. Check your ego at the door.
In marriage, you’re not allowed to have an ego. You’re a team. If there’s an ego, it’s a collective ego and you get to share it. One person is not better than the other. Work together, listen to each other, and when things get tough (and they will), remember why you married each other in the first place.
Marriage, like most things in life, can be tough. But with a little finesse, a lot of love, and infinite understanding and communication, a marriage will withstand the test of time.
TALK TO ME!
What’s one piece of marriage advice you give to others?
Was your spouse your friend first?