In today’s world, it seems that having a healthy and successful marriage is rare. With divorce rates on the rise, stories of failed relationships and cheating scandals all over the media, it seems as if being married is pointless or next to impossible. So what do you do to beat those statistics, to break out of the mold and be in a successful marriage?
Well, let me say now it’s not easy. There’s no shortcuts or an easy way to get there. It takes work and effort from both parties. However, there are no “big” things or a certain way to have a healthy relationship. It is an accumulation of lots of “little” things. Sounds simple enough to do, right? Well, it is!
There are lots of tips and advice out there on how to have a successful marriage, but I narrowed it down to only 10 tips that my husband and I do personally in our marriage, and has worked for us and for other married couples, too! My hope is that by the time you finish reading this post, you will gain some valuable information on how you also can have a healthy and successful marriage.
Go to Bed Together
Depending on what your routine is like, whether one works days and the other nights or one goes to bed earlier than the other, try and go to bed at the same time. You don’t even have to go to sleep, just lay in bed together. Talk to each, read a book, do devotions, or read a chapter or two from the Bible. Get up in each other’s personal space and cuddle! It will bring you closer together and is essential for a healthy and successful marriage!
Work on Yourself
Just because you’re married, does not mean you give up on taking care of yourself. Stay healthy, eat nutritious food, work out regularly. Improve yourself as a person overall and grow as individuals. Ladies, look fabulous! Paint your nails, go to the hair salon, go on a shopping spree. Know that it’s okay to treat yourself, especially if you also have a family to take care of. It’s so important to continue looking good not only for your partner but also for yourself. If you’re not happy with who you are or your appearance, that unhappiness and disappointment will begin to reflect on your marriage.
However, an important thing to remember when working on yourself is not to let it consume you to the point that it is all about you. One of the aspects of being married is that it is no longer about you, but about focusing on the other person, too. There needs to be a healthy balance, where you can focus on your partner, but also take care of yourself. And the great thing is, marriage is a partnership, meaning your spouse will do the same for you! So do not fret, you will be loved, cherished, admired, and hopefully even spoiled, by your spouse in return for everything you do for him.
Also, people grow and change over time, and sadly in some cases, it is used as an excuse for divorce. Growing as a person is healthy, but just because you change as an individual, doesn’t mean that your spouse is suddenly no longer a part of the “new you” and your life. They should be right by your side, watching all these changes as you mature as a person.
Use kind words and actions. Give compliments often to your spouse. Let them know they look beautiful or handsome today. Give them an extra long hug and a kiss. If you want something done, ask graciously. Do not nag. No one wants a nagging wife or husband, and no one wants a mean one either. Kindness is always the way to go.
Having gratitude is an essential habit to have when it comes to achieving a successful marriage. Say thank you when your husband does a kind gesture or says something sweet, or when he comes home from a hard days work, for providing for the family. Only two little words, yet they have such a huge impact. You are letting him know that all the work and effort he is doing is being noticed and appreciated.
Know When to Pause
Life gets busy. The dishes need to get done, the laundry needs ironing, and the living room is a mess. No matter what is on your ‘to do’ list, know that it’s okay to press ‘pause.’ Let the dishes sit for an extra 30 minutes, and the laundry can wait till tomorrow. Leave it. Nothing is more important to get done then spending time with your spouse. All those things can wait, but time is precious, and life is short, so spend as much time as you possibly can with each other.
Just because the rings were exchanged and the wedding is finished, doesn’t mean it’s messy buns, PJs, and sweats every day. Well, yes, it sort of is, especially if you are both total homebodies and like the comfort of your home. However, another way to keep a healthy marriage is to continue dating.
Dating each other keeps things moving, gets you out of your weekly routine. It’s something you can plan ahead of time and look forward to doing together, especially if you have children and need a nice break. Go to the movies, try a new restaurant, have a picnic in the park or go to the beach and watch the sunset. Whatever it may be, it will take you back to the days when you first fell in love, utterly smitten with each other, and thought that nothing in the world could tear you apart. Don’t you want to hold onto that feeling? I know I do.
Have Meals Together
This is another one of those times where if you have different work schedules, it may be hard to have a meal together. But even if you have just one, that’s still an achievement. Whether it be breakfast, lunch, or dinner, sitting down together at the dining room table, eating a hot, home-cooked meal, brings you closer. You are interacting with each other, talking about your plan for the day, or having a general conversation. You tell stories of what happened throughout your day, discuss important things, or make plans for the future. Mealtime together is an essential part of your day in keeping your marriage alive and going.
Apologize and Forgive, Then Let It Go
This one should be easy. Your husband may have left his dirty socks on the floor…again! Forgive him. You snapped at your husband, say sorry. Don’t hold grudges, don’t drag on the apology. It is unhealthy and will make your partner feel that being forgiven or receiving an apology is a rare thing, which it really shouldn’t be. Once it’s said and done, let it go.
Do not bring it back during an argument or when you are upset. That’s not fair. It’s as if you are adding a knife wound into the bubble of your marriage, letting out the air a little at a time. You don’t want it to get to the point where the bubble bursts.
They said laughter is the best medicine, and it’s the same in having a successful marriage. Make jokes, be playful, and lightly tease each other. Laughter is contagious, and you feed off of each other’s happiness. It reduces stress, lifts your spirits, and brings you closer together. It releases Oxytocin, or else known as the ‘bonding chemical.’ It’s a free and natural way to bond as a couple, so no need to pay to see a therapist to ask how to grow closer together. Just laugh!
I laugh every day with my husband, and half the time, I don’t even know what we are laughing at. It’s so contagious, and we have fun with each other. Sometimes we end up in tears or even on the floor. I can confidently say that laughing every day is one of the main reasons why we have a successful marriage so far.
Choose Each Other
At the end of the day, it’s the two of you, and it always will be the two of you. When you need a shoulder to cry on, you turn to your spouse. You have something on your mind, your husband is there to listen. Have some exciting news you want to tell someone, there he is. The only person who will be by your side during all the good and bad times is your spouse. When you exchanged those vows, you promised to be with each other for always. If they said yes to dating you, yes to the proposal, and ‘i do’ at the wedding, they already chose you, so continue choosing each other.
If at any time you decide to choose each other no longer, know that this is the path to a downward spiral in not having a successful marriage. Know that it is up to both of you as a team to face your struggles head on, to heal and to make that choice of staying and working together.
Did anyone see a theme going on there? Something that each point had in common? Don’t know? Well, it’s communication. Communication is a key component to having a successful relationship. Talking to each other, letting the other know what is going on in your life, discussing the future, creating plans and making decisions. Ask your spouse what they want, for their input or advice. As a wife, always include your husband in any decisions, but let him make the final choice. Husbands, respect your wife’s input and thoughts when making a choice. Listen to each other, hear what the other is saying. Never hold anything back and keep each other in the loop. Communicate, communicate, communicate!
I wish you all many blessings and success in your marriage and remember: love always wins.