Marriage is wonderful that’s the truth, but at times it can be as appealing as a laundry basket full of dirty clothes, broken toys, broken crayons, and unpaired socks. You have to be crazy, really passionately crazy, to want to ride it out till the end and based on my experience, the ways to keep your marriage strong are the little things that you do on a daily basis and not the expensive dates nor the gigantic baubles that your partner surprises you with.
Fortunately for my husband, I am one of those women who likes and loves to stay married. I am in for the long haul and he can never get rid of me even if he wanted to (I’d like to think he feels lucky about this).
In our once adventurous marital trip to hell and back, I have realized that there are a two things in life that married couples need to remember: You are ONE but you are also two DIFFERENT individuals. Respect that. There is no use in forcing your husband to watch Desperate Housewives series (no judging) just because you think there are moral lessons that can be learned from doing so.
I have resolved to become a better spouse each day (I try!) because what better way to improve a relationship than to start with yourself, right? It’s an everyday commitment, some days are good and some days, not so much but there’s always, always something you can do to make your spouse feel loved and important. If you are on the same journey as I am, below are 10 easy ways to keep your marriage strong.
1. Autopilot does not work in marriage.
Brace yourself and be an active participant. It’s not a merry-go-round on which you can just sit back and anticipate just how high or how low marriage life can take you after a couple of trial spins. Often, it’s like being inside a washing machine in full cycle. The nausea will make you want to close your eyes and just tumble along for the ride. Wake up and press that button off.
Do not hope for the troubles to go away by themselves. Work it. Talk. Sort it out. Never play guessing games. If you feel hurt because of what he said or did, talk about it. Holding a grudge and rehashing the pain over and over in your head will only embed the frustration deeper. Then you realize that the laundry pile has become way too high and so soiled that both of you would not dare touch it anymore and shopping for new clothes would seem like a better idea. It is not.
P.S. The red shirt that stains should never go into the machine with the white ones. Keep the drama between you and your partner.
2. Fight like kids.
Have you seen how your kids fight? Give them 10 minutes and they are back to being best buddies again. Forgive easily.
3. Do not go historical.
The issue of who broke the TV 3 years ago has nothing to do with with a recent discussion over the missing remote control. Eyes on the table and avoid the blame-game.
4. Know which side you are on.
You should understand that you and your partner should be each others best allies. You are on the same team. When you fight, know who the enemy is. Most of the time, the enemy is not the one wearing a similar ring as yours. Your enemy is time, unresolved issues, and unrealistic expectations. Your spouse is your teammate and your partner. Except when dinner is pizza. Then it becomes a competition.
5. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Let go of the small stuff. So what if he leaves the socks in his shoes when he gets home. Be happy he is home.
6. Watch your mouth.
Just because it sounds witty and right in your head doesn’t mean it is. And no, you don’t need to say things three times. You can be very irritating sometimes. <- This is me, talking to myself. 😉
7. Laugh more.
It is okay to laugh at your blunders at home. You are not perfect and you will never be a perfect wife. If your husband wanted a perfect partner, he could have ordered one online but no, he chose you and all your imperfections. Relax, you are okay. But seriously, you need to work on your baking skills because my God, your husband can only eat so much burnt stuff!
8. Stop pestering your husband to do something he doesn’t enjoy doing.
He’s got more important things to do in life like, you know, make a living, parent the kids, being your partner. Pretending to be sad because he doesn’t like shopping for make-up with you is childish. The same goes when you force him to pluck your grey hairs. <- This is me again, talking to myself.
9. Learn to iron.
Nope. Not me.
And my husband knows it.
This is in connection to number 8, it’s also okay for you to not like doing a specific chore at home. Be honest about it to your partner and who knows it’s something that he doesn’t have any problem doing! This is so much better than doing something begrudgingly. Small things like these can blow up big time when not addressed. Believe me, I know stuff. 😉
10. Give him your full attention when you are in a conversation.
Your head, facing him while your eyes are glued to the laptop does not count, nor does occasional nodding while tweeting. This should include, but not be limited to, date nights. Seriously woman, your twitter account cannot hug you back during cold nights. Give your man some lovin’!
Lastly, always remember:
“It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche
There. I hope these tips will help and if you have other ideas, share them with me in the comments!
If you enjoyed this post, you might also like Keeping the Love Alive in Marriage.
*This article originally appeared on the now defunct Vanilla Housewife blog.