5 Things Found in a Healthy Marriage
Key Ingredients Found in a Healthy Marriage
About one year after my husband and I had our first child we went through a very rough patch in our marriage. The word divorce was mentioned more than once, and friends and family all braced themselves for what they thought was the end of our marriage. The years before had been stressful. My husband and I had a stillborn son, we lost his father to cancer, and then dealt with a very stressful pregnancy with our daughter. Our patience with each other was worn too thin and we no longer connected on a level that married people should. It broke my heart to live in a marriage where I no longer felt loved, but somehow we made it through, and six years later I can say we are happier than ever. However, we learned some very hard lessons.
Learning from our past
I was out to lunch with some girlfriends a couple years ago and I ran into a good friend of my mother's. She and her husband were like mentors to me, they had been together over forty years and still thriving. I could see the way they looked at each other and I longed to somehow hold onto that with my husband, though the years and the hard times were bound to hit again someda
Don't Give Up No marriage is perfect and every spouse is going to make mistakes, but with divorce rates so high and so many things working against marriage, it is important to put in the work that marriage requires. Forgive, appreciate, talk to each other, say I love you and be affectionate. And with these ingredients your marriage will thrive over the years and become stronger with them.
We talked about the things my husband and I had been through and the lessons that we learned. She asked what had changed us, and she asked me why I thought the two of us made it through this ordeal. It took me some time to answer her, but my answer was plain and simple, we loved each other very much. But we learned that a marriage cannot survive on love alone, that it takes practice, work, and most of all patience. She gave me some wonderful advice about why her marriage had stayed strong for so many years and I am adamant about following it.
This isn't a surprise answer. Forgiveness is a well known ingredient for any successful relationship, but it is much much harder than it looks. Forgiveness doesn't just mean letting go of a fight or letting your partner be correct for the sake of ending an argument. Forgiveness is the real deal. When something big goes wrong in your marriage, and you decide to work through it with your partner, and you decide over time that you are able to forgive them, you have to stick with that. Forgiving someone doesn't come with a clause that allows you to throw it back at them during any given argument or time you are feeling angry or insecure. When you decide to forgive your partner you need to mean it, and as hard as it may be you have to move on from the problem.
2. Appreciation and Respect
Being a stay at home mom leaves me with many days when I feel like what I do for our family just isn't enough. Sometimes just a simple thank you for making dinner makes a huge difference in my day. When my husband tells me he appreciates all that I do, I am reminded that we are a team, we work together, and what I contribute to our marriage and lifestyle means just as much as what he does to provide for our family. It goes both ways. I try to remind myself to tell my husband how much I love him and appreciate him for being such a great provider. By telling your spouse how much you admire what they do, you are showing them that you respect them, and that is invaluable.
3. Say “I love you” everyday
Whether or not you feel like telling your spouse you love them daily, do it anyway. Every time we say goodbye we tell each other we love them. Every time we say hello we say "I love you." My husband took some time to get used to this, but now I swear he says it more than I do. Just that little gesture makes a difference in the way you interact with each other.
4. Really talk to each other
Take a small amount of time each day to just reflect on your lives. Fifteen minutes is really all it takes, by connecting through communication you are no longer just a married couple who loves each other, you are best friends as well, and this helps to build a bond that is very strong. By talking to each other, and opening lines of communication, you are able to learn more about your spouse and learn more about what each other needs in the marriage. Open communication can solve mountains of problems and by honoring and listening to what each other needs you can learn how to provide those needs for each other. So talk....learn...and really listen to each other.
5. Be affectionate
Hug, kiss, and whisper sweet nothings into each others ears. Physical connection is important to help people bond and grow together. Don’t go a day without at least hugging your spouse and making sure they know how much you enjoy it. Put the kids to bed early and find some alone time for affection in your marriage.
Above All- Respect Your Marriage
Marriage is work, but it's worth it!
You have to work at your marriage every day and some days will be an uphill battle, but I have found it to be a very rewarding battle. With a little love, forgiveness, appreciation, respect and affection, your marriage will bring you a lifetime of happiness.
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