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10 Tips For A Successful Marriage From A Happily Married Couple
Having A Happy Marriage -- Is It Possible?
Yes, it is possible to have a happy marriage. I know that these days it can seem doubtful, given how high the divorce rate is -- especially in the United States -- but believe it or not, there are some happily married couples out there.
In fact, my husband and I recently celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. We're definitely not yet "old married folk," but both sets of our parents are also still together and are celebrating 40-plus years of marriage this year. We do plan to follow in their footsteps.
So, just how happy are we then? Well, I wouldn't say that we're bouncing off the walls with bliss -- that would be kind of scary, actually -- but we still enjoy each other's company and have a lot of fun. There have been some tough times, but we've learned to make our relationship and marriage work. This year, in particular, we've really been challenged because I broke my leg and have been out of work. However, my husband has stood by me and has literally pushed me for miles in a wheelchair so that we can go out to movies and restaurants. If that's not love, then I don't know what is!
Now don't get me wrong. It's NOT always easy -- there are some days where I still wonder, "What on earth am I doing?" but for the most part, we have a handle on things. And when we had our 10th anniversary party with our family and friends, it truly was a celebration. Here are some of our tips for having a successful and healthy marriage.
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Tips For A Healthy Marriage
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How To Have A Happy Marriage -- Successful Marriage Tips
1. Make sure that you really like each other before saying, "I do." Yeah, I know that this seems obvious, but it's easy to get swept up in other things, like the physical and sex. That's definitely important, but how to you feel about each other beyond all of that? Do you have common interests, similar goals and beliefs? The fact that you're adventurous and he's not may not seem like a big deal at first, but trust me, these things come out over time, especially as the romance becomes less intense. Don't wed just to be married.
2. Try to make peace with each other's friends and family. I know that this can be more difficult than it seems, especially if you have the stereotypical in-laws from hell, but getting along with your spouse's family is really, really important. I've known friends whose marriages have broken up because of fights with the family. Do your best to get along with your in-laws, even if you can't stand them. I'm fortunate in that my in-laws are very nice and laid back, but I know that my parents sometimes drive my husband crazy. Still, he's learned how to deal with them over the years and for the most part, they get along.
3. Before tying the knot, have serious discussions about money, religion, politics and children. I realize that this sounds very unromantic, but it's important and in a way, a marriage IS a bit like a business deal. But again, like having common interests is important, it's also important that you share similar life views. I know a friend who loved her ex-husband dearly, but their differences in religion is what ultimately broke up their marriage. I've heard of other couples who've split because one wanted kids and the other didn't. Obviously, you can't plan your entire life ahead of time -- that's pretty much impossible -- and you never know what bumps in the road you may face, such as an illness or surprise pregnancy, etc. However, it helps to at least have an IDEA of where your future spouse stands in terms of how he or she wishes for the marriage to progress.
4. Make sure to find time for some fun and romance! This can be especially tough when you're both working full-time and have kids in the picture. But you need to remind yourselves of your love and why you even got married in the first place. Try to find at least one night a week where you can spend some alone time, even if it's just going to dinner and a movie. If you're trying to save money and don't want to go out, then take a walk around the block or arrange to have dinner at home -- with all of your phones and cell phones unplugged. Give yourselves a little time where you can truly pay attention to each other and enjoy each other's company.
5. Spend some time apart -- and trust each other, This may seem like weird advice, but I seriously think that this is what has kept our marriage going. I'll often join my girlfriends for a girls' night out or my husband will meet friends for drinks -- and we never give the other a hard time about it. We both respect and realize that we do have some separate interests and still need to be ourselves once in a while. Obviously, you don't want your husband or wife going out with friends every single evening, but if it's once a week or a few times a month, don't make a big deal about it. What's great is that this keeps us from getting bored since we're not spending every waking moment together. This way, we can come home and share our separate experiences and then look forward to making our plans together.
6. Fight fair and be willing to compromise. Every couple fights; that's just the way it is. But my husband and I really try to argue in a fair manner. We never call each other names (my parents would often say HORRIBLE things to each other, which was very upsetting) and we try to keep the argument current rather than using it as an excuse to bring up every grievance we ever had about the other person. By doing this, we usually end up having a discussion about the problem and finding a solution for it. Also, try to pick your battles. Is it really worth going crazy over your spouse leaving dirty dishes in the sink? Save your anger for the issues that REALLY matter.
7. Don't be passive aggressive when you're angry. I know some people who will just let their anger fester and then drop hints about it until everything blows up. Don't do that. If you have a problem with your spouse, let him or her know. I'm better at not keeping things in than my husband is, but he's learning! It's important to express yourself because little things can end up turning into big things later on.
8. Surprise each other. Sometimes it can feel like the romance is fading because you know everything there is to know about the other person. Do something different! This can involve surprising your spouse with a gift or by simply showing them another side of yourself. Taking a risk can be fun for BOTH of you!
9. Support each other. Sometimes you'll have to support each other's dreams and endeavors. In our case, I supported my husband's choice to stay in the Army reserves for an extra year in 2001, even though I wasn't thrilled about it. Meantime, he supported me when I decided to produce my own CD, even though it cost money to do this. But there have also been more difficult things that we've had to support each other through, such as depression and illness. This is when things can get really tough, so if you need help, like counseling of any kind, don't be afraid to ask. I've found that we're stronger now that we've gotten through some of these obstacles together.
10. Say "I love you." Sounds simple, right? But I know so many couples who just don't say it any more, now that they've been married for a while. We say it to each other every day -- and more importantly, show that we mean it. I'm not talking about a grand gesture, like my husband buying me a black diamond. But I know that he loves me because he'll give me a touching card for my birthday or cheer me up when I'm having a bad day. These little gestures are what keep us going and help keep our marriage strong.