Home > Marriage, Self Improvement > 3 Tips for a Happy Marriage – Part 1

3 Tips for a Happy Marriage – Part 1

January 6th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

bride & groomEach of us grow to maturity with certain beliefs about marriage.  Some of us have seen examples of happy marriages, some of us haven’t been so lucky.  Even if your marital role models in life haven’t been examples of healthy, happy marriage, you aren’t doomed to a life of an unhappy marriage or divorce court.

Marriages can be difficult, sometimes down right challenging!  “Leave it to Beaver” or “Father knows best” marriages aren’t a reality.  Those were marriages of a different time, if they ever existed at all.  Today’s marriages have so many more moving parts than the relationships of the 40s, 50s and 60s.  It would be unfair to our own marriage to look at those examples as anything but the fiction of a simpler time.

The marriages in today’s world have so many more things striving to pull them apart.  Separate careers, blended families, child rearing differences, financial issues, just to name a few, tear at the seams of marriages.  It may seem difficult to sustain a long term marriage in the current cultural climate.  For a marriage to grow in love, divorce can never be an option.  If you truly want to have a long term happy marriage, both people have to feel committed to their marriage.  I have a few tips to share that I have learned from my 31 years of marriage to the same remarkable man.

1.  Your partner in marriage should be #1 in your life.  It is easy to let this tip slide and focus on our children as top priority, or our careers.  Many times, blended families are involved and each parent feels that they need to place their children from their previous marriage in the #1 spot.  That is a recipe for another failed marriage.  Our marriage should be the sun in our family’s solar system.  The children are the planets that orbit around that sun.  Some day, if we are successful parents, our children will leave our family solar system to build one of their own.

In many of our wedding vows, we promised to love one another and forsake all others.  This can mean other people that might want to woo us away from our marriage partner, or it might mean the temptation to stay too close to others, such as parents, siblings, friends, careers or anything else that might threaten our partner’s #1 position in our life.  My husband and I have acquaintances that the wife is very close to her family and likes to travel with them often, leaving her husband alone or participating in travel plans he doesn’t want to be involved with.  Their marriage is currently rocky and will remain so until they put each other  #1 in their lives.

2.  Treat your spouse like you would like to be treated.  The ultimate golden rule!  If you want him/her to be more loving, you should be more loving first.  If you want your partner to be less argumentative, you be that way first, etc.  This was a miracle working tip in our marriage.  When I started focusing on treating him like I wanted to be treated, it was amazing how things changed. Maybe, it was because I changed first.

3.  Communication can make or break a marriage.  We all set patterns of communication early in our marriages.  The choice is ours as to what that communication pattern will be.  I am blessed that my husband is not only my love, he is my best friend.  We talk often throughout the day.  But, communication isn’t only about communicating current events.  Many people get stuck in the loop of only communicating about their children. When the children have flown the nest it can be life threatening for a marriage if the only thing in common was the children.

Communication comes in many forms.  It encompasses how we declare and show our love.  A book by Gary Chapman called “The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate” is a great book for discovering how you and your partner respond best to love.  Gary Chapman says, “We must be willing to learn our spouse’s primary love language if we are to be effective communicators of love.”

I am not a marriage counselor.  I enjoyed psychology classes in college but that’s as close to being a therapist as I got.  If your marriage needs professional help please seek it out.  It could make all the difference.

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