Marriage isn’t for everyone. I’ve seen that first hand with two separate friends of ours who got divorced not even two years into their own marriages. It is a huge commitment and I am beyond proud that despite the challenges, and we have had our fair share, that my husband and I are celebrating our five year anniversary this week.
In the short five years that we have been married my husband and I have remodeled our home, traveled, beat cancer, had our first child, bought and sold cars, started new adventures, encouraged each other to follow our dreams, and yes, we have even argued.
So, in honor of five years down, here are a few tips that I think can help you sustain a happy and healthy marriage for years to come!
Tip #1: Go to Sleep Angry
I bet you have heard the advice ‘never go to bed angry’ a time or two before. I received that advice on a few of my ‘advice for the bride’ cards at my wedding shower. Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news: that saying is a bunch of crap and I recommend you not follow that advice. If you find yourself in an argument or disagreement at the end of the day, go to bed. It is better to go to bed angry than to get angrier than you already are and say something you’re going to truly regret. Get some sleep, cool off, think about the issue (from both perspectives) and then talk in the morning. I guarantee you will both be much calmer and level-headed.
Tip #2: Never Argue in Public
Every couple has their ups and downs. Everyone is going to have their own personal issues but the key is to keep them personal. There is no need to air your grievances with or about your significant other in front of family or friends. Not only does it make everyone else feel uncomfortable, but it also gives them a reason to begin judging your relationship.
A few years back we were on a trip with a group of twelve friends. My husband and I had been going through a bit of a rough patch and long story short, we argued in front of our friends that weekend and it is something I regret to this day. However, I promised myself that it would never happen again and it hasn’t.
If you find yourself disagreeing while in a public setting or even a party at your own home, simply dismiss yourself from the situation and address the issue at a later time. You can even have a code word that once said, the other will know you are upset and are going to walk away. This will keep each party from thinking you’re just abandoning the situation and ignoring the others feelings.
Tip #3: Compromise
Life and love is a constant moving thing that will always need adjusting. Make sure that you and your spouse are giving and taking equally. Compromise where you can, especially if it is something that your spouse really feels strongly about. Make sure to discuss it but always be willing to give a little. One of my husband’s favorite sayings is ‘fair isn’t always equal, and equal isn’t always fair.’ Both you and your spouse bring different thoughts and ideas to the marriage and that is why you fell in love. Focus on those and if the situation calls for the others expertise, make sure to embrace that. Your expertise will be needed soon!
Tip #4: Remember, Small Things Matter
As each year (or month!) passes your relationship is sure to ebb and flow. Sometimes you’re going to be extremely connected to your spouse both emotionally and physically, and sometimes you won’t. No matter which part you are currently in, don’t forget the little things. Stock your fridge with your husbands favorite “fancy” beer as a surprise. If your wife calls you and tells you she has had a rough day at work or at home with the kids, bring her a bottle of wine and her favorite dessert. If you haven’t had a lot of alone time, setup a babysitter and surprise your significant other with a date night to your favorite restaurant, whether its casual of fancy. Date your spouse and remember, the small things show you care.
Tip #5: Communicate Honestly
Communication throughout your marriage is key. No matter how long you have been married do not assume your spouse will know when or why you are upset, angry, sad, etc. Be honest about your feelings, whether it directly relates to your spouse or not. If not things may snowball out of control and you will find yourself needing to take tip #1. Talking about an issue can only help. I had a hard time expressing my feelings when my husband and I first started dating but he has shown me that things are better when I talk to him. He has definitely made me a better person in that aspect (and many others as well).
Tip #6: Patience and Forgiveness
No matter how many times my husband asks me not to slam the door or put things back when I am finished using them, I still don’t do it. And even though I have told him seven times that our son has a doctors appointment the next day, he still doesn’t remember. No matter what the situation be patient. Forgive your spouse for their “downfalls.” They likely didn’t develop these traits overnight (except ‘mom brain’ is a real thing and that doesn’t develop during and after pregnancy) and you didn’t get married to change that person, so be patient with their quirks and try to remember that you are not perfect, either.
What tips and tricks do you have for keeping your marriage on track? Let me know in the comments!