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Making Marriage Work

This month marks my husband and my 11th year of marriage. In honor of that, I thought I’d discuss marriage. Namely, marriage as it pertains to young families, because this is where I am in life. This isn’t meant to be a heavy post. It is just a compilation of the things that we’ve found work for us. If it happens to help any of you, then my goal has been accomplished!

February is the unofficial month of LOVE, so I figured it would be appropriate to talk about how marriage or even just long term committed relationships can stand the test of time. Obviously, the things that work for us may not fit in with your situation, but I think the basis of these things can help give anyone insight to a healthy relationship.

Be Respectful
I feel a bit like my mother saying this, but seriously being respectful of your significant other can be the biggest factor in your happiness. When you give your partner the same respect that you desire, it is much more likely to be reciprocated.

You Don’t Have to Tell Each Other Everything
I know this seems counterproductive, but I’m serious. I don’t mean this in a sneaky conniving way. What I do mean though is that you don’t have to say everything that comes to your mind. Just like you wouldn’t want to be able to read everyone’s thoughts all the time. You wouldn’t want to know exactly what your partner was thinking at all times. It’s ok to leave somethings to the imagination. Sometimes things can come out wrong, or the timing is bad, or maybe what you want to say is really mean and nasty (say when your husband has done something extra stupid). However, if you are honest with yourself, will saying what is on your mind be helpful? More often than not the answer is no. This ties in nicely with the whole “Pick Your Battles” thing. By the time you’ve stopped to think about it, you’ll realize it’s just not worth it, and most of the time you no longer harbor any ill will.

Be Your Own Person
I say this countless times to friends that are getting married. Just because you are joining forces and getting married, you don’t have to stop being yourself. As a matter of fact, being yourself is why your significant other has chosen to take the world on with you by their side!

Getting married and starting a family adds new dimension to who you are, but it shouldn’t change your core. Evolve into a better you, by all means, but don’t turn into your mate just because you now file a joint tax return each year. Trust me, they will thank you for this one!

Be Silly
This one is easy for me…I’m random and silly as a rule, but when my husband cuts up I remember why I fell in love with him in the first place. I think it’s because I know he feels comfortable enough to act like a clown. And really, it’s not his character to just be silly – so when he is, I love it even more. Life is such a tough thing to trudge through, so smiling and laughter is a much needed addition to any relationship. If you can laugh with, and even at each other, the stressful times will go just that little bit easier.

Do the Little Things
No one expects you to woo them for the rest of your life. It’s just not practical. But I think we can all agree that it’s really nice to have someone do the little things for you. When you are out shopping, grab that thing you know your partner has been lusting after (for no reason). Leave little notes lying around where you know your sweetie will find them. Make their favorite dinner or a special dessert just because. I think we get a bit too wrapped up in the day to day, and we forget to show our loved ones that we really do care. The little things mean so much more to me than big pricey offerings – though those are nice from time to time ๐Ÿ˜‰

Give Each Other Space
We are so rush rush these days that we spend little quality time with the people we truly love. We are forced to spend most of our days working to pay the bills. And as important as I think it is to spend time together, I think it is equally important to spend time apart. It’s healthy to spend time with friends doing things that you love. At the end of the day, if you give each other that space, the time you spend together becomes that much sweeter!

Again, maybe this seems a bit counterproductive, but it’s a must. Similar to the be your own person tip, no 2 people are exactly the same and that’s ok! It’s healthy to have differing opinions. Keep your individuality in tact and speak up when you disagree. I’m not saying to force your opinion on your partner, but offering up a different point of view can’t hurt. You never know when you will learn something, or open someone else’s eyes to something they hadn’t thought of before.

I think the main thing I have learned through the years is to be yourself and to give your partner free reign to be themselves too. There is a reason you decided to spend the rest of your life with them, why not embrace it for the long haul!

Have you found ways to keep your marriage happy and healthy?