The big day has finally arrived, your big day. You say your vows under a glorious oak tree, bold and strong. You see the man you have chosen to be your life partner. Today you are the happiest couple in the room. You’re ready to make the biggest commitment of your life.
As you both say you “I do’s,” you wonder to yourself whether this level of happiness could possibly last. You’ve entered into a marriage, and now what? How do married couples keep their marital satisfaction? Keep reading to find out the recipe for a happy marriage.
Recipe for a Happy Marriage
One of a Kind
The saying goes, no two people are alike. The same can be said for marriages. Although all marriages are unique, they require the same foundation. A marriage is a long-term relationship, and that takes dedication and work. Our elders will testify to the fact that falling in love is easy, but marriage is hard.
Satisfying relationships are built on trust, respect, honesty, intimacy, and patience. In order to be a couple with a happy relationship that can stand the test of time, three foundations need to be present. Picture a triangle, nature’s strongest shape. All three foundations need to be present to avoid it all crashing down. Those foundations are friendship within the marriage, your romantic relationship, and recovering from injuries.
Friendship within the Marriage
If you are living with someone and sharing so much of each day with that person, it’s vital that you enjoy each other’s company. Husbands and wives who are friends above all else have healthy and functional relationships.
Their personal happiness also thrives because we all need friends, not to mention the emotional benefits you get from sharing your life with a partner who is also a friend. Share and celebrate the good moments in each other’s lives.
Value the time you spend together and plan activities to do together. Try something new as a couple, and have fun in each other’s company. Laugh together and always be kind to one another. Most of all, appreciate each other.
The Choice of Attraction
In the early days, infatuation is exciting, thrilling, and sexy. You count down the minutes until you can see each other again. Over time, it’s only natural that this infatuation will fade. A romantic relationship in a marriage requires attention after infatuation fades. It needs to be attended to. Make time for your spouse. Time without distractions of everyday life. Time without the kids or talk of the office. Time to just reconnect as husband and wife romantically.
A romantic relationship in a marriage is like a flower that needs water and sunlight. Neglect it too long, and it will wither and eventually die, leaving in its trace only a bitter reminder of a marital love that has been lost. It is a conscious decision to keep the love affair alive in a marriage. Decide consciously and continuously, and the love affair within the marriage can remain alive and well.
People might not think it’s a romantic idea, but we do, in fact, choose to be attracted to our spouse. It’s a choice you make daily, and it’s an important choice to make. The sexual relationship in any marriage is an important one. How do you keep that attraction alive as the years pass? Take a moment every day and focus on the aspects that you admire in your spouse, be it physical or emotional.
Think about what makes your partner special. Share compliments with each other. These thoughts of your partner will also help with sexual faithfulness. Avoid situations where you could be tempted to stray. Stay loyal. After all, a marriage isn’t successful when you find a good mate, but when you strive to be a good mate within the marriage.
Ouch! We got hurt.
The third foundation of a healthy marriage is the ability to recover after a tough time. Life happens, and that can’t be avoided. What can be avoided, however, is the risk of divorce. It is crucial to accept change and to even expect it. There will always be a change in a marriage.
Children are born, relatives die, jobs change, or you might need to move to a new city. A major life event might lead to a spouse having more emotional demands. Stress from the office might lead to negative outbursts at home. Bad behavior from children might add new cracks in a marriage. To get through these challenging times, it is so important to communicate.
Take the time to talk to your spouse. Be honest and listen to each other. It is often said that communication is key. The reason it is so frequently said is because it’s absolutely true. The minute spouses stop communicating, the marriage becomes a sinking ship.
Encourage each other to be open. A marital conversation should always be a safe place. Be trustworthy. If your partner has opened up to you, confided in you, don’t spill the beans. It’s an honor to be a confidant. Never take it for granted.
It might happen that you communicate and the wounds still won’t heal. Luckily these days, we are blessed with a lot of support. Talk to a marriage therapist if you are struggling to repair damages in your marriage. There is no shame in needing professional help. Look online for guidance and discuss it with your partner.
Be Straight but Fair
Any marriage will have fights. In the heat of the moment, things can be said that can’t be taken back. Emotional scars can be made when you are feeling frustrated or irritated. Scars that you won’t be able to remove later and that you will regret. To avoid this happening, remember to be fair when you’re in an argument.
Try to stay in control of your emotions and anger while in a fight. If you feel that you are becoming too angry, take a step back and take a breath. Continue when you’ve had time to calm down and when you’re in a calming frame of mind. Allow your partner the time and security to express feelings and be straight about yours.
If you fight in a straight and fair manner, the marriage can grow stronger from it. Don’t be petty or nasty in an argument. Let sleeping dogs lie when fighting with your spouse. If you’ve worked through an issue previously, don’t bring it up in new arguments. Look forward, not back. Just as it is important to stay fair when arguing, it’s also a necessity to be able to apologize.
None of us are perfect, after all. We make mistakes. Be strong enough to step up and apologize if you were wrong. Be humble enough to admit that you are not better than your partner. You’re a team, and you’re in this together. If problems are really challenging, try to find a way to compromise so both spouses give a little.
Just like the magnificent oak tree that silently witnessed your union, your marriage needs care. It will grow and change as it matures. Special and continuous care results in strong roots. Roots that will stand strong till death do you part.