From dating, to marriage, no one really prepares us for the next stage in our life. We are given advice from family & friends, we refer to books, and online resources, but not all advice applies to our own relationship. If there is one thing that is true, from books, advice, or online, is that no marriage is easy or perfect, but that’s what makes it real.
Along the way, we figure it out, and sometimes make mistakes. Some mistakes can affect our marriage. I want to discuss some important points to make your marriage better.
1. Be Patient
It is so important to be patient with your spouse. This doesn’t come easy, and some will say, “I am patient.” My question to you is, are you always? Men and women, react, reflect, interpret and communicate differently. While most women find it easy to express how they feel, happy, sad or angry, for men, this isn’t always easy. Let’s take a look at chores. We all have them, they need to be done, and we expect our husband or partner to help. Women, you ask your husband or partner to “tidy” the living room. You have given the task, while you clean another room. You and your husband or partner are finished, and you come to find a stack of papers, or books left on the coffee table, and blankets piled at the end of the couch. At this point, you ask “why didn’t you tidy the living room?” The response from your husband or partner , “it is tidy?” When communicating, understand that your husband or partner’s interpretation might be different. Even though the room doesn’t look “tidy” to you, it looks tidy to him.
It’s important to be clear when communicating with your spouse. It’s true what they say, men are not mind readers. Men and women process information differently. If you say you are “fine,” or “you should know why I’m mad” this is very insensitive and unfair to your husband. Men are not “wired” the same as women. Men don’t always know when they have hurt your feelings. Communicate with your husband or partner on how you feel.
I’m still learning to do this, but when you have mastered this, it will make a positive difference.
3. Respect your partner
One of the most important things a man needs is, respect and to be respected. He desires it most from his wife or partner. The saying, “you have to earn respect to gain respect,” is true, but you have to remember he is human. We all make mistakes, and no one is perfect. To lead a healthy and happy family, both partners need to be respected, even if you feel your husband or partner didn’t deserve it. If you continue to respect your husband or partner, it will help motivate him to earn it. This doesn’t mean you ignore his bad decisions, pretend they don’t exist, these will still need to be communicated. It means, you need to discuss your differences with respect.
At some point in our lives, we all make mistakes. There comes a point in our life where we need to choose to make forgiveness a life long habit. This includes big ones, small ones, or even annoyances – ( most mornings I have to forgive my husband for leaving breakfast crumbs on the counter or the window open in the bathroom during the winter). No one says forgiveness is easy, but the more you forgive, the less room there is for resentment.
5. Date Night
This one has been around a long time, and there are so many articles supporting scheduled date nights. This is something my husband and I make a habit of doing each week. You can never stop dating your spouse. It’s a funny thought, “we are married, we are done dating,” but its true. You need to set time aside for just you and your spouse, and talk about each other. Don’t talk about your kids, bills or work. Just each other. Scheduled date nights, don’t have to be costly. Some inexpensive ideas:
- Take a walk
- Eat in, but catch a movie out
- Go to a cafe
- Movie in, with popcorn or your favourite snack( Plan a babysitter, play date ) Or wait until your kids are asleep.
- Cook together, eat together
Spending one-on-one time allows you to connect emotionally and learn something new about each other.
6. Never threaten
Sometimes we find ourselves in an angry spot. Never threaten, unless you mean it, and you plan to follow through. Sometimes couples will often threat separation or divorce when they are angry. This tactic is cruel and unfair to your spouse. Threatening is a TEMPORARY way out, that can lead to more harm than good. There are other ways to get past this method.
- Take a breather
- Communication Talk when ready, and calm.
- Seek advice from an outside, reputable source if communication doesn’t work.
7. Don’t criticize
Criticizing your spouse is hurtful and embarrassing, even if it’s done with friends. Making this a habit will damage the respect you have with each other, and makes it uncomfortable for others around you.
No one said marriage is easy. What we see on television, or read about in books, is not always true. Marriage takes work, and commitment. There might be times you might question the love you have for each other, or the attraction you have towards your spouse, but always choose to love each other. The day you walked down the aisle and read your vows are so sacred. You made a commitment to each other. To have , and to hold, in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad. They don’t say “to have to hold anyone you please” or “in good times only.” They say to have, AND to hold, implying, holding each other. In sickness AND in health. Good times AND in bad times. There will be bad times, along the way. Remember to love in the good parts AND in the bad. Good times, will always out way the bad times!