Marriage is the final step that you take to seal your relationship in a socially recognized bond.
It’s like announcing to the society that you have decided to stay as a couple. It’s the strongest, and most sincere, commitment you make in a relationship.
Keys to a Successful Marriage
Being married means a union of mind and soul – ideally.
Normally speaking, marriage is hard work. Two people who are completely different come together with the hope to spend their lives in each other’s company. So far so good.
However, living together means a lot of adjustment on a micro level that movies and courtship do not prepare you for – sharing the same house, eating habits, sleeping habits, friends, entertainment habits, work, in-laws and the list goes on.
Life can get pretty complicated when it comes under the microscope.
So here are 11 keys to keep your marriage happy, stable and smooth:
1. Maintain your individuality
You are an individual. Do not bend over backward to accommodate your partner. Sooner or later you would resent it and expect the same from your partner who by now would have become used to your being compliable to everything.
Each spouse should be able to be themselves without any pretense. Adjust and compromise should be a two way road – valid for both spouses.
2. Give each other space
Many married people feel trapped after their marriage. Trapped in their roles of spouse – their duties, their chores, their roles.
If this is not tackled in time, it can lead to deep disturbances.
The trick here is to allow each other some space for personal development. This would be time that you send for yourself – like the man could spend time with his male friends doing what men typically enjoy and the woman could do what she likes best.
A little time away from each other sweetens the relationship. If it is not there it becomes suffocating.
3. Keep communication lines open
Whatever happens, keep your communication lines open.
There are times when disagreements make it difficult to speak to each other. Once you stop sharing your thoughts, it becomes a habit and then you grow apart without really knowing when this happens.
You need to share in words, your feelings, your disappointments, your criticism, your pain, your expectation and your love.
Communication lines should always be open between spouses.
4. Fight constructively
There is no marriage without conflict.
You are talking about two people who live together – there has to be some disagreement or other.
However, when you fight do not blame the person but the behavior. Try to express yourself in terms of own feelings instead of blame.
For example, say I feel hurt/disappointed/sad/ angry when you describe negative things; rather than you are disappointing/irritating/useless/ cruel, etc.
It is easier to discuss negative feelings when they focus on behavior. Otherwise the spouse who comes under fire becomes defensive and then the argument becomes a challenge to prove themselves right and the other wrong.
5. Care for each other’s feelings
Spouses share their lives with each other and in the process share a lot of confidential and sensitive matters.
The key is to never air these out in public or in front of friends/ relative in anger. It is easy to spill the beans, it is very difficult to undo the harm from such indiscretions.
Keep each other’s secrets as sacred. Never betray each other’s trust. This is one thing that once lost it can never be regained in the same measure.
6. Compromise with each other
A marriage will ask a lot of compromises from both spouses. Be ready to compromise to make the other one happy.
This could on a small thing like the color of curtains or major things like having his mother live with you – whatever it is, always try to see the other person’s point of view and reach a middle path.
Be fair – ask as much as you would give and always be sensitive of the other person’s feelings.
The duties of parenthood needs to be shared equally. Sharing parenthood is a wonderful way to come close in a marriage. Children always feel emotionally safe and happy when they know their parents love each other.
This is one of the touchiest subjects and one that create havoc in a marriage.
The key here is to decide early in the marriage how your finances would be managed. Would you have a joint account or separate accounts and decide jointly which bills are whose responsibility.
Finances should be tackled carefully and clearly as these could easily create deep resentment.
9. Household chores
Both the spouses are adults and both should be able to do all the chores in the house. This is even more important if both spouses pursue as active career.
Taking care of the children, payment of bills, buying groceries, shopping (outside the home chores), washing dishes, cooking, cleaning, etc – should be shared in a equitable manner so none of the spouses should feel overwhelmed.
10. Recreation and vacation
Ensure that the decision for a vacation is something that both spouses enjoy. If there is an inclination for one spouse in some instances (such as a fishing expedition), then the next choice should give priority to the other spouse.
11. Love and Intimacy
When intimacy lessens in a marriage (before you hit your fifties) it is a sign of trouble. Physical intimacy is an expression of love that is unique to husband-wife (couple) relationship. Work hard to keep the desire, and passion, alive in your partner. Keep fit, be careful about how you dress and your personal grooming, pay particular care to your personal hygiene and keep courting each other. Passion is something that will always make the other person feel special and wanted.
As you can see, a good marriage is indeed hard work, compromise, love and sharing. The foundation may be love, but to have a good marriage you need to consciously keep it alive, and vibrant.