I am by no means an expert in this area, but having more than 21 years experience being married to the same person there are a few things I can teach someone who is having trouble in their marriage. Of course there are marriage counselor you can hire to save your marriage, but all they do is trying to find the root cause behind the trouble and solve them one by one. Believe it or not many problems in a marriage are usually cause by several reasons that I will highlight below. Hopefully my advice below can not only help troubled couples, they can be applied to healthy couple too.
One of the driving force in a happily married couple is their own experiences with their own parents. If the couple experienced happy and loving childhood, the couple’s own marriage will have a better chance of long lasting marriage. However, if the man or woman grew up in a broken family, the likelihood of him or her to maintain a marriage is slim. They tend to use their “bad” experience and apply it in their own marriage. With that being said, it is extremely important for any couple who is having difficult marriage to throw out all his or her upbringing experience and start anew. Without further due, let’s go.
Respect for Each Other
One of the biggest problems with a man and woman is they tend have different values when it comes to certain things. For example, some men prefer to watch football over the weekend while women tend to chat with their friends or maybe go shopping. Problems arises when they start to complain each other and disrespecting each other choices. When a couple start this route, the frustrations would continue to pile up to a boiling point that arguments become inevitable. When arguments start, hurtful words would start to fly and tears will follow. It is extremely important that the husband and wife should respect each other’s needs before make any unilateral judgement. In other words, try to wear each other’s shoes.
My wife and I are no different. Melissa loves to dance her Zumba in the house and she goes to any classes that interest her. Sometimes she will out at a gym for hours and may miss making dinner for the family. Instead of criticizing her of her choice, I continue to support her. Whenever possible, I would step in and help take care of our kids. On the other hand, I sometimes prefer quiet times after work. Melissa loves to talk about her day, but she learns to keep the conversation down if she notices that I am tired from work.
Overlook Each Other Weaknesses
No one is perfect. Each couple should know each other weaknesses and embrace them. Never use each other’s weaknesses and belittle them. This creates stress in the relationship and may snap overtime. The end result could be divorce or worse. For example, I’ve heard stories how the husband yells or criticizes the wife for poor driving to a point that the wife stopped driving altogether. Recently I read a news article how the husband keeps calling his wife “fat” after she gave birth to their first son.
Using myself as an example, my wife gained a few baby weight after our daughter was born. I’ve never use the weight gain in any of my conversation with her. In fact, I grew to love some of her curves. Instead of the negativity in the conversation, we were able to use the weight gain to jump start a healthy lifestyle. Today, Melissa is a Zumba instructor while I have been going to gym 4-5 times a week for the past 4 years.
Communicate and “Not” Communicate
Communication is key in a healthy couple. When things are not clear or there are any disagreement, open communication will usually cure all ills. Communication is a two way street, which includes active listening and active responding. If one spouse talks and the other shuts down, then there is no communication. The one-sided communication becomes “complaints” and “naggings” and are usually not healthy in a relationship.
On the other hand, there are certain things that are better not said because they will cause harm. When do you “not” communicate? Certain subjects that are sensitive to one’s belief should always be avoided. For example, if the husband feels the wife is “overweight”, find other means to encourage better lifestyle. Another example is my wife and mother-in-law are rarely on the same wavelength. I am always be careful what I should convey to my wife on what my mother said (especially negative things).
Enjoying each other sexually is a catalyst to a healthy relationship. Sex allows a couple to communicates to each other that they are comfortable with each other and they enjoy each other intimately. This is also the time they let their guards down and learn from each other.
My work is sometimes stressful and my wife is usually busy taking care of the kids. We learn years ago that we should retire to our bedroom early to de-stress. If we are really too tired to do anything, we would tell each other instead of forcing ourselves to have intimate time. We learn to know what each other’s needs are and learn enjoy to each other.
I’ve heard of sex-less marriage (of which several of our friends are in). The marriage becomes a contract that lack understanding and love. The couple maintains the marriage as a duty instead for each other. The contract could end once they no longer need each other.
Have Fun with Each Other (but not at the expense of the other)
Laughter is what keeps life smiling. It is also important in a marriage – without laughter then the spark in the marriage is gone. Laughter also tells each other that they understand each other and what makes them “tickle”. However, laughter should be done in both ways instead of one way. For example, making jokes of your significant other could sometimes be hurtful if not kept in check.
My wife and I sometimes would bring up something funny that happened when we first dated. That rekindled our love and brought back good memories. I would never make fun of her directly as not only it is insensitive, but could be hurtful.
Children are the glue of the family. They remind us why we committed ourselves in a holy matrimony. Yes, having kids could be stressful and expensive. However, a marriage without kids seems pointless. While I respect those who rather have kid-less marriage, there comes a time one would wonder why getting married when there is no further commitment.
My wife and I decided early on that we will have kids – the question is how many. Once we have the first one, we knew we will have more. Now our children are mostly grown up, they remind us what my wife and I continue to commit to each other. There were a number of stressful times during my children upbringing and both my wife and I were able to solve them together as a team. Our children makes our marriage worth while.
These are just a few things I learned over the years after my wife and I were married. I am glad to say my wife and I continue to go strong in our marriage. There were a few ups and downs along the way but we managed to overcome them. The above are just some of the ways you can consider if you want to keep your marriage strong. In the next few posts I will go over the rests and hopefully whoever reads this will consider the above to keep their marriage life strong and forever.
I love to hear from you and let me know what works and what doesn’t.