Is falling in love just a daydream or do you truly believe that you found that “special someone” who is your other half? Do you believe that person is your soulmate? Before you married, was it your dream to find the one person who would understand you, love you, and be there for you, no matter what? Is that the person you married?
Is that person still the same person you married?
Unfortunately, in today’s world, many have come to believe that the fairy tale of “Happily Ever After” is the norm and many people actually feel as if their life is lacking something if their marriage isn’t always peaches and cream. It’s sad that most couples don’t think about what happens after they say “I do” and then can’t figure out what happened to the feelings they had on their wedding day when things start to get “troubled”. Considering that about 45% of all marriages in the U.S. end in divorce, perhaps a course about the realities of building and maintaining a strong healthy marriage should be required before signing the marriage license.
Having a happy marriage doesn’t just happen, there really is a “Happy Marriage Recipe”. It doesn’t happen because you’re “in love” or “perfect” for each other. Marriage is a partnership, and like any partnership, it takes commitment, dedication and hard work to help it to grow strong.
Here is the “Happy Marriage Recipe” served up by couples whose marriages are strong and healthy. Follow this advise, adapt it to work in your own marriage, and you’ll be on your way to living “Happily Ever After”!
- Listening. We are probably more often polite to strangers than we are to our loved ones. Give your spouse the same courtesy you’d give a complete stranger, and LISTEN, no matter how trivial the message. Don’t finish their sentences, don’t try to solve their problems, and don’t say, “I told you so!”
- Communication. The lines of communication must always remain open, especially when things aren’t going as well as you’d like. There are so many outside influences that affect a marriage — jobs, family, friends, hobbies, education. If you’re troubled and not seeing things eye to eye, it’s especially important to talk about what’s happening.
- Have a date night. Going out on a date on a regular basis is what couples who have been together for many, many years claim to be one of the things that has kept their marriages strong. It doesn’t have to be expensive, a nice walk together, going to a dollar movie, or even getting a soda at the drive-in can be special if you make it special. Spending quality “couple-time” together helps to reinforce the special feelings that made you fall in love in the first place.
- Agree on money matters early on. It’s amazing that many couples never discuss money until after they’re married, but it’s true. One of the leading causes of fighting in marriages is because of diffing opinions about how money is handled. Couples need to talk about their feelings about things like credit, paying bills and saving money. They need to agree on how expenses will be paid and who will handle the money. In all actuality, they should discuss this matter before they walk down the aisle, however, if it’s after the wedding day, sit down now and figure it out. Major differences in the area of finances will lead to long term problems and couples need to have a plan and compromises need to come from both sides if necessary.
- Create special rituals and family traditions. All successful couples have their own private rituals – things that have a special meaning just to them. It could be something as small as getting your spouse coffee every morning or a special touch that means “I love you”. Remember some of your favorite childhood family traditions and incorporate them or start new ones of your own. These little things will become treasured memories for both of you.
- Love and respect each other. No matter what happens outside of your marriage, it’s vital that you and your spouse always treat each other with love and respect. Here are some simple rules that have worked for couples for many, many years and they still apply today.
- Never go to bed angry.
- Kiss each other every time you come home or before leaving.
- Say “I love you” every single day without fail.
- Remember your manners and say “please” and “thank you”.
- Do something nice for the one you love every day…just because.
- Every once in a while write a love letter to your partner.
- Laugh at his or her jokes no matter how bad they are or how often you’ve heard them.
- Don’t sweat the little stuff.
- Try something new ever so often.
- Maintain your commitment to your marriage. The “Happy Marriage Recipe” will fail without the commitment of both partners. This can be especially difficult in today’s fast paced world, but it’s important to put your marriage as your number one priority. If you’re committed to making your marriage successful and you know your spouse shares your commitment, there’s nothing the two of you can’t accomplish.
By following the “Happy Marriage Recipe” you’ll be one of the lucky few that have a truly happy marriage!