It’s the age-old question: what can I do to make my marriage last? All couples want to know what they can do to help ensure that they not only stay together, but also enjoy the journey of their relationship. While every couple is different and all marriages have specific needs, there are several pieces of practical advice that can help couples stay on track to keep keeping their marriage healthy and happy. Practice the following and discover your own life together.
1. Stay curious about one another. Curiosity feeds attraction and feeds the spirit. If you’re no longer curious about your partner what is closing your eyes and ears?
2. Small things DO matter. Gestures, considerations, and accommodations are essential ingredients to keeping love fresh.
3. Learn to live with and respect your differences rather than becoming frightened or embittered by them. Find ways to enjoy differences. Develop rules for engagement when you fight over differences that really bother you.
4. When fearful or angry seek clarification of the facts and of your assumptions. It takes courage to think when you want to run or fight. The structure of thinking helps when emotions get in the way.
5. Don’t be frightened by intense feelings, whether they be your own or those of your spouse. Within some range of what is normal (see your local therapist if you are not sure) going to some personal edge may be necessary for growth. Husbands and wives who are friends can find a way to talk about these changes. Growth is natural.
6. Don’t lie your way out of a bind, lie, or betrayal. Getting caught lying cuts deep into the muscle of a marriage. Lies take longer to heal than the truth. Trust is equal to love between partners. Don’t mess with trust/love by lying.
7. Use some discretion in what you say about your feelings and perceptions about your spouse, but say it. Just don’t hit below the belt where the pain won’t go away.
8. Forget that marriage is a 50/50 proposition in the sort-run, on specific issues. You should give at least 65% so as to make up for those times when you’ve got nothing to give at all. Remember that a good partner is one who gives their spouse credit.
9. Commitment means a willingness to be unhappy for a while, but only for a while. It helps to like your spouse even when he or she is being a jerk. We all get our turn to be a burden, so when you return to the human race, thank your spouse for tolerating you.
10. Find ways to laugh with one another, even at each other and at some of the problems you may be facing together. A humorless marriage is a dull one.
11. Have a few adventures in your life together. New experiences help you to grow personally and help you to grow in your marriage. Age is no barrier to adventure. We are endlessly given the capacity to renew ourselves.
12. Find ways to grasp the Infinite and Mysterious together. Remember life is so much larger than our life together.
Look forward to your life together!