i recently saw a post on the huffington post about successful marriages and what makes them that way. while i totally agree with the author of the story, it made me start thinking about my own marriage. i've only been married for six years, so maybe i don't have the authority to tell someone else what makes a successful marriage, but in those six years we've been through hell and back. so i'm going to share my tips for a successful marriage and you can do with them what you will.
- "give in" - you don't have to do this one all the time, but there are tons of occasions where giving in rather than holding your ground on some ridiculous point is the better thing to do for the marriage. if it's really, really hard for your to give in, then use the phrase "you may be right." by allowing that your partner may be right you're acknowledging that there may be some truth to what he/she is saying while still maintaining some of your power. it's a gem!
- "admit it when you're wrong" - this sort of follows "give in" but it's a little different. use this phrase sparingly (so it retains its impact) and ONLY use it when you're really apologizing. DO NOT under any circumstances use it sarcastically. here goes: "you're right, i'm wrong, i'm sorry, and i love you." i'm telling you, this one works wonders!
- "use check-ins" - this is sort of like the huffington posts's suggestion of having a date night once a week. that sounds great on paper (screen?) but in reality finding the time for a romantic date night every week is not bloody likely. so instead, use the check-in. it takes only a few minutes and you can do it anywhere. stop, take a breath, look your mate in the eye, and honestly ask "how are you?" you must only do this if you really want to know the answer because sometimes the convo can get heavy.
- "have an attitude of gratitude" - this is where i totally agree with the author of the blog post but i want to take it even further. rather than just acknowledging the big accomplishments (which you'd probably do anyway, right?) make it a personal challenge to notice any little thing your partner does. for example, if i notice that my husband has taken out the recycling, i thank him for it. or if i see that he's washed my to-go mug and boiled the water for the coffee, i thank him for it. i am honestly grateful for every little thing he does, and want to know the best part? he does this for me, too! it means we're always on the lookout for ways appreciate the other.
- "do good" - do nice things for your mate. they don't have to be big, grand gestures, just little things. try to do one thing every day. i'd love to see some suggestions in the comments.
- "be alone" - everyone talks about this and it can be really hard to do, but you must find time to be alone. even if you're like me and you sincerely enjoying spending as much time with your husband as you can, you MUST have alone time. if you're also like me, you don't want to hurt your husband's feelings by saying "i just want to be alone right now" but work up the nerve, honey. it's SO important.
- "have a hobby" - this sort of follows having alone time but the two may not necessarily go together. finding something you really enjoy and allowing yourself to be immersed in it now and again is so healthy for your marriage. i bet your partner fell in love with you because you were this wonderful, interesting, independent person who had passions and dreams and interests. well, my advice is: don't loose those when you get married. you may think "duh, of course i'm going to keep doing _____" but you'd be surprised how easily _____ can fall by the wayside. don't let it.
so, there you have it. i must say that i'm not great at doing all of these things but i know that if/when i do them they really do strengthen my marriage. i'm SUPER lucky to be with a man who is also working on this same list, so i've got that going for me. i hope your partner feels the same way. best of luck on the journey of a lifetime!