Happy Valentine’s Day Ladies!! In honor of one of my favorite holidays, I thought I’d put together this blog on some top tips for a happy and healthy marriage. Now, I must say, I’m no expert. In fact…I never thought I’d find someone crazy enough to marry my crazy ass! But hey, almost 5 years of marriage later (and 10 years total together as a couple!) and here we are, for better or worse!
So, I took to the ‘gram to ask the advice of others. I asked for the advice of those expert-level people married 10 years or longer. I got so many great tips and decided to compile my favorite tips into this blog. Also I included my number one tip and my husband Roger’s number one tip (of course, just so you know, my tip is better.)
Let’s get right into it!
Top tips for a happy and healthy marriage
Tip #1 (My number one tip)
Make sure you spend time as a couple… just the 2 of you…often
It is all too easy to get caught up in daily life and forget what you found amazing in each other, to begin with. Trust me, the honeymoon phase doesn’t last forever! It’s SO easy to get stuck in the monotonous cycle of work, kids, school (yours or your kids’), etc. You can easily begin to see your spouse as nothing more than a roommate (with benefits!). At first, you can’t get enough of how cute he is and everything he does is perfect…but trust me ladies several years in and suddenly even the way he breathes is wrong!
But to make sure it doesn’t get to the point (or don’t get to that point as often!) don’t forget to make time for each other. Because as much as each area of your life holds importance, think of yourselves as the glue holding it all together. When you’re happy as a couple, and you have his support and he has yours, you’re more likely to be happy in other areas of life too!
Now, this can be as simple as watching a movie together after the kids are asleep, or as elaborate as having the kids stay with grandma and grandpa and going on a weekend getaway together. You know your situation and what’s doable for you. But the principle remains the same. Make that time for each other. Take the time to remember what made you fall in love in the first place. Remember those little things you used to do when you first got married? Maybe you used to hold hands all the time but don’t anymore. Maybe you used to give each other a hug and kiss whenever the other walked in from work each day, but you’re too busy with work or kids or dinner now. These little moments of togetherness MATTER!
Tip #2 (My husband Roger’s number one tip)
Give each other space
This tip may seem in contrast to mine, but they work hand in hand. As much as you need to make time for each other, you have to give your spouse their space as well. Giving space results in more appreciation for the time you have together. Some absence makes the heart grow fonder, after all! Give your spouse that space to hang out with their friends, or maybe just spending time doing the things he enjoys and you might not.
That’s one of the secrets of marriage, you don’t have to always do the same things and go to the same places and like the same things! You’ll get very bored of each other, very fast. It’s great to have some hobbies and friends in common, but give your spouse some space at home and outside, and you’ll appreciate each other even more when you’re together.
Tip #3 (@littlemissgrove)
Never go to sleep on an argument
Instagram user littlemissgrove, married 16 years, recommends never going to bed while arguing. I love this tip because it’s one I strive to follow as well. Now, does this mean you’ll always see eye to eye? Of course not! But try your absolute best to never go to bed mad. When you go to sleep mad, you’re holding on to resentment that, for many, only grows with time until it’s addressed. And in the rush and stress of the next morning, you might not find the time to discuss further. Again, you don’t have to completely agree with your partner before closing your eyes for the night. But a little “agree to disagree” talk, or a promise to calmly revisit the issue the next day helps end the night on a better note.
Tip # 4 (@cmtexasbeauty)
Seek out counseling if needed
While this one hopefully won’t be needed, marriages are not always rainbows and butterflies at all times. Sometimes, we may experience obstacles to a happy marriage. These can include different expectations, miscommunications, feelings of neglect, and even deep-seated issues stemming from our past, among many other things. Counseling is an amazing step for those who need it, to give a chance to both parties of the marriage to say their piece in a nonjudgmental environment. It also helps you uncover things that might be holding you back from fully understanding your spouse or vice versa.
Tip #5 (@stephyblig)
Make sure your friendship is as strong as your romance
I love this one! While it’s important to keep the romance strong, keeping the friendship strong is just as important to a happy marriage! Because the romance will ebb and flow…you will go through periods of less of a lovey-dovey feeling, and that’s ok! Let your spouse be someone you can vent to, confide in, and just be silly with! Something bad happened at work? Vent to your spouse! Send funny memes in the middle of the day! Need advice on a tricky issue? Go to your spouse for help just like you’d go to a good friend for help! (Bonus with this one: your spouse will get a boost of confidence knowing you trust their advice enough to ask for it!) (And….I must add, whether you take that advice or not is up to you, wink wink.)
Tip #6 (@drpm52)
Pick your battles
This one is good advice for pretty much any area of life!! Within marriage specifically, you need to pick and choose what issues really matter to you and which don’t. Because if you have too many battles, well, you’re going to become the nagging, picky spouse. And too few battles (meaning, you’re sweeping everything under the rug and letting it all go) means you will build up too much resentment…and that pressure builds up and will explode someday!
Tip #7 (@ifbbjudgepage)
You can’t give what you don’t have, love yourself, take care of yourself, so you can do the same for your partner.
Ok I know I keep mentioning how much I love each of these haha but I really love this one! This reply to my post stood out to me so much (especially more so given my line of work!) Loving yourself first is SO very important. You need to feel happy with yourself and dole out that self-care to be able to give full of yourself to your spouse. That’s a huge part of my program, the Mother Strong League! We moms tend to give, give, give, and we need to change that. And my philosophy is not that you have to meet some standard of beauty or a certain weight. My goal is to help you reach the place where YOU feel best!
Tip #8 (@tashavandal)
Instagram user tashavandal mentions she’s been married for almost 21 years, so take this advice ladies! Communication is absolutely key to a good marriage. Don’t bottle it in. Because…you know what happens when you don’t communicate? Miscommunication and misunderstandings. And I’m pretty sure we’ve all been in at least one situation in our lives where we could’ve used better communication.
Tip #9 (@listerlady)
Encourage growth and individual interests
Be there for each other, and encourage your spouse’s interests and encourage their personal and professional growth. I feel like my husband and I are great examples of this. We each have our own businesses in our own different fields of expertise. But we are each other’s biggest supporters!
Tip #10 (pris_p_hairstudio)
A Whole lot of patience
I love that this was posted in all caps! It’s so true. Patience is needed in heaps. Your spouse will have quirks and habits that will test your patience. I don’t care who they are, we all have little things we do that may annoy others! And speaking on a deeper level, they may have bigger character traits that you don’t like as well. Patience, while they work on changing themselves, may be necessary at times.
Don’t do anything you don’t want to be done
This is basically good life advice as well! Treat others the way you wish to be treated, and don’t do things you wouldn’t want your spouse doing. As simple as that. It’s a straightforward rule, but one that’s easy to forget sometimes. But every so often, stop and ask yourself, “Would I be ok if my spouse did/said this to me?” Trust me, you’ll be a way better person because of it. There’s a reason this is referred to as the “Golden Rule”!
Tip #12 (@sandywalker83)
Be a team, always have each other’s backs
Again, you don’t have to agree on everything all the time. But make sure your spouse knows you have their back because you know you want to know they have your back as well! Teamwork makes the dream (marriage!) work. If you have kids, this rule becomes even more important. Kids need to see their parents as a (generally) United front. I say generally because it’s also good for them to see some healthy disagreement, and that people can disagree civilly!
Tip #13 (@monique._o)
Keep the fire going by being adventurous, spontaneous
And we’re not just talking in the bedroom, either! (Although that certainly helps too!) A big part of keeping the “tired, complacent old couple” stereotype at bay? Be adventurous and spontaneous! Both in big things and small things. Go give your spouse a random kiss or tell them you love them (come on, go do it! I’ll wait!). Or go big and surprise them with a random experience or even a vacation! My husband and I definitely take this advice, we take turns deciding on a date night outing and try to always find new and exciting date night ideas!
Tip #14 (@turtleflyer)
Talk and listen, and not always in that order
Talk together often, and tell your spouse about your day, your emotions, good things and bad. But also, take the time to be a good listener. Let your spouse talk it out judgment-free and listen with an open mind. Be there to give advice, but also to just lend that listening-ear we all need sometimes.
Tip #15 (@aengle917)
Love is a decision, not a feeling. You won’t always FEEL in love or even feel love towards that person. But if you CHOOSE to continue acting lovingly and put the work in, that “in love” feeling will come back stronger than before.
I saved this piece of advice for last because it’s a good reminder especially to those of us just starting in marriage. The feeling of being “in love” may come and go. Just because you’re not feeling in deep love with your spouse at any given moment in time, does NOT mean you don’t love them any more! Just means you need some rekindling, and as stated in the advice, continue to act lovingly and put the work in, and it’ll all come back.
Ladies, I know. Marriage is not always easy. There are ups and downs. There are good times and bad. One day he’s your everything, the other day you’re wondering what you were thinking when you married this dude! But you got married for a reason! Remind yourself often what you love about each other.
Try making a list of what you each love about the other! See some advice in here that you’d like your spouse to follow? Forward this blog! So…this Valentine’s Day, I sincerely hope you and your spouse take the time to rekindle that love that first brought you two together. Wishing everyone a very happy Valentine’s Day and a happy marriage!
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