Marriages are certainly not made in heaven despite the popular adage. In reality it takes hard work, compromise and a lot of tending to to make things work. But when it works it is indeed heaven as you get the happily ever after.
Arguing isn’t always a bad thing
No marriage is a bed of roses all the time. But when arguments do take place it is important to listen to the other person’s point of view. Family and couple therapist Dr Juliana Morris who gives advice on Oprah Daily says that the happiest of couples have actually weathered the hard times. So if your spouse and you argue or are going through a rough patch it does not necessarily mean you are in an unhappy marriage. It means you are actually normal.
Communication is key
Talking to your spouse keeps the marriage healthy. Be honest about what you are feeling but remember not to be accusatory and harsh. Talk often and allow for each other to be able to communicate their needs and issues openly and sincerely while making an effort to listen to the other person’s point of view as well.
Appreciate the other person in your life and be grateful for the effort that they make for things that may be second nature to you but is difficult for them. This could be anything from taking an interest in a sport or hobby that you enjoy but may be hard for them to follow or grasp for example.
Trust each other
According to marriage therapist and researcher John Gottman some of the most dangerous elements in a marriage are criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling. These are serious threats and often result in divorce. Studies show that couples who fight without being nasty or belligerent are more likely to be able to address each other’s issues and resolve them amicably.
Don’t expect your partner to fulfill all your needs
However romantic Tom Cruise may have sounded in Jerry Maguire, the phrase “You complete me” shouldn’t be something you’re looking for in a marriage. The idea is to exist independently of each other and be supportive at the same time not to foster a kind of dependency which often brings resentment to one partner and over-dependency on the other. Be sure to have your own interests and ideas and yet still be able to share them and do things together.
Forgive and forget
Don’t sweat the small stuff. Holding on to past grouses and arguments will not help in anyway despite the fact that you may have been the wronged party. Mistakes happen both big and small. No matter how furious you were at the time, try to deal with your feelings and move on as best you can. Harboring ill feelings is a recipe for disaster.
Stay committed and connected and support each other emotionally and you’re on your way to to something good that will likely weather most storms.