I’m really excited to share what I’ve learned in 4 years of marriage, not because I think I know all the answers but because marriage is so interesting. Your marriage can reveal your biggest life lessons and develop your longest lasting relationship. In 4 years I have learned so much from friends, family, books, blogs, and most importantly my husband. I am a rookie at marriage; we are still in the very early stages and we haven’t even moved into the kids stage but, I wanted to tell you a few marriage tips I believe to be pure gold…
Fight With Resolution in Mind
In marriage, disagreements will arise. The question is not if you will fight, but when. Arguments can stem from important life choices or they can develop from dirty dishes in the sink. Regardless of the problem, remind yourself that the goal is to resolve the confrontation you are having with your spouse. Many times people argue with their goal being to prove they are right or even more so that their significant other is wrong. Usually this leaves both parties feeling frustrated and hurt. Change the way you think, instead come at the problem with your mind set to end the argument with a resolution. Is “being right” worth getting divorced? Remember you are in this for the long haul.
Go to Bed Angry
Now this may not work for everyone, but I highly recommend it. I have found that in the heat of an argument, emotions and exhaustion can escalate an argument quickly. I urge you to sleep on it. If the situation is not life or death, drop it, go to bed and evaluate your position in the morning. Some people say they just can’t sleep when they are angry but take some deep breaths and learn to LET IT GO. Go to bed angry, wake up and see if you still feel as vehement as you did the night prior. If yes, set aside a time to talk it out and think about what you could apologize for first. Did you say hurtful words you didn’t mean? Did you overreact? First think about your responsibility in the issue before pointing fingers.
Assume the Best Intentions
This one is tricky so let me explain. Some personality types take everything personally. For example, stinky socks on the ground are not just laundry left on the floor because your spouse is lazy/busy, but instead a personal insult to you as a person. Again, this one takes a mindset change. When your spouse does something that is hurtful, annoying, careless or rude DO NOT assume they did that action on purpose to stab you in the heart. Assume the very best case scenario and if you can’t find one ask kindly what their intentions were. Think instead, “I know my spouse loves me and doesn’t do things to purposely hurt me, he/she must have been too busy or just has bad habits”.
Think of Everything as 100% Your Responsibility
It is so easy to think if marriage as 50/50. We naturally want “fairness” in our relationship or evenly split responsibilities. This idea of half and half just isn’t realistic. Someone is always going to make more money, someone is always gonna be a better cook, and someone is bound to be the tidy person in the relationship. Many times we get angry with our spouse saying, ” The _____ is your responsibility and you have not done it!”. Then we huff and puff, doing the deed that went undone and begrudge our spouse for it. We may not say it, but we sure do think it, harbor it, and remember it for life. Always assume all the household chores are 100% your responsibility. This works best when both partners have this mindset of course. If you feel your spouse is not chipping in as they should, repeat after me, “Hey honey, I really appreciate it when you do __________, thank you for working so hard”. In the blank, insert anything they already do well that you can praise them for, that you really do appreciate.
Read it, memorize it, and say it until you are blue in the face. After a solid month of not asking for help AT ALL ( no nagging, no hints; just shut up and do the task you want done yourself) you move on to phrase two, “Hey honey, I really appreciate it when you do ____, thank you for all you do for me. Do you think you would be able to help me ____ when you have time?”. Plan this conversation at the best possible time, when they are the least tired, well fed, awake, and preferably in a good mood. Mix this in with with phrase 1 and be patient. Give them grace and love to help them WANT to help you because ultimately who wants to help someone that is always yelling or nagging?!
For more in depth details on this one, read “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman.
Put In The Work
Any career, sport, or hobby you want to be good at takes work, time and effort. So why do you assume marriage will come naturally with no work at all? Ask yourself, “What can I do to be a better wife/husband?” and “How can I better my communication skills?”. Read the books, do the research, study your spouse, and put in the work! Set out to be the best spouse ever!
Make Time For Your Spouse
Truth about humans, we always make time for the things we enjoy doing. We always have time to watch our favorite show on Netflix, but somehow we are just “way too busy” to eat healthy and workout. We always have time to go on social media, but we are “too busy” to have a date night. Sometimes we forget that we need to set aside time for each other so we can remember why we fell in love. You may be at the point where you don’t enjoy your spouse anymore because you haven’t been putting in the work. If that’s where you are at, this should be a red flag that you are not making time for your spouse. You are setting your team up to fail by not planning quality time together.
Eliminate Negative Talk
Saying negative things to your spouse or about your spouse is a solid NO GO! Become conscious of how you speak to your husband or wife. Are you putting them down with sly remarks, sarcastic jokes, little comments, or cuss words? Are you talking bad about them to friends and family? If you were a cheerleader for your spouse, how would you be doing? If your positive words were water and your spouse was a tree, would there be any leaves left on it? Check in on your words, become aware of what you say, and eliminate negative spouse talk.
Those are just a few of my big Ah-Ha moments I’ve had, but I hope you have enjoyed them! Wishing you all the best in your marriage and if you made it to the end of this I’m proud of you, that’s a great start!