Marriage is awesome. However, it can also be a challenge. I tell everyone that the first year of my marriage was one of the toughest years I’ve ever had. My wife and I, two very strong-willed people, were thrown together and had to learn the ins and outs of each other while trying not to kill each other. Suffice to say, we made it. And the things we learned in that first year have helped us in the decade that followed.
I remember during the really low times I’d read tips from people who had been married a long time. I didn’t have the patience to study an entire book on marriage, and I figured that if someone had made it 20 to 30 years in their marriage, they must have some pretty good insights for someone like me.
So, here are some of my favorite tips and secrets that I’ve gathered over the years.
Make a list of three of the happiest moments in your marriage.
Spend a few minutes each day briefly reliving those moments in your mind. The results will amaze you. – Lucia, Dating Coach
If your goal is to have a satisfying marriage with longevity, make sure you are accountable for the part you play in the relationship — good or bad.
When you are in denial about your part in the relationship then you are no better than a child flinging sand at another child in a sandbox. When you take responsibility for your part in the marriage, only then will you be able to connect with your partner in a mature, intimate way. – Carin Goldstein, LMFT
You can change your relationship for the better by increasing the use of the following statements:
“I love you”, “I’m here for you”, “I understand”, “I’m sorry”, “Thank you”, “I really appreciate all that you do”, “It’s so nice to see you”, “That was quite an accomplishment!” – Gina Spielman
Learn how to agree to disagree.
No two people agree on everything, and that’s okay, but it’s important to be okay with each other’s differences. – Lee Bowers, LP, PhD
For men, it’s important to understand that women want to be listened to. Men don’t need to solve or fix everything; listening itself is an exceptional gift. For women, it’s important to understand that men need time for themselves. By giving him space to pull away and not taking it personally, you allow him to reconnect with his desire for you and his commitment to the relationship. – MarsVenus Coaching, Life Coach
The biggest waste of effort in a marriage is trying to change your spouse, since the problems you have with your spouse are generally problems you have in yourself.
When you try to change your spouse you come across as a nag and wind up sending the message that ‘who you are is not enough.’ Nobody likes getting that message, and it leads to distance and polarization. Let your spouse be who he or she is and focus on changing yourself. – Dr. Rick Kirschner, Relationship Coach
Next time you argue with your partner, drop the shaming, blaming, needing to be right, and really listen without interrupting.
Then communicate how you feel, using “I” statements. It’s not your partner’s job to read your mind, guess what you’re thinking, or put words into your mouth. These are huge obstacles to open, honest communication and will guarantee resentment, anger, and frustration in the relationship. – Sharon Rivkin, MA, MFT
Nothing is more important in a marriage than the relationship between husband and wife.
When other things become more important, such as careers, children, and personal pursuits, trouble sets in. Make the relationship your top priority. When you do, the marriage flourishes. – Cathy Meyer, CPC, MCC
Before you get mad or assign blame, take a breath and ask your partner for his or her perspective.
For instance, it’s your spouse’s job to walk the dog in the morning, but you discover dog poop on the kitchen floor and cleaning it up makes you late for work. Instead of immediately placing blame, saying something like, “I’m puzzled about what happened with Spot this morning,” is a gentle way to start a conversation. – Jean Fitzpatrick. L.P
Never begin a sentence with the word ‘you’.
Instead start with the word “I” and then share your feelings instead of your thoughts. This is not as easy as it sounds because we all disguise a lot of thoughts as feelings, as in “I feel like you are avoiding me.” Genuine feelings are sad, angry, happy, lonely, frustrated, etc … and sharing your core feelings creates better communication, and more connection and compassion. – Veronica Monet, ACS, CAM