Have a Happy and Contented Marriage
Edited by estrella sacragon, Lynn, Eng, Marian Raquel F. Roncesvalles and 4 others
Are you planning to tie the knot anytime soon? Are you the marrying type or not? Have you ever wondered if there is such a thing as "Happily Ever After" in "I dos"?
Once, marriage was simple. You got married, had kids, worked hard, and stayed married despite the ups and downs of life. Sounds like a plan, right? A simple formula, but an otherwise complicated theorem after all. Contrary to popular belief, marriage is may seem like a bed of roses, but you're always lying down with the thorns.
- 1 Why Marriages Tend To Breakdown
- 2 How To Work Toward a Happy and Content Marriage
- 3 A Happy Marriage Requires More Maintenance Than Your Car
- 4 Questions and Answers
- 5 Comments
Why Marriages Tend To Breakdown
Over the years, the simple black and white concept of married life has changed. Many couples now recognize there are gray areas in all things - even in marriage. Married people these days have become more independent and rely less on their partner than in the past. Modern marriages today do not necessarily mean happy marriages. They're more like a work in progress. Marriage does not guarantee heaven or a perfect sunrise every single morning. Conflict and trials will always be part of every relationship. You don't get to a successful marriage overnight. It takes a huge amount of continuous effort to make it work. The rate of divorce is on the rise, and maintaining a contented, happy marriage has become a daunting challenge for most couples.
Two People Not Becoming One
Theoretically, too much of anything isn't a good thing, and neither is too little. Many people think too much independence can make you a workaholic or worse, send you straight into the arms of another man or woman. Conversely, so is too much dependence. When your partner is too clingy, relies on you for everything and requires too much attention, it can wreak havoc on your relationship. You might fall into the same traps of over-working and infidelity, for different reasons. It's both suffocating and exhausting to be in this kind of marriage, which is destined to fail.
The reality is, every good marriage has to discover the balance between too little time together, and too much. You can never look to someone else to complete you. You should be complete before you marry. Therefore, maintaining your own identity is important for maintaining your sanity in a marriage. If you agree with every idea your partner has and concede to every suggestion or demand, you will very quickly lose track of yourself. On the flip side, if you're the spouse always making decisions and plans, it becomes exhausting.
You need to remain in touch with yourself during your marriage. Make sure you each have your separate interests, hobbies, and often, your own social activities. You should not be defined as someone's spouse. You must always remain your own person. Each person needs to spend some time alone. They need to have some interests that are different from their spouse's. There are more people other than your spouse in your life. You need time for friends and family, and your own children. Likewise, both of you should develop relationships with each of your children, independent from everyone else. Not every activity should include every member of the family, or for those without children, not every activity should be done as a "couple".
It takes trust and respect to encourage your spouse to grow and expand his or her interests apart from yours. More so, it takes a lot of love and maturity to be able to understand that your partner is an equal and that you both have individual and collective pursuits, and that's a good thing. It doesn't mean that you should be secretive about things you do, but a little bit of mystery is healthy for marriages.
A good marriage isn't just about honoring your commitment to one another, but also honoring the relationships you have with the other people in your life. The world should not revolve exclusively around each other. Keeping that mystery alive, even if you've been married many years, is important to keeping the fires burning in a relationship. It's all about discovering the balance between things you do together, and things you do apart. That way, you'll have things to talk about over dinner.
Trust is Everything
Without a foundation of trust, you will soon discover you have a big problem. When a man believes his wife is flirting with every man she talks to, and when a women checks a man's phone when he's in the shower, your relationship, whether you know it or not, is crumbling. In this age, when couples do a lot of things independently from each other, trust is more important than it was in the traditional marriages of the fifties. Most issues of trust are about one of three things:
- 1The past. There have been issues in the past that cause one or both of you to mistrust the other. If you haven't regained the trust in your relationship, you haven't properly resolved or dealt with whatever the situation was.Advertisement
- 2Projecting. Sometimes, the person with the least amount of trust is the untrustworthy one. It's not unusual for the one having the affair, to accuse the other of doing the same thing.Advertisement
- 3Insecurity. So often it's people's insecurity that makes them believe the worst of their spouse. Deep down, they down believe they are good enough to deserve their spouse, happiness and most of all love. They think their spouse will find someone else, because they don't feel worthy.
Change is Inevitable
Many people feel stuck in unhappy relationships because somewhere along they way, they have changed in different directions, and have outgrown each other. Sometimes, it's inevitable. Perhaps if we looked at six good years of marriage as a success rather than a failure, we'd all be healthier, emotionally. Being a husband or wife is just one of the many roles that you have to play in life, which also might include being a mom or dad, son or daughter, brother or sister, relative, friend, and co-worker; among others. This is a difficult time in history, and many people don't have enough time to focus on their marriage. The best advise is to try and make the time.
How To Work Toward a Happy and Content Marriage
If there is a small amount of hope for your marriage, perhaps you might give staying together the old college try. Being in an unhappy relationship is terrible. Going through a divorce is terrible. It shouldn't have to be, but there aren't many who can manage to love each other enough through that difficult time. It's a mystery how someone marries the best person they've ever known, and ends up hating that person more than anyone they ever known, but it happened - a lot.
So how do you achieve a harmonious marriage with your spouse? What are the ingredients to make a relationship last? Is "Happily Ever After" attainable in modern relationships, or is it a concept limited to fairy tales and romance novels?
Keep The Fires Burning
Happy spouses are proven to live longer, earn more, and are more altruistic and productive members of the community, than their single counterparts. There are many things you can do to make each other happy, and content in your marriage.
- 1Date. To keep the fire burning, make a date night. Once a week would be great, but if you're both really busy, once every two weeks. Don't let anything interfere with your date night. Make interesting plans. Include movies, concerts, plays, candle lit dinners and picnics on the beach at midnight. Dress up, be crazy, be romantic and be unpredictable. Be creative. Both of you should take an active part in date night. Don't leave all the plans to one person. And there is no rule that says you can only do things on date night. Surprise her with tickets to the ballet, surprise him with tickets to the game, or vise versa. Always keep them wanting more.Advertisement
- 2Talk. Don't every lose interest in each other. Find out what your spouse thinks of the political climate, bring up issues, discuss. Talk to each other about work, about each other's hobbies. In one survey, it was revealed that most men sought partners outside the marriage, because they listened to them, not, as most would think, because the sex was great - although it probably was.
- 3Speaking of Sex. It's important to keep the intimacy alive in a relationship. We all have had times when it just seemed like too much work, or we were too tired, but after a few minutes, you were thinking - this is really good! Why don't we do this more often? So - do it more often. Dress up for each other. Light some candles, put on some sultry music, open a bottle of wine and flirt - yes, flirt with your spouse. It's sexy! Be creative. Both men and women get lazy. You'll only get out of it, at the minimum, half of what you put into it. Gift each other with sensual massages and foot rubs. Run a bubble bath for two. Skip dinner, make beautiful love and make an omelet at midnight. It's amazing what fun you'll have with each other if you turn the TV off, and put down the electronic diversions.
- 4Electronics. You have a smart phone, don't you? Play smart. Send some naughty text messages while he's in a boring meeting. Send her an email telling how wonderful she was last night. Call in the middle of the day with some teasing, and suggestive language. You might want to refrain from sending racy pictures, or texts that are too sexy. Rule of thumb, if you'd be a bit embarrassed if they were discovered, you'll live. If you'd be devastated and hide in your room for six years, it's probably not a good idea. Use a little discretion.
- 5Confide in each other. Stay each other's best friend. Be the soft place to fall for each other. Don't hide when you are stressed about work, about anything. Talk about it. If the bills are piling up and you try to hide it, eventually the situation will be discovered, and you'll still have the problem, but your spouse will feel useless, and uninvolved. Communication is tantamount for a successful relationship.
- 6Weekend Getaways. Get someone to stay with the kids, pack a bag, and escape for a weekend getaway. Be creative. If money is an issue, go camping, stay at a friend's place and feed their dog while they're away.
- 7Public displays of affection. Some people are uncomfortable with this, and others are uncomfortable witnessing it. To those who are uncomfortable witnessing it - there are awful things in the world. Two people demonstration their love by hugging or kissing in public is a beautiful thing! This is especially true of your kids. No matter how they groan, or roll their eyes, it makes children very happy to know their parents are in love. It also sets and example for them and their future relationships.
- 8Argue. Don't have crazy hysterical fights, as they serve no one, but don't be afraid to argue with your spouse. Don't sweat the small stuff, but it's important to fight for something you are passionate about. Stay focused, listen to your spouse, don't go to bed angry, but don't be afraid to fight. Within reason, a discussion between the two of you were there is resolution is great for the kids to see. It helps them hone their problem-solving techniques.
A Happy Marriage Requires More Maintenance Than Your Car
While you're so busy trying to get by, your life, and your marriage might pass you by. Stay awake. This is most certainly a work in progress.
He Said. She Said.
Many men won't try to fix or save their marriages until their wives have already have lost the incentive, or they've noticed the "For Sale" sign on the front lawn. As the cliché goes, if you don't put oil in your engine, it freezes. Men are wonderful at putting energy into their careers, which they sincerely do for their families, but they forget to maintain an emotional investment. It's not exclusively the task of the woman to pour her energy into the marriage; it's a task that should be shared. At the same time, if the woman works out of the house, or stays home with the kids, as much as you resent your husband's lack of interest in the goings on in your home, he may resent the lack of interest you have in his work. The bottom line seems to be - be sensitive to each other's roles, and stay engaged with what your spouse is contributing to the marriage. Take time to reflect on your role, and whether or not you're putting all you can into it.
Keep it Alive
It's the little details that count most in a relationship. Sometimes, it's these small thoughtful gestures, that can make your spouse so happy and bring you closer together, and it's those little things you take for granted, that can make you so unhappy and push you apart. This is especially true if you've been together a long time. They say, whoever they are, that romance and passion wane over time. Passion might wane, but romance is not a feeling, it's an action, and the truth is, you just got lazy. It's much more difficult for passion to wane, if you're maintaining a respectable level of romance. And romance is not exclusively the task of the man.
Marriage is a Partnership
Marriage involves two people who decide to make their relationship work no matter what the odds are. There is no silent partner in a marriage. If there is, it's doomed.
It's the Little Things
It takes a conscious effort to make a marriage work over many years. It's a busy world we live in, and once you add kids to the mix, there are household chores, changing nappies, working on kid's projects, office work, drinking with buddies, basketball, classes, meetings and all things in between that makes catching your breath and taking time for each other difficult. Take that enough time to show you love each other, even in small ways. Bringing them a coffee, running a bath, clearing the ice from their car - just small things when time is so rare - to say, "I love you".
Be Good To Each Other
- 1Kindness. Another tip to have a happy and contented marriage is to be kind to your partner. Don't get caught in the insult trap. You know them - at a party they belittle each other, put each other down, and make comments about each other's downfalls. Don't degrade, demean, belittle, insult or make fun of the person you claim to love. It's just not right, and honestly, even if you think it's just your quirky way, it makes other people very uncomfortable. Instead, try respect, compliments, praise, and empowering each other. It's way sexier. Be kind. Be thoughtful. Be a great spouse. Never forget to say "thank you", "please", or "sorry". A genuine "I Love You" is a beautiful thing, but your spouse will know if you're saying it out of habit, or because you think it's what your spouse wants to hear. Don't say it then. It takes genuine effort to be nice to your partner even at difficult times or when you are both stressed and burnt out. More so, it takes a lot of love to extend nice gestures even when your partner tends to be unlovable or disagreeable. We all have times when we are neither lovable nor agreeable. Note: this doesn't mean being a doormat. This only works when you both behave with kindness.
Distance - Does It Make The Heart Grow Fonder?
Due to work, there might be a time in the relationship when one of you is working out of town, and maybe only home on weekends, or one of you consistently travels, sometimes for long periods of time.
Summing it all Up
This is a challenge to most married couples. There are some couples who would welcome the change. Regardless, this is when trust comes into play. Use your devises to keep in touch. Don't stop the sexy stuff because you aren't together, in fact you might want to increase it. Enjoy your time apart, and look forward to your time together. Look at it as an adventure, rather than a stressor. If there are children involved, and one is home with them. Be very understanding that the one left at home is doing the parenting for two.
- 2Be supportive and nice to each other.
- 3For one negative thing you do - do five positive things to balance it out.
- 4Enjoy discovering a myriad of aspect to your partner's character. Every person is like an onion - so many layers. Just when you think you know everything about your spouse, there will be something new. Hooray!
- 5Rejoice in the family you have created.
- 6Growing old together is not just about the years spent together, but the years you still have to discover.
- 7Love is really a dance. The timing may not always be perfect, but you must strive to be in sync with your partner.
- 8Marry your best friend. It's so much easier.
- 9Love should be the only reason to marry. Ever.
- 10If you are in love, love deeply, honestly and to the best of your ability.
Questions and Answers
How can I live contentedly, whether married or unmarried?
I need help. How can I live contentedly whether married or unmarried?
Contentment is a state of mind. It can be difficult to change your mindset to be positive but overall when you take a minute to find something positive each hour. It can make a difference. Being content means that you have taken control of your life, and you've accepted the things you can't control. Resolve conflicts immediately instead of letting your anger fester, even if you were right, it is best to apologize and mend relationships.
Find hobbies that make you happy. It can even be watching a show in the evening in your pajamas, but if it makes you feel good then it is a positive action in your life. Learn to say "No" when you need time to yourself. We often can get overwhelmed trying to please everyone at the same time and it is just not possible. Learn when you need that "Me" time and do not feel bad for taking it. For me personally, I need time every day for just myself after my children go to bed. It took a long time to stop doing laundry during that time or other things I needed to get done but now I make a cup of tea and sit down and relax for one hour. I have noticed that this works for me to remain centered and positive throughout the rest of my day. It is motivating to know I will be able to unwind that evening.
Here are more VisiHow articles for you to enjoy:
- How to be happy in 5 minutes
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- Enjoy the single life
- Be Content Being Single
- Get Rid of Stress and Anxiety