My married life isn’t perfect. I’m not a perfect spouse and neither my husband. Like any other marriage, ours has its own share of ups and downs, fun and boring moments, angry and loving events.
Yet despite this imperfection, I consider myself a happily married woman, well… I just don’t know if my husband shares the same opinion as mine.
Nevertheless, having a a continuously happy marriage is something that my husband and I are determined to work on as we traverse this endless aisle of commitment. With this goal in mind, I wanted to share with you the general picture of what I did and continuously do as a wife to keep my marriage warm and fully alive.
1. As a single person, decide already to have a happy marriage.
How? By getting to know yourself; through being aware of your values, strengths, weaknesses, personal issues. Once inside the marriage ,your personality will be mixed up with someone’s personality, which will create a more complex concoction. By understanding yourself, you would be in a better position to understand his personality and your couple interaction.
Become Ms. Right and have a dedication to be a better person. This way, you will have a high chance of attracting Mr. Right who is also committed to self-improvement. Try to complete yourself without relying on someone to complete you or rescue you. You could also decide to embrace single-blessedness as a way of life. Anyway, having a lifetime partner is not a requirement for a happy, blissful, and fulfilling life.
However, should you decide to date exclusively, observe what kind of family he has and how he relates with his family members, most probably this is how he will relate with you in your future home. Observe too how he relates with people whom he doesn’t need to be nice with (e.g., janitors, waiters), there’s a high chance that this is how he will relate with you when he doesn’t need to be nice to you. If he is respectful to a beggar, surely he will be respectful to you.
Do not settle for less, never pick a rock which you will forever pound on your head. Be selective of men just as you are selective when you buy your shoes, dress, and other things that matter to you. The man that you will eventually choose is someone you’re going to spend the rest of your life with, not like the shoes you so carefully chose which you can throw when deemed useless.
2. Tap into your Higher Power: God, Buddha, Allah, Life, Vishnu, etc.
Ultimately your Higher Power is your source of strength, patience, understanding, forgiveness, wisdom, humility. And these are all important when you’re living with someone who is a totally different person from you.
You’re just human, there will be a lot of times when weariness or trials could bog you down. And during your weak moments, it’s your Higher Power who will be your source and aid. Being a Catholic, I cling to God as my refuge and source of strength whenever I couldn’t handle myself, my husband, and our situation.
If you couldn’t find in your heart to forgive, pray. If you couldn’t seek humility in yourself, pray. If anger seems to overtake you, pray; pour and share your anger with God. So when it’s time for you to talk with your husband, everything you say are already filtered out.
3. Continuous Education and Lifetime Learning about marriage and relationship.
Know the effect of gender differences and personality differences in relationships. Read on Gary Chapman’s 5 love languages. Discover John Powell’s 5 levels of communication. Experiment on the principles of Fascinating Womanhood. Learn from other happily married wives. Pick up something from your grandparents’ secrets in reaching their 50th anniversary. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera…
These are not pre-requisites to a rewarding marriage, however, these will all be helpful in building a harmonious and happy marriage with your spouse. There’s a lot to learn. There’s a lot to discover.
4. Become a team.
Of course there are two people who walked down the aisle, who vowed loyalty and commitment to each other. Similarly, there will always be two people who should work hand in hand in making their marriage work.
Teamwork happens when you allow your strengths and weakness to complement each other. Teamwork happens when there is sharing of marital power. Teamwork happens when both of you respect and commit to the expressed and unexpressed marriage boundaries. Teamwork happens when you create traditions and meaningful communications that will strengthen your couple bond and identity. Nothing really beats the adage, “It always takes two to tango.”
Other list will teach you about acceptance, forgiveness, kindness. But I think they’re all included in my number two and three tips.
I believe that a happy marriage doesn’t happen by chance. Rather, a happy marriage, like any other areas in life that requires success, needs hard work, commitment, and continuous learning. This is a gift we give to ourselves, our spouse, and most of all our children.
May we all have a happy and blessed marriage!