Finding the right person to share your live with can be challenging. Think about this: Out of the millions of fish in the ocean, how will you know if the right one is right in front of you, if you don’t swim and take chances? When you’ve finally found the right one, and yes, you will know if he is, it can be quite difficult for you to let him go.
The next challenge now is how to sustain the relationship and ensure that you will have a happy and longer marriage. The truth is, there is no exact recipe for a happy marriage that works for everyone.
There is also no such thing as fairytales, which explains why 40 to 50 percent of all marriages in the United States end up in divorce. That’s not all, either. Five out of 1,000 people who live in Russia will end up divorced, making that country the one with the highest divorce rate in the world.
The question is, what went wrong with all of these marriages? Is there anything you can do to prevent your marriage from going down the road? Of course, there is, so here are 10 steps that could help you have a happier and longer marriage.
1. Be Emotionally Responsible
Love, trust, open communication and respect are the recipe for a healthy marriage. A bit of sex and intimacy goes a long way, too. However, there is one aspect that is mostly overlooked by couples these days, and that is emotional responsibility.
One of the reasons why marriages fail is because one or both partners lose themselves along the way. You let other people become responsible for who you are, and you rely on your other half for your happiness.
If you abandon yourself instead of value and love who you are, you become unstable, emotionally unhappy and develop low self-worth. The next thing you know, you start to blame your partner for your feelings, which breeds an unhealthy relationship.
Pay more attention to yourself. Be responsible for your own feelings and emotions. Don’t let others, especially your spouse, to define who you are.
2. Enjoy Your Time Together
This is the problem with most couples. Even if you live under one roof and sleep in the same bed 24/7, you don’t seem to enjoy each other’s company.
A healthy relationship means doing something you both love and are passionate about. If you don’t have it yet, find something that interests you without forcing each other to do it.
Emotional responsibility plays a vital role in the relationship. Spend time together as much as you can, look for interesting and new activities to do as a couple and simply have fun. It will resonate in the entire marriage if both of you are happy together.
3. Enjoy Your Time Apart
Of course, you both need some time alone, too. A healthy relationship means you are able to make your man happy, while still taking responsibility for your own happiness.
Being dependent on each other and rarely spending time with yourself won’t do you any good. You tend to lose yourself and your identity. It also makes you feel less safe and secure with your own self.
Slowly, the whole marriage defines you, instead of you defining how marriage is supposed to be. So, take some time off. Don’t expect your spouse to make you happy. On your own, do things that make you happy.
Your partner should support you, not hold you back for doing the things you love. The more you feel safe and intact with yourself, the more you will feel complete, happy and whole as a person.
4. One Word: Sex
Physical intimacy in relationship is important. Yes, sex is important. However, with kids, work and never-ending chores along the way, how can you still include sex in your routine?
The problem with most married couples is that they rarely find time to be intimate with each other. Take the case of Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel in their movie, Sex Tape.
It is a funny movie, but the purpose is to inform people that this is the reality of married life. Your sex life goes down the drain and you might wake up one day, your libido is missing in action.
This doesn’t mean you won’t do anything about it. Start and end your day, everyday, with a kiss. Allot a day every week where you two can get intimate, even if it means using kinky board games, texting something naughty and playing sexy games inside the bedroom.
5. Three Words, Eight Letters
It’s “I love you,” silly. Prior to marriage, you probably always took time to remind each other how much love there was in the relationship.
Now that you’re married, you rarely say the eight-letter word that is an affirmation of your feelings. You may not even kiss each other any longer. What do you expect, right?
If you seldom find yourself say, “I love you” to your man, now is the perfect time to do it and bring the love back.
Start and end your day by saying I love you to each other. Or leave notes saying how much you love him. Don’t forget to seal it with a kiss and make it a healthy marriage habit.
A piece of advice: Make sure that when you say it, you really mean it. Otherwise, this exercise is pointless.
6. Learn Through Conflict
A relationship without conflict is dull and boring. You need something to argue about because it teaches you both three important things every marriage needs: humility, acceptance and forgiveness.
A healthy relationship means in every conflict, you and your partner are able to confront your issues, talk about it as two mature individuals and resolve the conflict in such a way that it will work for both of you. You should be able to listen, without having to battle on who’s right and who’s wrong in the given scenario.
At the end of the day, look at problems as something you can learn from that could help improve your marriage.
7. Support Each Other
They say a secret to a successful life is having a supportive partner by your side. Married couples, or any other couples, should learn how to support each other in every endeavor.
A healthy relationship means you should, at all times, provide support and feel happy for the other one. This is a challenge, especially when one partner is not as successful as the other one,and then insecurities start to breed.
If you feel threatened by your partner’s successes and you like to think of ways to bring him down to level the playing field, then don’t be surprised if you find yourself filing for divorce. Marriage is always a celebration of both success and failure. Whatever you and your man are experiencing right now, make sure that you are always there for each other to give support.
8. Laugh More Often
Laughter is the best medicine, so they say. Laughter brings many health benefits, including stress reduction and lifts your spirits. This also explains why it makes you feel better after laughing your heart out.
Being married to someone means you’re in it for good. Share happy moments together and laugh as much as you can. It helps you cope and relieve any tension between you and your man. It also produces oxytocin, a bonding chemical, which makes laughter contagious.
Henry Ward Beecher once said, “A marriage without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs – jolted by every pebble in the road.” So, go ahead and laugh – together.
9. Date More Often
Can you remember those days when you would spend hours in front of the mirror, just to prepare for your date night?
The problem with many couples these days is that they are so preoccupied with being a parent or a business success, they forget that they are also husband and wife. Don’t be like those couples and instead, work to keep your marriage bonds tight.
A movie-dinner date is a good place to start again. You can try out other things in case you are feeling adventurous. If going out is an issue, then there are tons of date night ideas you could do at home. Having your own candlelight dinner, a movie marathon or a theme night is a good idea for stay-at-home date ideas.
10. Focus On The good Things
Admit it. It is easier for you to get mad when your partner forgets to flush the toilet or do the dishes than it is to say thank you for a job well done. This is because humans are built to focus more on the negative than the positive.
That should not be the case in your marriage. There should at least be five times more positive situations than negative ones. If this ratio drops and there are more negative interactions than good ones, then you are at a high risk of getting a divorce.
You don’t have to count everything manually. Keep tabs of your daily activities.
If you find yourself in a bad situation and you are not doing anything to give the positives a boost, then you might be in a situation you don’t want to be in, so be positive. There’s no point in focusing on the bad things anyway.
Again, there is no ultimate recipe for success in marriage. It all boils down on your willingness to make it work. Hopefully, these 10 tricks to achieve a longer and happier marriage will also make a difference for the long-term success of your marriage.