In our post today we look at how to create happiness in marriage. Now, what I’m interested in, is practical, real-life tips that will help anyone reading this almost immediately. So I’ve identified seven real-life tips for creating happiness in marriage that can make all the difference when applied consistently.
But, before we look at what creates happiness in marriage, it’s important to understand that even the most perfect marriage will hit some snags here and there.
When it comes to relationships, no one is perfect, and that’s okay!
All people have their faults and bad days, and everyone should be allowed to make mistakes.
In fact, being in a relationship where you are not allowed to be yourself or make mistakes, is most likely a sign that something is wrong.
The good news is that if you’re having a tough time finding happiness in marriage, at the moment, you can improve how you and your partner feel.
All that’s required is learning and applying a few new strategies that have been proven to make all the difference.
The only prerequisite for most relationship strategies to work is for a couple to truly love each other and still be committed to making their relationship work.
Everything else can be figured out.
But without those two things, love and commitment, everything else becomes so much more complicated. Perhaps even impossible.
A couple that still has hope for their relationship, and wants to make it work, stands a much better chance at succeeding than a couple in a relationship filled with resentment, frustration, criticism, contempt and so on.
Very few strategies will work in that case.
So, if you know that you’re still in love with each other and want to work towards a life that’s as happy as it can possibly be, let’s look at seven real-life tips for creating happiness in marriage.
Be warned, however!
These following tips are not Rocket Science or even remotely complicated, but don’t underestimate their effectiveness when applied consistently in your marriage.
Step outside yourself.
This tip for creating happiness in marriage is all about empathy.
It’s always a good idea to consider what it’s like to walk a mile in your partner’s shoes.
As married couples, we often forget to consider the world from our partner’s point of view.
Especially when we’ve been together for a while.
During our dating years, we tend to be much more tuned into our partners, how they think and feel about things, than after a couple of years together.
There is no malice in this, it’s simply a matter of getting used to each other.
Unfortunately, this often times leads to taking each other for granted.
So, the first real-life practical step you can take to almost instantly start creating happiness in marriage is by starting to step outside yourself again.
Start being interested in seeing the world through your partner’s eyes for a change.
Even if means you disagree.
It’s not about agreement. It’s about empathy.
Next time you run into a conflict or disagreement, instead of concentrating solely on how you’re feeling, consider your partner’s feelings first.
By showing empathy and care for their point of view and feelings, you might actually just find them being much more open for yours as well.
Pick your battles.
Not every battle is worth picking.
Now, I appreciate that sometimes fights are inevitable because you’re two different human beings with two sets of opinions.
And that’s fine.
However, it’s important for creating happiness in marriage to determine whether your feelings are truly worth fighting for and where you can reach a compromise.
As couples we often times don’t fight for the right reasons. Not if we’re being honest.
Sometimes it’s more about our own egos and point of view, rather than the actual issue or principle.
And in that case, here’s a good rule of thumb to remember:
Winning at the expense of your partner means you’ve lost!
So, when you do end up picking a battle, make sure it is worth the effort and the eventual outcome.
Learn how to argue.
Some people believe that a lack of conflict is a sign of a healthy relationship.
I don’t believe it is.
If you never disagree about anything, there might be a real question whether you’re actually in touch with one another at all.
We also know that avoiding conflict or disagreements entirely, usually carry their own unhealthy consequences in the same way that fighting about everything does.
It might become a case where both partners are simply repressing their frustration or anger, with neither one getting what they need out of the relationship.
So on the surface, it might look like there is no conflict, but underneath it all, something toxic is festering and growing.
Rather than avoid conflict, it’s much more beneficial to learn how to disagree in a healthy way.
Here are three things to keep in mind:
- When you disagree, avoid saying hurtful things.
- If things are getting heated, take a break for a while and come back to the conversation when emotions aren’t running as high.
- Use phrases such as “I feel upset (hurt) when you do (say) this …” instead of lashing out with name calling (criticism) or accusing your partner of never doing anything right (contempt).
Spend some time apart.
Time alone is an important part of any marriage.
It’s important to keep your relationship out of the stress-zone by experiencing it as a small part of a much larger reality.
The best way to do this is having periodic breaks and time apart.
Without that, it becomes difficult to maintain a fresh perspective on your relationship in the scheme of bigger things.
However, broader experiences break the confinements of predictability and boredom that often times set into our relationships.
Of course, you enjoy your time together, but you also need to explore who you are as an individual.
Allow each other time to spend with friends and take time for yourself to enjoy an activity that you like and they don’t.
This is a very important and often overlooked tip for creating happiness in marriage.
Work on communication.
As couples, we need to constantly work on improving our communication.
And it doesn’t matter whether you believe you’re a good communicator or not, it really comes down to what your partner experiences.
When it comes to communication, the proof is literally in the tasting of the pudding.
Whatever you think about your ability to communicate is irrelevant if your partner feels that (1) they cannot talk to you, and (2) you don’t hear them.
Communication is only effective when both parties involved feel valued, heard, validated, and a sense of progress (the issue is being resolved).
Now, some couples naturally communicate well, but others won’t.
So if you feel that you’re not connecting as a couple at this stage, I would highly encourage you to make an effort to improve your communication.
But, it’s important to understand that men and women communicate differently.
We simply think about communication differently because we are biologically wired differently.
Communication, as in expressing ourselves verbally, serves a different purpose for men and women and also impacts us differently.
And as a Relationship Coach, I always try and teach my clients these differences as they go a long way in helping couples connect and communicate better in the long run.
So, if this is something you might be interested in, please reach out to me here and let’s schedule a time to meet.
If however, you want to go at this yourself, then I want to encourage you to simply start by taking time out of each day to really connect with your partner.
Talk about stuff that actually matters to you as a couple, instead of just turning on the TV.
Go out on dates.
This real-life practical tip for creating happiness in marriage is so simple that we usually completely underestimate its power.
It’s important that you go out with your partner on dates just like you used to when you first got together.
And yes, this means without the kids or other people.
I’ve come to notice in my coaching work with couples that many of them attest to a very active social life, but very little of it is spent by themselves.
Of course, there is a time and place to go out with your friends, but it can never substitute the time you must spend together, alone as a couple.
Relationships can stagnate very easily because people lay a foundation to grow apart.
Therefore, plan your dates as an important priority in your schedule.
If you don’t schedule it, you won’t do it.
Learn how to listen.
Listening in a relationship is like a superpower.
If couples can learn how to become more obsessed with truly understanding where their partners are coming from, rather than constantly trying to get their own points across, they might find creating happiness in marriage a very simple thing to do.
Let me ask you a very simple question:
When was the last time you listened to your partner?
I mean, really listened?
Do you remember the conversation you had last night?
Now, listening is much different from hearing.
Sometimes when you are struggling in your relationship that seems to have hit a significant obstacle you may find that inadvertently one of you stopped listening and was just hearing what the other person was saying.
Hearing means you heard the sounds coming out of your partner’s mouth but haven’t integrated it into your thoughts or considered what was said.
It’s a bit like having a very superficial conversation about the weather.
You heard that it would be raining in the afternoon but at no point did it register that the rain was coming and could impede your afternoon plans.
When you listen to someone you heard that it would rain and it registers that you can’t go out. You have both heard and listened to the conversation.
Many women have this concern or complaint about their guys because guys are less likely to enjoy a long drawn out conversation than a woman.
I talk all about it here in the interview Australian Sexologist, Isiah McKimmie, had with me on her podcast recently.
Women may enjoy a long conversation about a disagreement at work while a guy just wants the particulars before giving you advice about what to do.
She thinks he’s not listening and he thinks she’s too focused on the details (or confusing).
In reality, they are both right.
She has the need to talk out the details to make a plan or just to get it off her chest, while he doesn’t have that need.
He wants to help with a plan, but she may not want a plan.
Because he isn’t listening she stops talking and starts getting angry about his insensitivity.
Listening skills can become a real challenge to learn because it is so easy to fall victim to gender differences and different expectations.
However, by paying attention to your partner and learning the skill to listen well, you’ll start to see real changes in the relationship and may even learn a bit more about why they are dissatisfied.
And if you are the partner who is having trouble listening to what’s being said then talk with your partner about the difficulty you’re having.
The point is, simply knowing how to listen can make your relationship grow stronger.
Again, if you need help with this let me know here.
Take away …
Creating happiness in marriage doesn’t have to be hard.
If you have a foundation of love and commitment, you are 90% there.
The rest just becomes tactical and about consistency.
So, start by incorporating these seven real-life tips into your daily lives and work towards enjoying the benefits of a relationship that deepens as the years go by.
Live and love fully my Friend!