As a love and relationship expert here at Happily Committed, I’ve helped a lot of couples overcome their differences and work through problems together. Marriage isn’t easy! That’s why it’s never shameful or embarrassing to reach out for help from time to time. However, there’s one dangerous pattern I’ve seen play out time and time again: people waiting until their marriage is already on the verge of divorce to reach out for advice about getting it back on track. The problems in their relationship started small, then seemed to multiply and intensify until suddenly they found themselves knee-deep in constant arguments, a loss of attraction to each other, and even infidelity. Often, by the time we start our work together, this corrosive cycle has been going on for so long that my clients think it’s impossible for them to undo the damage. Luckily for them, I don’t see it that way! Time and time again, I’ve helped people find the tools they need to rebuild their marriages to be even stronger and happier than they were before.
Of course, it’s not easy. The longer marital problems have been going on, the more serious they become, so the more work it takes to fix them. When things are really bad, it can take an almost superhuman effort to get back on track. However, there is one powerful tool that you can use to tackle any marriage problem you can think of, and it involves far less work than the monumental effort needed to bring a marriage back from the brink.
As a love coach, I’ve worked with hundreds of people worldwide, so I know what works, and what doesn’t. That’s why I can confidently tell you that the effort it takes to prevent problems from spiraling out of control, or even from developing in the first place, is far less than the effort it takes to fix them once they do. By investing in a healthy day-to-day dynamic with your partner, your relationship can live up to its full potential, and you can spend your time together enjoying a happy marriage instead of working on healing an unhappy one. Of course, there are plenty of tried-and-true methods for maintaining a healthy foundation in your relationship, and as an experienced relationship coach I know which ones yield the best results. That’s why, in today’s article, I’d like to put together my advice for a happy marriage.
First, we’re going to go over some of the common misconceptions about when marriage advice is most useful, and then I want to share the TOP 5 tips I swear by for a happy marriage. Ultimately, I want this article to help you achieve the happiness your marriage deserves, whether you’re newlyweds, or you’ve been together for decades!
When is the best time to hear advice for a happy marriage?
If you’re reading this and you’ve been together with your partner for years, you may be thinking that it’s too late to prevent the issues that have become baked into your relationship. After all, things have settled down from the honeymoon period when you got together, so this must simply be the way it is, right? Well, no. That’s all part of a common misconception that advice for a happy marriage is only for newlyweds! In reality, getting tips for a healthy marriage is always beneficial, no matter how long you’ve been together. Here’s why:
Any relationship is going to have a natural ebb and flow as it goes on, and the way you feel about yourselves and each other is going to constantly change and develop throughout your lives. That’s because, as circumstances keep changing around us, our satisfaction and happiness is going to keep getting challenged. Absolutely none of this is to say that it’s normal to fall out of love, or that the spark is simply going to die after a while, or that things are going to keep getting harder and harder. All it means is that the dynamic that existed at the beginning of your relationship will keep evolving as time goes on, so putting effort into keeping up with it allows you to stay happier more consistently. It just takes some work, which is why it’s an important part of a happy relationship to take stock of how things are going from time to time, and to reorient yourselves if need be. Taking some good tips for a happy marriage can be a really great way of doing that. Trust me: whether you’re a newlywed, or you’ve been together for years, it doesn’t change how important it is to do this.
There’s one other thing I’d like to point out: although the best medicine for marital problems is prevention, that doesn’t mean that the advice I want to go over in this article is useless if you’ve already faced difficulties in your relationship. The reality is that the tricks and tips that keep a marriage healthy are the very same ones that can undo a lot of the wear and tear that comes with many years of being together. On top of that, good advice for a happy marriage can still prevent unforeseen problems even if you’ve been together for years! By reengaging with your partner and taking an active stance towards ensuring the health of your marriage, you may even discover some brewing issues that are still small enough to be addressed easily.
My TOP 5 Marriage Tips
There are plenty of ideas about how to improve the quality of your marriage out there, and often you’ll find that what works for someone else might not work for you. That’s completely normal, and it’s due to the fact that every single relationship is unique! However, there are certain tricks that help more people than others. Luckily, I have years of experience on this subject, so I’m confident in saying that the following 5 tricks are some of the most universally effective. Let’s take a look.
1. Maintaining Your Individuality: the Foundation of a Successful Marriage
One of the most common traps for married couples to fall into is losing sight of their own individuality. The reason this happens so often is because it’s so easy to do! You and your partner probably have plenty of mutual friends and shared interests, as well as schedules that are probably synchronized. This is especially true if you have kids or demanding jobs. Of course, you could hardly call yourself a couple if you barely did anything together. Spending your free time together and enriching your relationship with friends, family, and hobbies is very important for your marriage to thrive, but there’s a catch: it can’t come at the expense of your own identity.
Ultimately, the happiest marriages are when two individuals choose to spend their lives together. The reason is simple: it’s about maintaining the core of the dynamic that attracted you to each other in the first place. Losing sight of the things that make you “you” threatens that foundation attraction between you and your partner. After all, you fell in love with your partner’s identity when you met, and when the things that define that identity begin to fade, your connection to them can weaken. Letting your identity dissolve also threatens your personal happiness, confidence, and self-worth, which can have a corrosive effect on your relationships.
So, how do we avoid this? It doesn’t mean neglecting any of the things you enjoy doing with your partner. It’s simply about making sure to cultivate a personal life as well. This means making time for your own hobbies, personal and professional projects, and spending time with your own friends and family from time to time. It’s important to note that you should also encourage your partner to do the same! Being willing to spend time apart makes the time you spend together that much more special, reinforces the core of your relationship, and ultimately makes your marriage last.
2. Communication: the Best Way to Avoid Marriage Issues
Here at Happily Committed, we always point to communication as the key element of any successful relationship. Without it, all of the other advice in this article is ten times harder to achieve, simply because in a marriage you’re not meant to be doing any of this alone! Proper communication with your partner lets you express your needs, expectations, joys, and love for each other in a way that consistently reinforces the goals you have with each other. Remember what I said earlier about reorienting your relationship when it gets off track? I know that can sound daunting, but all it means is communicating your desires to your partner, listening when they communicate theirs, and making a plan to achieve them together.
The sad reality is that communication is not always easy, even when done right. For many of us with parents who didn’t get along, we never even learned the basics of proper communication! That makes it so much harder to express our needs to our partners, which in turn leads to those needs not being met, which over time can begin to have a corrosive effect on our marriages. The same can be true of your partner, and you might not even know it. It’s so important to be honest with yourself early on about how well you and your partner communicate, how willing you are to listen to each other, and whether or not you two communicate to solve disagreements or simply argue about who’s right. If you find you’re one of the countless people who suffers from weak communication in your marriage, I’d recommend prioritizing this over everything else! Once communication is in order, you’ll find that a lot of seemingly insurmountable problems in your marriage start looking a lot easier to solve. If you’re wondering where to start, feel free to click here and check out our course in communication.
3. A Good Environment: Letting Your Marriage Breathe
This may sound crazy, but imagine your marriage like a fish tank, and you and your partner as two fish swimming around in it. The quality of the water is everything, and when it’s clear, you’re both happy. But what happens when something toxic from the outside starts to pollute the water? You both begin to get sick, and want out.
Thinking of your marriage like an environment that surrounds you is important, because it helps you pinpoint what might be polluting it, and work to keep those pollutants out. This means keeping the negativity and stress that is bound to come up in your lives on the other side of the glass, where you and your partner can see it but aren’t affected by it. The inside of your little marital fish tank should be a space where you feel safe, respected, loved, and understood.
The biggest way to achieve this is taking care to not direct the stresses of everyday life at your partner. This allows you to cultivate a space where you can go to recharge and gain the strength to solve the problems you’re facing elsewhere.
4. Breaking Out of Routine: Your Key to a Happy Married Life
Often, marriages begin to stagnate when they start feeling boring and predictable, and unfortunately this is a very common complaint I see with my clients who are struggling with finding happiness in their marriages. The cause of relationships stagnating is simple: it’s the path of least resistance. You’re both busy, you create a routine that ‘works’, and after several years you’re feeling like you’ve lost something along the way.
I wouldn’t say that you can’t have any routine, because obviously life can’t be that unpredictable for most people with kids or jobs. However, keeping routine in check is extremely important for avoiding feelings of boredom or predictability. Try to think of new activities, projects, goals, weekend getaways, or any other fun activities that you and your spouse can share! Avoid things that you know you like, and try something you’ve never done before. Even if you try something you end up not liking, it’s a unique experience that often will have you laughing about it together and experiencing a new freshness to your relationship. There’s nothing to lose. If you’re looking for some ideas, check out our course in breaking routine.
5. Date Nights: The Simplest Tip for a Healthy Marriage
Finally, this is the simplest piece of advice, but it’s one of the most effective secrets of a successful marriage. Just go on dates! I can’t say it enough. I know, you might feel like you don’t have enough time, or that you spend plenty of time together anyway, but trust me. Studies have shown that going on specially-designated date nights at least twice a month can do wonders for the longevity of a relationship.
The reason that this is so important is that it’s a combination of the other points I’ve made above. It gives you a dedicated moment to hear what your partner has been up to lately and fall in love all over again, a chance to communicate your thoughts and feelings, an environment away from life’s stressors, and an opportunity to try something new regularly. It’s one of the most powerful ways of keeping your finger on the pulse of your marriage.
Maintaining Love, Respect, and Identity Throughout Your Married Life
Ultimately, all of these tips boil down to the same common ingredients: effort and consistency. Making deliberate choices that support the health and happiness of your marriage, as well as checking in from time to time to make sure you’re on track, is all you need to ensure a happy marriage for years and years to come. As is the case with any process, you’ll have periods where you get off course, and it’s important to be ready for those too! Instead of beating yourself up, just get back into these habits, and you’ll be fine. Like I mentioned at the beginning of this article, it’s never too late to start making an effort to ensure a healthy dynamic between you and your spouse.
With that being said, let’s go back over my 5 tips for a healthy marriage.
- Maintaining Your Individuality
- A Good Environment
- Breaking out of Routine
- Date Nights
I hope you’ve found these tips helpful! Like I mentioned earlier, in my experience these pieces of advice are good general rules for everyone who is married. However, every relationship is totally one of a kind, and for more specific marital issues you’re going to need specialized solutions. If you’re curious about learning more successful marriage tips that are hand-crafted to fit your unique situation, click here to reach out to me or any of the other coaches here at Happily Committed.
I’m wishing you and your spouse many years of love and success.
Your coach when you need advice for a healthy marriage,