During my time as a love and relationship expert here at Happily Committed, I’ve seen every kind of relationship you can imagine. Everyone who comes to me wants to know how to make things work between them and their partner, but the thing is, there isn’t a universal answer! What clicks in one relationship may not work in another, which is why it can be so hard to learn the art of a good marriage. But, don’t get discouraged! There are some core things that every good marriage has in common, and it is absolutely possible to learn them. By focusing your efforts on a couple key things, you can avoid plenty of issues that plague other relationships, and keep your marriage happy and healthy for years to come.
Those tips to a successful marriage are our speciality here, which is why for today’s article I wanted to compile the most powerful tricks and tools that you can use to keep the romance flourishing between you and the person you love. I’ve seen these methods work countless times, so if you want to know how to make a marriage work, I can confidently tell you to keep reading.
The Art of a Good Marriage
Like I said, the most important thing to keep in mind is that the art of marriage isn’t a universal one. However, simply knowing this can already be useful for you as you plan for your future with your partner! Here’s why: every relationship has its own language, and it takes time for you both to learn how to speak it. So take the pressure off of yourself to get things right straight away! This is a long process, and once you start looking at it with that time frame in mind, you’ll see that the consistent effort to learn the language of your own relationship is much more important than the little mistakes you may make along the way. I’ve seen plenty of couples get jammed up by early, simple errors, and that’s why I’m telling you this: no one hands you the keys to a successful marriage at your wedding. You and your partner find them together, piece by piece, over time. Don’t sweat it if you’re not sure what you’re doing just yet!
Hard Work: The Misunderstood Key to a Happy Married Life
If you browse the internet for happy marriage tips, you’ll see a common refrain again and again: “marriage is hard work.” Often, this almost feels like a threat! “Buckle up, this is going to be a bumpy ride!” It sounds as if someone, jaded by years of unhappy marriage, is telling you to brace yourself for the inevitable collapse of your honeymoon period and to prepare for the bitter struggle to keep divorce at bay. Well, don’t get discouraged, because that’s not how a healthy marriage feels. While it’s absolutely true that marriage is hard work, all of these warnings always seem to leave out the context: the work you’ll be doing goes into maintaining something that keeps you happy, safe, and warm. It’s not unrewarding hard labor, or constant battle against disastrous outcomes! It’s much more like the work that goes into building your own house. Of course it’s not effortless, and you’ll have to be proactive about spotting problems and addressing them as they come up, but it’s one of the most rewarding endeavors you’ll ever experience. Most importantly, at the end of the day, you get to live happily inside that house. So, with that being said, let’s look at some of the things worth focusing your efforts on as you move forward:
”To Love is Not To Possess”: Maintaining your Individuality
In my experience, one of the most common reasons that marriages fall apart is that the romance at the core of the relationship has simply died out. When things start to “fade”, it can be hard to understand why, and often we simply accept that love is fickle and unpredictable. However, I don’t think that’s necessarily the case. Often the real reason a married couple loses interest in each other, even after years spent together, is that they’ve neglected to maintain their sense of individuality throughout the relationship.
Here’s how this works: when you first met your partner, you were both whole without each other. You gave each other something to fall in love with: your whole self! True romance is predicated on that sense of emotional fulfillment, of finding something in someone else that you don’t have within yourself. Then, as soon as you get together, you run the risk of falling into a trap that a lot of couples run into: As they engage more and more with each other, especially during the honeymoon phase, the relationship starts to overshadow their own interests, goals, and dreams. In other words, they stop bringing their whole selves to the table, and instead become one half of a whole within the relationship. This isn’t noticeable in the beginning, when passions and excitements are high, but later on down the line it starts to become apparent that something’s missing. “He’s just not the same person I married,” which is something I’ve heard a lot, is basically a reflection of this process. If you want to know how to make your marriage work, you have to stop this from happening.
So how do you avoid it? Maintain your individuality and independence, and really encourage your partner to do the same. Don’t let your relationship possess you. See your friends without each other, pursue your own goals actively, and don’t let the relationship keep you from things that are close to your heart. This is easier said than done: after all, you’re in love, so it’s very tempting to tell your friends you’ll see them later and stay in for a cozy evening with your partner. But you have to fight that urge, because you’ll find that by doing the things you love independently, you’ll somehow love each other more. This seems counterintuitive, but trust me, it’s what makes a good marriage!
What Makes a Good Marriage? Knowing How to Communicate
In virtually every collection of successful marriage tips that I’ve seen, there is always a note about knowing how to communicate. We hear the mantra of good communication so often that it’s tempting to simply roll our eyes at it, especially when we believe that there’s nothing wrong with how we communicate in the first place. I agree that this seems obvious, but only because there’s one vital detail that seems to always get left out: nobody knows how to communicate inherently. Absolutely nobody is born with good communication skills!
The truth is that you have to learn good communication as a skill, in the same way that you’d learn carpentry or cooking. So many people don’t know that you have to learn, practice, and sometimes even relearn communication throughout your life! So, do you want to know how to have a good marriage? It’s simple: put in the work to learn how to communicate with your partner, and once you do, keep practicing. Be open, be honest, and make an effort to listen actively. You’ll save yourself so many arguments that could have easily been avoided. I don’t mean that you’ll simply avoid misunderstandings! Good communication skills are how you get out of one of the most dangerous situations that a marriage can face: an argument between two people with valid feelings who can’t get the other to see their point of view. When you can’t express yourself, and you can’t be heard, it’s easy to get frustrated and angry. That’s when words you’ll regret start to appear, and cracks can form in your marriage.
A solid sense of communication between you and your partner is the bedrock of a successful marriage. It’s your strongest tool to overcome any challenge you might face. Like I said, it’s not inherent to anyone: it’s something we all have to learn. Here at Happily Committed, we know the power of communication, which is why we’ve put together a course that will teach you the basics. Click here to check it out!
If you want a Successful Marriage, Routine is your Enemy
Time and time again, I’ve heard the same heartbreaking words from my clients: “I just don’t know what happened.” Things seemed fine, until suddenly the bottom seems to have fallen out of the relationship, and the damage is far too severe to fix. Tragically, there are plenty of problems that can erode a marriage from the inside out without you realizing until it’s hopelessly too late. The good news is that, if you learn how to spot these kinds of problems, you can address them long before they cause serious harm. Learning how to do this is one of the biggest secrets of a successful marriage, which is why I want to talk about the biggest relationship-killer to keep an eye out for: routine.
Routine seems innocuous, and even natural, at first. As you and your partner settle into your marriage, things slow down, and you both start to organize your lives into routines that keep you stable and secure. That’s normally how marriage works, and there’s nothing wrong with it. However, somewhere in that process, there’s a dangerous trap: you risk not bringing new stimulus into the relationship. In the absence of new experiences, new things to talk about, and even new challenges, boredom and even resentment can start to grow. It takes a long, long time until those things make themselves felt, but once they do, you have a serious problem on your hands.
The truth is that for your marriage to work, you both have to feed your mind. Fuel it, nurture it, whatever metaphor you want to use – at the end of the day, you and your partner need some sense of stimulus and forward momentum to keep things interesting and engaging. The human mind is naturally curious, and naturally in search of new experiences and ideas. You have the choice to experience new things alongside your partner, which will make your relationship even stronger as you provide each other with the stimulus that our brains need. Or, if you’re not careful, you can stay passive and stagnate, which will inevitably spark the urge to leave in search of something better. The keys to a happy marriage are to choose the former.
Keep in mind, this doesn’t mean that you two have to throw your schedules to the wind, and live completely unpredictable and erratic lives. Nobody is asking you to sell your possessions and hitchhike across South America. This is as simple as making sure to try new things consistently, and resisting the urge to stick with what you know. This can be new activities, restaurants, places to travel (even locally.) A good tip is this: if it makes you a little nervous, it’s worth doing. If you take a look at the happiest long lasting marriages, you’ll notice that both partners seem to be full of interesting stories to tell. They didn’t gather those stories by staying home!
How to Make a Marriage Work
At the end of the day, the secret to a happy marriage is simple: active maintenance. Keeping the flame alive takes a lot of effort and a lot of time! If you want things to succeed for the long term, you have to stay proactive, and avoid settling into any kind of complacency about your relationship. Don’t let things slide, because the little problems you ignore can build up. Don’t let things slowly stagnate, because your relationship can become lifeless if you don’t nurture it. Put in the work to communicate properly, make the extra effort to support your partner even when you have a lot on your plate, and take care to bring new experiences to your marriage. Most importantly, putting in the work extends far beyond the relationship itself: you have to make sure to take care of yourself, so that you can always bring your best to the table. Even a happy married life comes with some inevitable challenges, and finding the patience and willpower you need to get through them together isn’t always easy. Making an effort to be your best self will give you what you need to overcome anything life might throw your way.
With that being said, let’s recap the most important ways you can make your marriage last.
- Remember, “to love is not to possess.” Nurture each other’s individuality and independence, because when you’re both at your best, you’ll be feeding the fire at the core of your romance.
- Knowing how to communicate is the core of a good marriage. Good communication skills aren’t innate to anybody, no matter what you may hear. You have to learn how to do it, and you have to practice it if you don’t want that skill to fade over time. And remember, every relationship has its own language. Put in the effort to learn how to speak it.
- Routine is the foe of a successful marriage. Don’t allow your relationship to slip into complacency and monotony. Like a bad termite infestation, these two things will hollow out the foundations of your relationship. If you want the best for your marriage, go the extra mile to keep new adventures coming.
Here at Happily Committed, we’ve made it our life’s work to study romance, love, and relationships, so take it from me that these happy marriage tips are the most tried-and-true ones out there. Of course, every relationship is unique, and if you need guidance with some of the specific challenges that you may be facing, one of the healthiest things you can do is ask for help! Remember, you can always reach out to me or any of the other coaches here, and together we can help you craft an action plan to tackle any kind of love or relationship problem you have. Click here to reach out to us!
As this article comes to a close, I just want to reiterate that being proactive and making an effort is the surest sign that you have what it takes to make your marriage succeed. The fact that you’re here, reading this article and learning how to be a better partner, says a tremendous amount about your character. You can do this.
I wish you all the best in life and love.
Your coach when you want to learn the art of marriage,