Recently, we (my husband and I) have really started to appreciate just how much easier marriage is now versus when we were first married (10 years ago). After a recent conversation, it became quite clear that this is only because a few things have been ticked off the checklist that make all marriages just a tad easier.
Don’t have an unnecessary argument.
I’d love to fuss about the dishes, but in reality all that would do is tick everyone off and ruin the evening. He has gotten to where he notices I’m swamped and pitches in. Maybe this should just be a “you catch more flies with honey” approach.
It pains me to type that out at all, but we have to be honest. That’s something that you can’t deny each other. And without going into more detail that I can handle … your husband’s mood is heavily affected by this. (It’s literally killing me to address this at all lol!)
Find a couple that’s been married longer and has it together and copy them.
We’ve always been on the lookout for an older mentor type couple we can have coffee with to pick their brains and just figure out how they tick. We’re always on the lookout for how we can improve and what would make our family work better … i.e. happier mom and dad make a happier family. This has included anything from eating dinner at the table to making sure we are affectionate in front of the kids. We just pick and choose from every successful marriage we know and copy them.
Get on the same page with money.
This is an easy fight for many couples. The best way to keep from fighting about it or having this turn into a problem is to agree on how money will be spent. Bills first, and then everything else. When it comes to spending on items outside of grocery, those personal use technically luxury items, anything over about 10 bucks is okay-ed with the other person. This might sound annoying, but it does 2 things: 1) You have a sounding board that will stop you from unnecessary spending and 2) you are making your spouse feel like you value their input and respect the hard work that goes into earning money. If I’m spending money on something I want and even sometimes need, I run it past him and at the same time, he does the same to me. There is never a purchase larger than 20 bucks that isn’t discussed. Even if that discussion is just “Hey I’m gonna buy XYZ.” And your spouse says “Okay.” If budgeting is your problem … everyone swears by Dave Ramsey.
Don’t walk away from an argument.
We’ve learned to talk things in circles if that’s what it takes for someone to see the other side or even give in and apologize. The sun never goes down on an argument, even if that means we are hardly getting sleep that night.
Certain arguments are never discussed with other people.
Venting and complaining about my spouse to someone else in certain disagreements is not even remotely helpful. Some matters have to be kept private. Think of it this way, you might forgive them but whoever you told isn’t as quick to forgive and the problem will then linger much longer.
Go to church as a family.
No one holds you as accountable as God. The more the focus is about “us” and not the individual, the better. God first, spouse second, kids third, everyone else is last. If we are focusing on how God wants our relationship with Him and then each other to be, then not much can go wrong.
Granted, life takes work. Marriage takes work. My grandfather said it to me best:
Marriage has ups and downs. It isn’t always going to be up or down, but you really have to hang around and work at things to enjoy the good times.