8 Tips For a Successful Marriage (Or To Get Back On Track!)
Marriage is under attack as couples endure more pressure today than ever, especially in these shaky economic times.
Think about the different kinds of insecurities a married couple faces:
Employment uncertainty as the economy teeters on a recession (some experts claim we’re already in one), with fears of entering a prolonged era of stagflation (rising prices, unemployment, and inflation).
Housing uncertainty because of out-of-control rents and unaffordable homes – especially starter homes.
Increasing prices and costlier bills like credit cards because of rising interest rates and inflation.
Food insecurity because the grocery budget doesn’t stretch as far at the market anymore.
Healthcare bills and expensive prescriptions strain bank accounts.
Not to mention how debt is piling up because people are using credit cards to buy essentials.
As if marriage wasn’t already difficult!
Oh, and let’s not forget we just survived a global pandemic – and are still dealing with its effects.
These stressors can strain even the healthiest marriages, causing thoughts of divorce.
The United States has the third largest divorce rate in the world, and although divorce rates are falling, divorces among those 50+ are rising.
Is happily ever after possible? Or just a fantasy for romance novels?
Here are seven things you can do to have a successful marriage (or get it back on track) so you can be one step closer to your fairy-tale romance.
1. Stop stressing over the small stuff.
So what if your partner leaves their clothes lying around or doesn’t shut the cupboard doors or leaves empty bottles or cups lying around? You have more important things to worry about than those little irritants.
Choose your battles.
These little things are easy to work out. Chances are you knew about them before you got married anyway.
2. Start making BIG decisions together.
As partners, discuss and agree upon what “major” means.
No one person should control the finances; you both have a say in the matter.
Make big decisions together because your marriage is a partnership. Besides, making decisions together reduces arguing and conflict.
3. Start maintaining your marriage.
Make marriage maintenance a priority.
For instance, if you need couples therapy, get it.
If you’ve been skipping date nights or quality time alone, start.
If you’ve been collapsing on the couch at night comatose in front of Netflix at the expense of nurturing each other’s emotional and physical needs, stop it.
Both of you must maintain your relationship for a successful marriage. If you don’t, you’ll drift and grow apart until you don’t recognize each other anymore.
4. Prioritize time together.
Time together must be a priority; put it on your calendars. Say “no” to other things and people.
Your relationship requires regular and meaningful time, not just once a week but daily. Spend quality time interacting with each other every single day to keep from drifting apart and losing interest in each other.
Stay connected. You don’t have to have a date every day, but you need time together, even if it’s an evening walk or conversation; just the two of you.
Not making time for each other is a red flag. If you and your spouse would rather spend time with other people or do other things than spend it with each other, something is wrong.
5. Agree to disagree.
There’ll be issues you and your spouse don’t see eye to eye on; hopefully, they will be few.
The occasional disagreement isn’t a big deal as long as you agree on most of your core values, standards, and beliefs.
Disagreeing on major issues creates problems and potential compatibility issues, but that’s something you worked through before getting married, right?
Having differing perspectives can be healthy. So, agree to disagree when possible.
6. Be humble and admit defeat.
Marriage is argumentative and stressful when one spouse always has to be right.
Even if you are right, why damage your marriage over silly disagreements?
Take the high road and be humble; accept “defeat” sometimes, even when you’re right.
7. Don’t stop being passionate.
Challenge the idea that passion fades over time by intentionally keeping the fires of romance kindled.
Make emotional and physical intimacy a priority. Compliment each other; give each other your best as you did when dating; hold hands, embrace, kiss, send flirty texts, and be playful.
Have fun with each other!
Do whatever it takes to keep meeting each other’s needs because if you don’t, someone else will.
Being unappreciative and taking each other for granted are nails in the coffin.
A passionless, intimacy-less, joyless marriage isn’t a marriage; it’s a prison sentence.
Do whatever you must to keep your passion for each other burning.
The problem is that once we “catch” the person we’ve been pursuing, we get lazy and stop marketing ourselves to them. We get lazy, unappreciative, and let ourselves go because they said “I do” and have to love us now. Uh, no, they don’t.
Imagine what kind of marriage you’d have if you treated your lover like the sun rose and set on them.
Make passion a top priority; passion is more, much more, than sex.
The fire will go out if you let it, so don’t let it; if it does, ignite it again with a few romantic sparks.
8. Don’t train or change your partner.
Appreciate your spouse for who and what they are.
Don’t try to change them into your image.
And don’t try to train them either.
Here’s a harsh truth: You shouldn’t have married if you were uncomfortable with who they were. Some spouses think that once they “catch” their partner and seal the deal with an exchange of “I dos,” they will change them.
That’s not how it works. All that does is drive each other apart.
Trying to change or train your spouse sends the message that they’re not good enough for you – that they don’t measure up – that you don’t love or want them just as they are.
To make your marriage successful, don’t try to change or train your spouse; this means no ultimatums, manipulation, coercion, or sneaky attempts at controlling their behavior.
Quite frankly, either you love them, or you don’t. Period.
Suppose they’ve drastically changed over the years for some reason, and now you have significant disagreements over core values, standards, and beliefs. In that case, it’s an issue that you need to work through with a therapist or marriage counselor.
For instance, this is a drastic example to make a point, if your spouse now believes and is campaigning for an open marriage, that’s unacceptable, and you should stand up for your convictions and beliefs and enter marriage counseling to work through whatever issues have given rise to this sudden change.
But, as a general rule, don’t waste your time trying to train or change your spouse.
Investing time, love, and energy into your marriage regularly (like every day) is necessary.
Embrace the challenge of loving your spouse anew every day.
Being willing to set your egos aside and nurturing your relationship daily is key to having a successful marriage, or getting back on track.
You and your spouse can work through almost any problem in your relationship if you’re willing to put in the effort and refuse to settle for anything less than your best marriage.