BY: Denise Young, ED.S
Relationships are hard to maintain and keep together, but marriage is another ball game. Most of the time one or both of the spouses starts to decrease in the romance and stop doing the things that got you interested in them in the very start. Being real and being honest about things that you are not doing can save your marriage and kick start it back into the right direction. What do you think is a successful marriage? A marriage that you do not argue or communicate much. The fact that you are together a long time, or a marriage that you say you love each other every day.
Here are 15 Tips for a Successful Marriage that I found that may help your marriage stay on the right track.
Make your partner a priority
Every marriage is different, but the best marriages all share love, respect and joy. Maintaining a healthy and vibrant relationship isn’t always easy, but there are several things you can do to keep yours on track. These 15 tips will help your marriage thrive.
Remember when you were first married, and you were each other's whole world? That feeling isn't sustainable forever, but don't let your partner slip to the bottom of your priority list after kids, job, friends and hobbies. Remind your spouse -- often -- that he or she is important to you.
Keep up your appearance
Think back to when you and your spouse first met: would you have shown up for a date in a stained tee and stretched out sweatpants? The marriage license doesn't mean you can let yourself go. Show your spouse the kind of respect you'd show a coworker by looking your best, even if you're just lounging around the house.
Remember to say thank you
When you've been married awhile, it's easy to take for granted the nice things your spouse does: a cup of coffee made just the way you like it; a gentle neck rub when you've had a stressful day. Remember to thank each other for the little things; it will help you both feel more appreciated.
Keep the romance alive
Work, kids and other responsibilities can make you feel tired, and less inclined toward romance and sexual connection. But passion can be the glue that holds a marriage together during difficult times, so don't let it slip away. Make time for romantic dates and sexual play. It's important.
Give each other some space
This may sound counterintuitive when we're talking about bringing couples closer together, but it's important to remember that you are both unique individuals with different thoughts, feelings and interests. Cultivating and appreciating your individuality will make you more interesting to each other, and to yourselves.
Make time for fun
All work and no play make Jack and Jill dull marriage partners. Make time for play time -- with the family and just the two of you -- and you'll get a lot more enjoyment out of life and your marriage
Live your own life
With all the demands that other people and responsibilities make on your time, it's easy to put your own needs on the back burner. Make an effort to cultivate personal interests and hobbies outside your marriage. You'll both feel happier, more vibrant, and more engaged in life.
Love the one you’re with
Aside from being a great Stephen Stills song from the 70's, this is good advice. You fell in love with the personality and qualities your partner had when you met, and it's unfair to expect your spouse to change now that you're married.
Ask for what you want
Some people believe that long-term partners should be able to read each other's minds, but that's unrealistic. If you have a specific request -- a hug, a listening ear, or a particular brand of cologne for your birthday -- ask for what you want. Don't make your partner guess.
Make time for free time
We all know the effects of overscheduling: a higher level of stress. And stress leads to short tempers, frustration, fatigue and eventual burnout. Put aside time when you can both relax, whether you're enjoying an activity like walking, reading or biking, or simply watching a beautiful sunset. The important thing is to relax, and to do it together.
Believe in your spouse, and show it
It's lovely to know that someone is on your side, especially when you've made a mistake. As a loving spouse, be generous with support. Offer a shoulder to cry on, a listening ear, and give advice only when it's requested. Just as you do with your children, remind your partner of his or her wonderful qualities, and why they are the person you love and have chosen to spend your life with.
Share your thoughts and feelings
If a problem crops up in your marriage (as it inevitably will) talk about it right away; letting a problem fester only makes it harder to solve down the line. Get in the habit of checking in with each other, and schedule time alone for undisturbed heart-to-heart talks.
Be loyal to your spouse
The person you chose to marry deserves your respect, and the respect of others, so don't gossip, ridicule or complain about your partner at parties or family gatherings. If there's a problem, speak first to your spouse. Then, if you need to talk to someone, choose a trusted friend or counselor.
Let small things go
Have you heard the expression, "Choose your battles?" That's often applied to parenting, when you're deciding which of 10 irritating kid behaviors you want to correct. But it's equally applicable to life with your spouse. If your partner does or says something that hurts your feelings or creates a problem, by all means say something. But if he doesn't make oatmeal the way you would, or she forgets to put the screwdriver back where it belongs, maybe it's best to let that go.
Share the responsibility of making a home, and a marriage
The wedding ceremony isn't the end result of a courtship, it's the beginning of a partnership that will be challenging and rewarding in equal measure. Marriages are living things that need to be cultivated. That takes intention and teamwork. Think of yourselves as partners in the creation of your home and your life together, and take equal responsibility for making your marriage thrive.