Everyone wants a happier marriage yet few people know what to do to achieve it. So many times people look to their spouse to "complete" them instead of looking inside themselves to figure out how they can help their relationship thrive. Here are some ideas to get you started on the road to a happier marriage.
1. Overlook your spouse's faults like you overlook your own. If you are honest with yourself, you will admit you have faults, just as everyone does. If you're really honest with yourself, you will admit that you often overlook or dismiss your bad habits, while criticizing your spouse's bad habits. Decide today to go easy on your spouse. Let go of the need to correct his faults and you may find him less critical of yours.
2. Decide what kind of day you want to have, and then create it. Yes, you can do this. A rainy day doesn't make you have a "bad day." You decide how to deal with things that are out of your control, like the weather, other people's driving, your boss's micromanaging, etc. You can choose misery or you can choose peace of mind.
It begins with what you tell yourself. For example: if it's raining in the morning you can fret and tell yourself, "This is going to be a terrible day. I'll get wet, people will drive like maniacs, and I'll be late for work. This day is ruined." Guess what? You're right. Try this instead: "I am grateful for the rain. I'll leave early for work and I'll drive carefully. I can put on my favorite music and I'll choose calm. This is a great day." Your spouse will thank you when you decide what kind of day to have and her "bad mood" won't bother you!
3. A kiss on the cheek at an unexpected time can create goodwill. If you have a habit of greeting your spouse with a friendly, "Where were you? Why didn't you call? You said you were going to be here by 6:00," take a deep breath and hold that thought. Try this instead: "I'm so glad to see you. How was your day?" then kiss him on the cheek and enjoy the rest of your evening together. Maybe your spouse will think you've gone crazy, but it will definitely be a change from the usual evening sparring match.
4. Always greet your spouse with a smile. Remember why you married her and let that warm feeling create your smile. Smiles are contagious; you're likely to get one back when you practice this. When he calls you, answer the phone with a smile. You will feel differently when you smile and your spouse can hear your smile in your voice.
5. Add to this a bonus. Smiles and hugs go together like salt and pepper. We need human contact with the one we chose to marry. Hugs can melt away resentment and generate compassion. Virginia Satir, one of the key figures in the development of family therapy, declared that we need twelve hugs a day to maintain our mental health. How many hugs are you giving each other each day?
6. Always be the first to say, "I'm sorry," even if you believe you were right (especially if you believe you are right). When you believe you are right and you're willing to create distance between you and your spouse to hold onto your "rightness" you damage your relationship. Ask yourself if you want to win the argument or win the relationship. You can't do both.
7. Make a daily habit of remembering what made you fall in love with him. If you only focus on your partner's faults, you will quickly "fall out" of love. You can decide to focus on what you like and appreciate your spouse. This is not something to keep to yourself. Appreciate her and tell her. Daily. Appreciation has a wonderful benefit of coming back to you. People will do more for you when they realize you truly appreciate them and what they do.
8. Make blame an obsolete concept. It has no place in your marriage. Blame is so dangerous to the health of your marriage. Blame says you are a victim and your happiness is totally dependent on your spouse doing everything just the way you want it. Choose to take responsibility for what you can control: your own behavior. Before a blaming statement leaves your mouth, ask yourself what you can do to help your marriage.
9. Total honesty is not helpful. Discretion is better. Focusing on the good things you can say to each other is best. I think some people use the phrase "I'm just being honest" to say some pretty ugly things to each other. Sometimes people say they're being honest, but they are really only expressing their opinion. Before you decide to say that "honest" thing to your spouse, think about how it will impact your relationship. Can you phrase it differently? Does it need to be said? Is it just your opinion? Think about it.
10. Ask yourself, "What can I do today that will bring me closer to the one I married?" Then do it. Keep it simple, using the examples above or creating your own. You have a creative mind and you can make this a daily habit. You will reap the benefits of a closer, happier marriage. Keep up these habits, building on them, and you can create the marriage of your dreams.
This article has been greatly expanded into a half hour audio and e-book. Learn more about it here: http://trueloverelationshipcoach.com/tentips.html