Happier Marriage: Ten Tips for Creating the Marriage of your Dreams

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Happier Marriage: Ten Tips for Creating the Marriage of your Dreams

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.

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