4 Secrets Everyone In Happy Marriages Know

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smiling couple posing for photo

We all need a little marriage advice now and then if we want to build healthy relationships as married couples.

The first truth that I embraced in my marriage was building a strong foundation from the beginning.

Life is unpredictable. Love and marriage are often intertwined. However, a strong foundation is what allows a good marriage to remain standing in the midst of unseen storms.

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Building a foundation can take time and patience but I’ve learned the only way to achieve it is with respect — for yourself and for your spouse.

I don't know about you, but I was a little naive when I got married. I just assumed that our love for each other would override everything, even the tough times we weren't expecting. The Beatles song, "All You Need Is Love", is what I was banking on until I realized that wasn't the case.

I found out early on that a healthy marriage needs a lot more than just love to withstand the test of time.

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When you approach things in a childlike manner, things can get

Learning how to have a healthy relationship takes a lot of work. And respect for each other is what can make it or break it.

Respect comes into play when we acknowledge other people’s needs in addition to our own. It doesn’t mean we always handle every situation perfectly, but it does allow for intentional efforts to be made in speaking, acting, and reacting.

Respecting the person you love is one of those game-changers. That doesn't mean my married life was perfect after that. It takes time to break old habits and create new ones with other people in mind.

Respect had to come from both of us. However, it was the underlying foundation to who we wanted to become as a couple, and model for our family. Once we were both on board, it started to create a trickle effect. We began to appreciate each other more by being honest, sincere, and most importantly, willing to change our old selfish ways of thinking.

In addition to respect, here are 4 secrets everyone in a happy marriage knows:

1. Have realistic expectations

There is no quicker way to set your marriage up for failure than carrying around unrealistic fantasies of what we think marriage should look like. Lose the comparisons, especially now with social media, when all we see is everyone's "highlight reel". 

What we don't see is all the work that went into that one happy picture that was posted. Unless you've walked a day in the shoes of the couple you may envy, you have no idea what their everyday life and relationship are like.

Be happy with what you have and invest your time in making your marriage better instead of comparing yours to someone else's.

2. Be willing to forgive 

As I've gotten older, this one has become easier to do. But when I was younger, I relished hanging on to my anger and hurt mainly over dumb stuff.

Don't do it! It takes more energy and effort to be angry with your spouse than it does to forgive them. It's most important to admit our own mistakes first.

Most times, I've contributed something to a situation that required forgiveness. No one is perfect!

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3. Prioritize your marriage 

Your marriage should be at the top of the list. For whatever reason, my husband and I are both wired to give ourselves and our time to others without evening thinking about it. Although it is great to be available for others, we sometimes found ourselves giving more to others than we did to each other.

It is important to set boundaries so we aren't left depleted by the most important person in our life.

4. Be honest

The truth in all forms should be the simplest thing and yet most times it is the most complicated.

Being honest about my feelings was difficult for me and I felt like if I expressed them I would seem weak. Instead, they stayed inside and festered. Not addressing them at the proper time created unnecessary tension and feelings that boiled over into something they didn’t need to be. For a stubborn, prideful woman like myself, just be honest.

Honesty about our feelings is not a disease or weakness! (I have to keep telling myself that even 22 years later!)

Marriage is one of the hardest and greatest things I've ever experienced in my life. It has produced children, endured pain, and has allowed me to have a relationship based on faith, humility, respect, and love.

And, like most great things in life, a great marriage needs to be approached with a willingness to embrace what will make it succeed.

Once we develop a mindset of thinking beyond just ourselves, relationships naturally become stronger and regardless of what it endures, they will have been made to last.

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Amy Debrucque is an inspirational writer, encourager, survivor, and believer.