All that dancing, laughter and weddings are a lot of fun, but being married isn’t always a piece of cake. There’s actually a lot of work that goes into living “happily ever after,” so whether you’ve been married for years or just tied the knot, we asked the experts what couples can do to have a happy marriage. Follow their helpful tips for a stronger, healthier and yes…more blissful bond.
First of all, even happy couples argue
No marriage is happy all of the time. Like all relationships, there are ups and downs. But when you do fight, happy marriages listen to each other’s point of view, recognize when the argument is going off the rails, and make the necessary repairs. So if you and your spouse sometimes argue, or are going through a rough patch, this does not necessarily mean you are in an unhappy marriage. In fact, it probably means you’re normal.
Focus on each other’s strengths.
It’s not always easy to see past minor annoyances, and at times you may even hate your partner. But to have a happy marriage you have to accept your partner’s strengths and weaknesses and be able to set realistic expectations. And when we help our partner use their strengths we experience more relational satisfaction.
Don’t expect your partner to complete you
Reality check: Jerry Maguire is a movie character. When he announced “You complete me,” it sure was romantic—but it doesn’t fly in the real world.
But still, do things together. And have fun together
While it’s important to not fully depend on your partner in order to maintain a happy marriage, it’s also necessary to share common experiences.
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When couples share a unique passion or learn a skill together—such as take a cooking class, or tennis lessons—they evolve together. According to Morris, “Happy couples have a zest for life with each other. Whether it’s a love of travel, a strong desire to build a family together, or a dedication to a common cause, these experiences enrich their relationship.”
Choose to be attracted to your spouse
Do you get to decide if you think your partner is hot? Believe it or not, yes. Attraction to your spouse is a decision that you have the power to make throughout your marriage.
Laugh with each other
Life is stressful, so it helps if you can find lightness even when you’re in the thick of it. “Typically when a couple has humor, it means they have perspective,” says Morris who recommends couples find laughter in both good and bad times.
Be kind to one another
"It’s so important to be respectful and understanding of your spouse. If you are critical and judgmental it usually ends in defensiveness and resentment. So to keep things happy within the marriage, avoid attacking your partner’s character when you're upset.
Celebrate small, good, moments
Most of us know that it’s important to be there for our partner during tough times. It’s just as important to acknowledge the good times, too. In doing so, you'll show gratitude for the happy moments in your marriage.
Appreciate each other
When you're with someone all the time, it's easy to take them for granted. If we don't feel valued we may become resentful and grow apart.
Accept and expect change
Pawelski believes that to be truly happy in marriage, couples must be willing to grow and adapt. Our needs are always changing, people are growing, and relationships evolve.
Because in successful marriages, each person supports the other so that they can grow to become the best person they can be, and that means maturing as individuals and together as a team. Until death does you part.