Marital Monday: 7 Tips For a Happy Marriage

Recently I came across this article on the kidspot website and wanted to share it with you for this week’s Marital Monday.

7 Tips for a Happy Marriage

By Joanna Bounds

Even though we all hope our marriage will last forever, a third of marriages end in divorce, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. “Tough spots will always occur – one partner might get sick, get the sack, or need to attend to a dying parent,” says psychologist Meredith Fuller, explaining that every union will go through happy and hard times. A long-lasting marriage needs commitment, good communication and a good dose of love and affection. Try these seven tips for a happy marriage:

Create your own rituals

It could be as simple as making your husband a coffee in the morning while he lets you lie in at the weekend. Whatever you choose, a ‘couples’ ritual is a way to connect with your partner in the madness of a busy life. “The comfort of little rituals are trust giving, safety maintaining, and love enhancing – these things help us get through the day in the outside world,” says Meredith. “If your partner says they love you and demonstrates that with consistent gestures, you can believe it.”

Learn to communicate

If you or your hubby is a poor communicator, don’t just put up with it, says Meredith – being able to talk openly with your partner is a sign of a strong marriage. “Develop your skills – go to classes, read books, observe good communicators and interview them about technique, ask for feedback, practice,” she advises. “Communication skills enhance all areas of your life – home and work. Get cracking – no excuses.”

Money matters

We usually handle money in the same way as our family did, and often assume our way is best. Not so, says Meredith, who advises discussing your views on paying bills, saving and credit cards before you tie the knot. “You need to come up with the new blended way you both will do things. It’s easy to have a major joint account where you both must tell each other what you do, and a slush fund minor private account each where you can be yourself without having to justify what you spend.”

Respect and affection are deal breakers

Small gestures matter – if you want your marriage to last, keep reminding each other that you love each other and nurture your relationship with kind words. “You need to treat each other preciously – not for granted,” says Meredith. “Some people say ‘I love you’, and some people will show ‘I love you’ – make sure that your partner understands your message, and work out what you both need then try to accommodate each other.”

Adultery and jealousy are different things

No matter how hard a marriage may seem at times, and while having affair might be exciting, almost everyone involved – children included – are destined to be harmed. “Either you are in or out – never humiliate your partner by duplicity,” says Meredith. “On the other hand, if your partner is jealous, and there is no reason for this, nip it in the bud. It is not cute or sweet, it is inappropriate, and can lead to violence. Get help. See a counsellor, and explore the past and work on this.”

Make room for sex

If you and your hubby’s libidos are matched evenly, don’t worry if sex takes a back seat on having kids. If one wants more nookie than the other, however, Meredith advises making room for sex in a busy schedule. “That might mean getting enough rest and sleep the night before, cancelling any other commitments, getting the kids minded, turning off your phones and computers, and doing nice things to each other,” she says. “Think about what the other person wants, not just what you feel like giving. So, ask them, take it in turns and take your time.” She adds that it’s perfectly normal for sex to fall of the menu when kids come into the mix. “Sometimes you just have to hang in there because one of you is dog tired. It wont be dreadful forever – but if the drought goes on for too long, seek some assistance.”

Put your marriage first

Meredith adds that having a happy marriage means being prepared to take turns with life’s stages. “You can still work towards your goals, but maybe they will take longer to achieve, because right now you choose to help your husband study for a post grad course, or delay moving interstate so he can care for his elderly father.” And, for those bored with their partner, she says slow and steady beats the highs and lows of an anxious passion anytime. “There are two aspects that glue lovers together in the long term: like and respect.”

Marital Monday: The First Year

Not long ago I was speaking to a young man who was in his second year of marriage. I asked how married life was treating him. I was surprised by his response. He said that things were going well now but that the first year was really rough. I didn’t expect that kind of honesty from him because we are nothing more than acquaintances.  I figured he would give the standard response of “It’s great” and keep it moving. Then I thought about the purpose of me asking if I only expected a generic response. I guess I was just trying to make conversation.

I thought back to our first year of marriage. I wouldn’t say it was really rough but there were issues that needed to be worked out. My husband nor I had ever lived with anyone other than college roommates before getting married. We both had to learn to adjust to sharing our space. We also had to get used to each others’ habits. During that time we learned new things about each other that didn’t come up while we were dating. We are still learning things about each other.

Think about it. You meet a total stranger and then you fall in love, get married and now live together. A few years prior you didn’t even know this person existed.   So yes, that first year is one of transition and learning. At the same time it is also fabulous.  You are waking up with this person that you love daily and celebrating a year full of “firsts” as a married couple.  I just asked my husband how he would describe our first year and the first thing that came out of his mouth was “fast”, lol.  It did go by fast.

It is important to take time and reflect on previous years of marriage if anything you do this to see how far the two of you have come as a couple.  Hopefully the issues you had then are no longer issues now.

Think back. What was your first year like?

 

~Tricia

Marital Monday: 5 Issues Men Have With Their Wives

As I have stated before I like to observe married couples. Why do I do this? To be honest I do it to help me with my own marriage. To learn. I observe couples as a unit and I observe husbands and wives as individuals. This post focuses on some things I have learned from observing husbands ( my own included).

There are things that women do that their husbands have issues with.  Here are the 5 most common that I have noticed.

  1. Letting herself go – This is something that men usually do not admit outright but they notice. They realize that their wife now favors yoga pants over a cute pair of jeans and hats have replaced hairstyles. I can’t imagine that my husband gets too excited when he comes home to me wearing the same nightshirt and sweats that I was wearing when he went to work.
  2. Sharing marital problems with others – When a wife has an problem in the marriage her man wants her to communicate the issue to him, not to her girlfriends or other family members. He wants to be respected enough as her husband to be spoken to first so together they can work out the issue as a couple. He does not want her to come to him last after her thoughts have already been clouded by the opinions and advice from individuals outside of the marriage.  If the issue can not be resolved together then as a couple they should seek outside guidance from a third party they both trust.
  3. Treating him like a kid – Whether you have children or not, your husband is not one of them and does not like being treated like one. What I have realized from my husband is that it’s all in the tone. Men do not like being spoken to in the same tone that their wives use to speak to the children.
  4. Being insecure about other women – Men find it annoying when every time they mention another woman (whether it be a co-worker or a childhood friend) the conversation gets cut off because their wife begins grilling them about who the woman is, what she looks like and if she has ever met her before.  I understand if there have been issues with trust in the past which causes the wife to feel insecure but if you have forgiven your spouse you have to trust that it won’t happen again and not expect that it will.
  5. Not showing appreciation – Like women, men also like to feel appreciated. They do not like to just be told what to do or what they are not doing wrong. Men like to be appreciated for what they are doing right. When they feel appreciate they desire to do more of the “little things” grows.

Ladies, don’t worry the list of thigs we have issues with when it comes to our husbands will be done…it will just be hard to edit it to just 5 things, lol.

~Tricia

Marital Monday: 112 Weddings

Often times while I am cleaning the kitchen I find a good documentary to play on the laptop.  A couple of months ago I came across the HBO Documentary 112 Weddings on HBO Go.  This was an amazing film.

I watch it again with my husband and we paused and discussed throughout the film. The conversation it evoked between us was amazing. We shared things that we have never shared with anyone or even admitted to ourselves.

I recommend it to all! Whether you have been married for years or you are still single waiting for the one, you can benefit from this movie.

For over twenty years filmmaker Doug Block has had a side business of being a wedding videographer. In this film he follows up with a few of the 112 couples whose special day he has captured over the years. Can you imagine? He had a front view seat to all of these weddings and now 5 years…. 8years…. 20 years later he meets with them a again to talk about there experience thus far (the good and the bad). It even shares the story of 2 couples preparing to get married.

I think there are about 8 couples who are part of this documentary. The couples vary by years married, race, and lifestyle. One couple has a child with special needs, while another couple is battling depression. There are also couples that share why they are no longer married. These couples allowed themselves to be vulnerable and transparent.  There is definitely something for everyone to relate to.

Here is the trailer.

For more information about this film click here.

Watch, enjoy and please share your thoughts.

~Tricia

Marital Monday: Don’t Talk Just Listen

shhI don’t know if it is because I am a Social Worker but I always feel the need to give advice when my husband is talking. Okay! I must be honest. I just don’t give advice. I totally assess what he is saying and give him a full out treatment plan. This works well when he asks me for my help but many times he just wants to vent to his wife about whatever is on his mind.

It didn’t hit me that this was a problem until a few months ago when he told me flat out he finds himself not wanting to share things with me because I go so deep into what he is saying. It really made me think. Never do I want to be so annoying that my husband does not want to communicate things that are on his mind. I am his wife not his therapist.

Am I the only one that does this? I don’t think so. Social Worker or not, I think this is something that many wives do and many husbands find annoying. Many times, as women we feel we need to be a problem solver. Well, I have news for you many times our husbands just want us to be a listening ear. Whether he wants to talk about work, family, aspirations, or whatever, we just need to listen.  We get on our husbands for not wanting to communicate but never do we take a look at how we respond when they do communicate. When we do this it is as if we are saying that they are incapable of problem solving on their own. We are treating them like our child not our spouse (which is a different post for a different day, lol).

Because of my inability to just sit and listen I took away my husbands desire to talk to me. I am just grateful that he was honest enough to let me know how he felt so that I could work on it.  That showed me that he wants to be able to share things with me. As I am typing this I am finding myself tearing up at that thought of how things could have been had my husband never communicated his frustration with me. There would have been a lull in communication between us.  Communication is a NECESSITY.  Many marriages fall apart without it.

So now I just listen. I enjoy just listening. I may ask a question here or there for clarification but that is about it. I have faith that my husband values my opinion enough that when he would like it he will ask for it, and he does. This simple change has really helped us. I can tell he enjoys talking to me now because he does it more often.

Think about how you respond when your husband tries to talk to you. Do you cut him off and rail off all the things he should do or should have done? If the answer is “yes”, then this post is for you. Try to just listen. You may be surprised that as he is talking out whatever it is, he will probably come to the same solution you would have offered on his own.

~Tricia

Marital Monday: Job Descriptions

The other day my husband was saying how his yearly self evaluation at work was due. We began to joke about self evaluating ourselves as spouses. That conversation led me to thinking.

In every job there is a job description. The job description includes several things but the overall purpose of the job description is to provide the individual with a blueprint of what the position they are holding/ applying for requires.  If you are hired it is assumed that your education and experience has qualified you to be able to fulfill the responsibilities outlined in the job description. Now let’s take it a step further.  By you accepting the position you displaying confidence in your self. You are saying that you are confident that you can satisfy what is outlined in the description. What would be the point in accepting employment for a position that you do not feel confident in?

The same principle applies in marriage. By the two of you agreeing to get married you are saying that you can carry out the duties of the job description for being a wife and a husband. However, no two job descriptions are the same. They are unique to the couple. It is not something that was written down it was more of a discussion. While getting to know one another you discussed what attributes you wanted in your potential spouse, this was the job description.

So you both accepted the positions of husband and wife. Now what? Well, it is time for the self evaluations. When I was working and did a self evaluation I would always have the job description next to me to serve as my outline. I would go through it and assess if I was effectively carrying out its requirements.  Do you do that with your position in your marriage? For example, you know your spouse enjoys cuddling. That would be part of the job description that you accepted and felt confident you could carry out. Now self evaluate. Do you spend time during the week cuddling with your spouse? On a scale of 1 – 5, 1 being “improvement needed” and 5 being “excellent work”, where do you stand.

Unlike a self evaluation at work the one in marriage is more of a mental one. If you want to write stuff down you can feel free. But you don’t have to. You know your spouse and the things they would like from you.You used to do those things in the beginning. That is part of what connected you to one another in the first place. You met someone that made you feel great and fell in line with the “job description” in your mind for a potential mate.

It is extremely important that we take time and self evaluate ourselves as a husband or wife. We make the time to do this for the positions we hold outside the home.  While you are self evaluating make sure you are being honest with yourself. You know if there are areas where improvement is needed.Also it is equally important that you continually communicate your needs to your spouse. As we grow our needs may change. We need to communicate those changes and “update” that job description.

Give this a try.  I do not write these posts for just you. I write them to improve my own marriage as well. Every marriage can use encouragement and tips to make it more successful. I hope you enjoy reading these as much as I enjoy writing them.

 

~Tricia

 

Marital Monday: Be a Better You!!!

One of the best things you can do for your spouse is to become a better you.  How can you be the spouse or parent you were called to be if you are not the best version of yourself. Don’t you want to give your family the best? That goal will never be attained if you are unable to be the best you can be.

KNOW WHO YOU ARE!

Would you want to be married to a person who does not know who they are? No. Would you want to watch your parent live a monotonous life day after day? No. If you would not want to live with a family member like that then do not be the family member who is like that. Find out what your purpose is, go after that dream you feel is unattainable.  The only thing in your way is you. Have confidence in your self. It is not the job of your spouse or someone else to have to validate you and constantly give you praise. Give your own self praise and affirmations. When you feel good about you it is contagious and those around you will feel good about you. You even treat people better when you feel better about yourself.  Think about it. When you do not feel good about you, that negative attitude flows through you. It begins to seep out of your pores until you reek of it. Haven’t you ever heard the phrase “Your attitude stinks”, that is what it means.

Begin to do things that make you feel good about you. If you feel better about yourself when your hair and makeup is done then do your hair and put on some makeup. Not so that your spouse gives you a compliment but because it makes you feel better about yourself. If time is a factor than make the time! Stop waking up when your spouse and/or kids wake up, because then you do not have anytime to do things for you. Wake up 30 minutes earlier to spend sometime for yourself. I know you like your sleep, I do too but if that 30 minutes gives you a much better attitude then isn’t it worth it? If you are unhappy about your weight, than make a commitment to yourself to get in shape to become a better you. These are things that only you can do for yourself.

Have faith in yourself and what you can accomplish. As a Christian I know what my worth is.  I know I have a purpose. However, I can not carry out that purpose if I am not the best me that I can be. I recently heard this quote:

“Feed Your Faith and Your Fears Will Starve”

Powerful, isn’t it! The Bible says that you can do ALL things through Christ who gives you strength (Philippians 4:13). I want to become the best version of myself. I want to be better than I was yesterday and my goal for tomorrow is to be better than I am today.  I want this for you too. Find ways to encourage yourself. Make vision boards, give yourself daily affirmations, read encouraging scriptures what ever it is, do it for you.

Be a better you and in turn you will be better to those around you!

~Tricia

Marital Monday: Pick and Choose Your Battles

The art of being wise is knowing what to overlook”

~ William James

Recently, I was reading an article interviewing married couples who had been married for a number of years. They were asked questions about how they met, how they knew they found “the one”, and some others. What stood out to me was the repetitive answer to this question, “What advice would you give to other couples?”  Although each couple was interviewed independently from the other couples many of them gave the same advice. That advice was to pick and choose your battles.

Pick and choose your battles.

PICK and CHOOSE your battles.

What does that mean? Are we supposed to just accept things in our marriage that we don’t like? When our spouse does something that hurts our feelings are we just supposed to sit quietly and let it happen over and over?

No.

It simply means not everything is worth fussing over. If you want a harmonious home you can not nit pick every thing that your spouse does. For example, Rick (my husband) does not care to sit and watch commercials. I learned this early on. If a commercial comes on he will change the channel to watch something else while mentally timing when the program we are watching should be back on at which point he will change the channel back. I on the other hand will just sit and wait till the commercials are over.  I am not of fan of the switching back and forth but am I going to complain about it every time he does it? What would that do but annoy him which in turn will cause me to become annoyed at his annoyance. Why go through all of that? Instead, I just sit and watch whatever he changes the channel to since he always turns back in time for our program to come back on.  Does he complain every time I leave tea wrappers on the counter (which is pretty often)? No. He picks them up and throws them away.

You have to pick and choose your battles. Not everything should be a complaint. As a woman I think I can say honestly that we are more prone to nag than men. Ladies I know you are rolling your eyes at me now but it is true. You know it is. Men, you can stop nodding in agreement, lol.

Ladies, whether you know it or not your husband tunes you out after a while when you complain about everything he does that might cause you both warranted and unwarranted frustration. So when there is a serious issue that is bothering you he is not taking it as seriously because to him you are just nagging again. Try to stop nit picking over the little things and only bring to his attention when you have a genuine concern. He will be more apt to listen and resolve the issue because he will not see it as you just complaining like you always do.  Husbands, if you are a nit picker the same applies to you. Give it a try and see the results. You will find a more harmonious marriage.

So in years to come if my husband and I are ever being interviewed and the question is asked of what advice would I give other married couples. I think I would give the same response.

Pick and choose your battles.

~Tricia

MARITAL MONDAY: Try to be a Better Spouse

I can not believe it is December 29, 2014.  Where has this year gone? Did you make any resolutions this year? I usually do not.  But for this new year I think I am going to make some marital resolutions. Not things for my husband and I to do together but things that I could do to make me a better wife.

I think I am a pretty good wife already and I hope my husband would agree, lol.  However, there is always room for improvement. There are always ways that you can be better spouse.  From communicating better to bringing home flowers just because. It goes for both husbands and wives.

You know your spouse! You know what you do that puts a smile on their face. You also know what you do that makes them frown. So try to make them smile more and frown less. If you are having a hard time coming up with something simply think of ways you can help alleviate some of the things that cause your spouse stress. I am sure your spouse would appreciate whatever you come up with.

If you choose to you can share your resolutions with your spouse, but I do not think it is necessary. I don’t plan to share mine. I should not have to tell my husband how I intend to be a better wife.  This is something that has to be shown.  I am so excited for 2015. I firmly believe that the best is yet to come for myself, my marriage, our family, and this blog.

I pray many blessings are showered upon you all in this new year!

~Tricia