By Lara Estaris
Many people don’t understand the differences between dating and marriage. It should be simple to be with someone you love, but the truth is marriage is work. Marriage is hard work and you both have to be willing to work for each other. Most of it boils down to communication and compromise. No one knows how to be a spouse, there’s no “secret” to a happy, healthy marriage. But these tips don’t hurt.
Don’t stop dating. Date your spouse, that is. Make time for each other. Life gets crazy busy and fast! It’s important to carve out time to focus on each other.
Make time for yourself. Contrary to the above, “me” time is very important. It is so easy to lose yourself in a relationship. Don’t forget that you are important too and you have your own life.
Learn each others’ love languages. In what ways do you feel the most loved? How do you show your spouse love? Ask yourself these questions. You may feel the most loved when given compliments or little tokens of love. But your spouse may be completely opposite. Learn to speak their language.
Throw the golden rule out the window. Similar to tip #3, don’t treat someone the way you want to be treated. Treat them equally, but realize that everyone is different and everyone should be handled individually. Treat someone the way they should be treated.
Identify your triggers. The next time you and your spouse get into a disagreement, identify your reactions when you are upset. Do you get stomach pains? Does your face get hot? Being able to tell when you are getting to the point of no return will help diffuse future disagreements.
Learn when to walk away. Often times, you know when there’s no point in discussing an issue any further. Long before your blood pressure goes up or your face turns red, your brain has shut down and cannot reason. Give each other some space and come back at a later time when you can both think clearly.
Fight fairly. Disagreements are inevitable. Take a step back to see which battles are worth fighting and which battles won’t matter next week.
Be a friend. The best relationships often stem from friendship. Be your spouse’s best friend. Laugh, joke, and don’t forget to have fun with each other.
Communicate with each other. No one is a mind reader (to my knowledge). If you are upset, your spouse won’t know unless you voice your opinions. Don’t keep things bottled up. Conversely, express appreciation, gratitude, and of course love.
Be your spouse’s biggest fan. Be supportive and let your spouse know that what they do and accomplish is important. Be proud of your partner.
Be a hopeless romantic. Cliché as this sounds, romance is important in any relationship. Remember why you fell in love with your spouse and what falling in love feels like. Fall in love with your spouse over and over again.
Stop blaming each other. No one is perfect. You will mess up. Your spouse will mess up. Learn how to own up to your mistakes and learn how to apologize.
Never stop learning. Both you and your spouse are constantly growing and evolving. Keep learning about your spouse’s dreams and goals. Be interested in what they want and need.
Think long-term. What do you and your spouse want out of this marriage? What are your shared goals? How will you keep the marriage moving forward? Discuss these things with your partner and work on progressing your marriage.
Pursue your spouse. Take opportunities to make your spouse feel wanted. Intimacy is a huge part of marriage. It builds trust and communication and strengthens the bond between you.
Anyone can be in a relationship. Making a commitment is hard work, but worth it to share a life with the one you love. Be honest, be respectful, and keep laughing with each other.