How To Build A Happy Marriage
Marriage can be a rewarding and meaningful commitment between two people, providing each spouse with support, love, and comfort. It can also be challenging at times, often requiring hard work, compromise, and patience. For this reason, it can be helpful to know how to work on certain aspects of your marriage to ensure it remains mutually beneficial and fulfilling. If you’re looking to form a deeper connection with your spouse, there are several widely utilized strategies for anticipating challenges, fostering intimacy, and strengthening your relationship. Below, we’ve gathered several tips for building a happy marriage.
Focus On Communication
The foundation of most healthy marriages is honesty. Conveying to your spouse your thoughts and feelings, particularly those pertaining to your relationship, can help you get on the same page and understand one another. This may seem difficult when there are challenges you do not necessarily want to discuss. But openness and honesty can be especially important during difficult times. Try to be upfront about the state of your job, your finances, or your marriage as a whole. If you’re experiencing fears or concerns about your marriage, it can be important to take those directly to your partner and talk them over openly. This can help you resolve them or at least start addressing them.
Although your goal should be openness and honesty, how you express yourself can be important. If you have information to share, think about how to communicate it in an empathetic and kind way. For example, if you are frustrated that your partner is not pitching in with chores as much as you’d like, try to provide them with feedback in a patient and understanding manner, rather than in a potentially hurtful way. In this situation, ask them if there are chores they’d prefer doing so that it’s easier for you to share responsibilities. Try to use “I” statements, such as, “I feel that I am doing more than my share of chores”. This can be more effective than statements like, “You aren’t doing enough around the house”. Empathy can help you look at situations from your partner’s perspective and avoid hurting their feelings.
Show Your Appreciation
As a dating couple, you may have expressed appreciation for your partner in many ways, such as a hug and kiss upon seeing them after a long day or by planning special surprises for them. After years of marriage, couples can become more accustomed to seeing their partner every day and may not make the same gestures.
Showing gratitude frequently can make both you and your partner feel more emotionally satisfied and motivated to continue building a happy marriage. You can do this by saying “thank you” when your partner cleans up, cooks, or pays bills. You can also do it by planning a special date, bringing them flowers, or taking one of their responsibilities off their hands. This can help maintain your emotional connection and make both of you feel satisfied in the marriage.
Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff
Another way to maintain harmony in your marriage is to let the small things go. Of course, there are big challenges that likely need to be addressed; but smaller issues (e.g., an argument about directions) can turn into bigger conflicts and keep you and your spouse from connecting in a healthy way. If you hold onto these types of frustrations, they may build over time, potentially leading to resentment and unhappiness.
Consider a situation in which your partner keeps forgetting to put their shoes away, causing you to feel slighted or as though they are purposely eschewing their responsibilities. In this situation, though, they may simply struggle to put things away. Particularly if they’re not doing it on purpose, consider providing them with feedback and moving on. This can free up time and energy for you to focus on the bigger challenges in your marriage.
Sometimes one or both spouses can become so focused on the marriage that they forget to care for themselves. It can be tempting to give excess time and effort to your spouse because you want to make them happy. But most people have certain physical, emotional, and psychological needs of their own that must be met. And it can be hard for you to take care of your spouse if you aren’t tending to those needs. Self-care allows both partners to nourish their bodies, souls, and minds.
You can engage in by doing things that you enjoy, both with your partner and on your own. Getting enough sleep, exercising, eating a balanced diet, and engaging with activities you enjoy can help provide you with the energy and motivation to interact with your spouse in a healthy way. Self-care can also involve anything from a spa day to a bubble bath and a good book. Consider creating a self-care routine that allows you to incorporate several activities regularly.
Foster Other Relationships
Although your marriage will typically be the primary relationship in your life, nurturing other relationships can be important. Having active participants in your support system can provide you with an outlet and give you a chance to enrich your life outside of your marriage. You could also benefit from spending time with other couples. In these types of friendships, each couple can support the other’s relationship by providing a sounding board and marriage advice.
Allow Some Silence
While communication is important, it is also OK for you and your partner to take time for self-reflection and quiet. This can be particularly helpful if one or both of you are introverted. Silence provides you with the opportunity to meditate, practice mindfulness, or simply rest. Consider asking your spouse if they’re okay scheduling in quiet time regularly so that you can better interact with each other later. Far from being a negative sign, allowing for silence in this way can signal that you are at ease with one another.
Spend Quality Time Together
While many married couples spend time together frequently, this does not necessarily mean they are interacting in a way that builds a strong connection. Spending quality time with your spouse can help you deepen your bond—research shows that shared experiences are often more enjoyable. Consider eschewing the tv in favor of conversation during dinner; or you could undertake new activities together, such as learning a new language, hiking, or doing puzzles. Sharing meaningful moments can help you and your partner develop a more satisfying relationship.
Be Willing To Forgive
Both you and your partner will likely make mistakes or do things that put a strain on your relationship. When this happens, the ability to forgive each other can be crucial. Again, communication can help you work through these challenges. Talking about the situation can provide you with insight into what happened and help you be more understanding as you respond. Forgiveness often eases the emotional burdens of both spouses and allows them to avoid worsening conflict.
Understand The Importance Of Intimacy
Sex and physical affection are often important parts of building and maintaining a healthy relationship. Intimacy—including sexual activity, holding hands, hugging, and even playful flirting—can help you maintain a sense of closeness and togetherness. Studies suggest that physical intimacy can help you build an emotional connection with your partner. Whether you’ve been married for a few weeks or several decades, try to keep the spark alive through physical closeness.
Acknowledge Your Limits
Recognizing what you can and cannot commit to or accomplish in your marriage is important. When you’re unable to fulfill a promise or an expectation, communicate that to your partner. This is often a better approach than over-promising in situations when you may not be able to deliver. For example, instead of assuring your partner that you can pick up the kids, cook dinner, and clean the house—when you don’t have the time—consider asking your spouse to take one of those tasks off your hands. This can help you develop healthy boundaries and avoid over-exertion.
Online Therapy For A Happy Marriage
Studies show that online therapy can help spouses maintain a happy marriage. For example, in a study on the efficacy of online therapy for married couples, participants reported experiencing significantly higher levels on the marital happiness scale. The study also mentions that online therapy was as effective as face-to-face counseling, and that it can bridge the treatment gap that often exists with in-person counseling due to barriers such as geographical limitations.
Online therapy is a convenient and affordable method of working to build a strong, happy marriage. With a platform like Regain, you can work through challenges in your relationship remotely, through video call, voice call, or in-app messaging. Online therapy is also an affordable option—Regain memberships start at $60 per week (billed every 4 weeks), and you can cancel anytime.
A fulfilling marriage often starts with a solid foundation and is sustained through hard work and understanding. You can build a happy marriage by fostering respect, practicing intimacy, communicating effectively, taking care of your own needs, and being kind. By utilizing the above tips and, potentially, working with a professional, you and your partner can build a strong, lasting marriage.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
What is the most important factor in a happy marriage?
The most important factor that continually comes up in evaluations and research studies on happy couples identifies friendship as the most important factor contributing to happy marriages. Researchers think the reason behind this involves the love and support found in friendship but is likely made up of several components, including:
- Considerate communication. In good friendships, communication is continual and respectful, and happy marriages are no different. Friends are often those who feel safe and comfortable revealing themselves at their best and worst, and marriages are similarly bolstered and strengthened by intimacy and vulnerability, not unlike the intimacy and vulnerability found in friendship.
- Time together. Friends spend time together. They may not always see each other multiple times each week—or even multiple times in a month—but friends make time for one another, even if that time is as short or simple as talking on the phone or trading memes back and forth. Marriages are similarly in need of quality time, and the happiest marriages are those in which a couple makes spending time together with a high priority.
- Support for one another. Friendships are typically considered important because they are among the most supportive relationships a person can have. The support found in friendship is among the more important components that must be found and fostered in happy marriages. Just as friends offer support—teasing support though it may be—spouses must offer one another support, consideration, and encouragement to foster a happy and fulfilling marriage.
Friendship is an enduring bond—frequently even far beyond the bounds of happy marriages. Ensuring that your marriage is built on and supported by a strong friendship can be vital to making sure that your marriage is built to last and is filled with happiness. Even if your relationship began as a dating relationship and not a friendship, friendship can be given plenty of attention within a relationship and is likely to provide a stronger and more solid base for a relationship than physical attraction or interests alone. Happy couples prioritize friendship, and one of the best snippets of marriage advice available is this: make sure your partner is your best friend.
How do I build a strong relationship in my marriage?
The best marriage advice for building a strong marriage relationship is not terribly different from building a strong relationship overall, as the basis of any good marriage is friendship. To build a strong relationship, you must tend to several key components. Tips for a happy marriage include attending to:
- Your foundation. The foundation of your relationship is the rock you will return to when your relationship grows difficult, stale, or troubled. Tips for a happy marriage must include some foundation work. Without a strong foundation, relationships can quickly and easily fold. To build a strong foundation (and, consequently, a strong relationship), focus on what brought you and your partner together and what has kept you together. Whether it is a mutual devotion to environmental concerns or a love of music, coupled with any success, they have a foundation from which to build their relationship.
- Your communication. Communication serves as another stone in the foundation of your relationship. Communication between two partners must be open, considerate, respectful, and “I” focused, which means that complaints, concerns, and fears should be communicated using “I.” For example, someone who is frustrated by their partner’s lack of availability might come to their partner and say, “I feel like I am not much of a priority right now, and it hurts my feelings.”
- Your willingness to forgive. You will make mistakes, and your partner will make mistakes. Being able to forgive yourself and your partner is essential to make your relationship last. The golden rule is often the best rule to live by in these situations. Do you want to be forgiven for your mistakes and your pitfalls? Do the same for your partner. Marriage tips would be remiss were they to avoid a mention of forgiveness and grace.
- Your physical relationship. Although sex alone is not a great basis for relationships, sex and physical affection are often extremely important parts of maintaining and building a healthy relationship. Sex, holding hands, hugging, and even brushing up against one another as you pass can help maintain a sense of closeness and togetherness, helping build a strong relationship. Whether you’ve been married for a matter of weeks, or you’ve been married for several decades, physical affection is important. Avoid being married lonely by maintaining connection with one another.
What are the rules for a happy marriage?
There are plenty of long-standing tips for a happy marriage that virtually everyone who announces their marriage hears. “Don’t go to bed angry.” “Live and let live.” “Happy wife, happy life.” Although these are frequently accepted and acknowledged rules, they are all problematic in some way or another. What are the true tips for a happy marriage? Happy marriage tips typically follow a prescribed set of rules or guidelines. These include:
- Limit your expectations. Expectations can quickly erode even the most joyful of relationships because expectations create resentment and anger. Although there are plenty of perfectly reasonable expectations to be found in a relationship—the expectation that you will be treated well-loved and not cheated on, for instance—there are also numerous expectations that can damage relationships. Expectations regarding finances, chores, and even making dinner can cause enormous arguments and resentment in a marriage. Happy couples limit their expectations.
- Acknowledge your limits. When you make a mistake, acknowledge it. When you cannot fulfill a promise or an expectation, communicate that you cannot quite get there. Continually communicating your limits, mistakes, and pitfalls will let your partner know that you are humble and vulnerable with them and will help foster a sense of closeness and intimacy.
- Carve out your own path. Although marriages based on friendship are most frequently identified as the happiest ones, marriages in which both partners see only one another frequently fizzle and burn out. This is because partners that forget to foster a sense of individuality can quickly grow codependent and resentful of one another and can feel suffocated.
- Appreciate and respect your partner. Marriages that are happy (and marriages that last) are made up of two partners who value and respect each other. Appreciation is usually simple: remember to say “thank you,” encourage your partner, and support their successes. Respecting your partner is similarly simple and requires that you consider your partner’s thoughts, feelings, and needs. Improving the respect and appreciation, you feel for your partner can do a lot to help save your marriage.
How can I be happy in a bad marriage?
Learning to be happy in an unhappy marriage is not necessarily the best course of action. The particular reason for your marriage’s label of “bad” will determine whether or not you should try to be happy in that marriage, rather than leaving the marriage behind and starting over. There are several bad marriages that you should never try to stay in. These include:
- Abusive relationships. Abusive relationships cover a wide range of behaviors, including physical abuse, emotional abuse, and mental abuse. If your partner harms you in any way, the best course of action is likely to leave the relationship altogether, rather than trying to “be happy” in the marriage. Your self-worth and safety are more important than trying to be happy in a dangerous or problematic relationship.
- Manipulative relationships. Manipulative relationships are usually included in abusive relationships, but they may be more nuanced and more difficult to detect than other abusive relationships. If your partner manipulates you through guilt or gaslighting, creating distance is the best choice.
- Relationships are based on lies. Although many people will suggest that a white lie is not too problematic, lies can be extremely problematic in relationships. If your relationship was built primarily on lies, it is likely best to avoid trying to be happy and create distance from the partner who continually lied to you.
If your relationship does not fall under the umbrella of the bad marriages above but is bad simply because it has lost a sense of spontaneity or romance, learning to be happy is not a matter of risking your safety or harming your mental health. To learn to be happy in a marriage that has lost its spark, you may:
- Focus on your own behaviors. If you want to be happy, focus on your thoughts, behaviors, and feelings. Although it can be frustrating if your partner does not attend to your needs the way you hoped they would, you cannot rely on other people to make you happy. Attend to your own thought patterns, needs, and behaviors, and learn how to be happy on your own.
- Accept what you cannot control. You cannot control other people's behavior, nor can you completely control the state of your marriage. Make the changes you need to make to support healthy, happy marriage and let go of the rest.
- Communicate your needs. Although some bad relationships are made that way by design, plenty grows stale over time or after years of neglect. Take some time to communicate your needs to your partner and ask for theirs. This can help both of you reach a place that is far happier than before.
Why unhappy couples stay married?
Staying in a marriage is not always worse than leaving a marriage, even if the couple is unhappy. Therapy can be utilized during the marriage to improve the state of the relationship. There are plenty of other situations in which unhappy couples may stay married, not the least of which include:
- Fear of change. Many unhappy couples got married when they were young or in some trouble, such as experiencing an unwanted pregnancy and are afraid of living alone. These couples likely do not know how to function outside of their marriage relationship, as they may have spent the vast majority of their life with their partner. Being afraid of change is perfectly normal but is not usually considered a solid reason to stay within an unhappy relationship. If you’ve been married since your youth, taking on such an intense change can be frightening.
- Abuse or manipulation. Abusive relationships can be powerful and intense motivators to keep people in unhappy marriages, as abusive relationships can threaten to cut people off from financial, social, and emotional assistance. Abusers can threaten their partners' lives should they attempt to leave and may even exert physical or emotional violence over their partners after past attempts to leave the relationship.
- Financial concerns. If you have spent most of your life with two incomes or relying on your spouse’s income, the prospect of leaving your marriage can be daunting. As living costs continue to rise and many minimum wage positions provide far less than standard living expenses, the prospect of losing financial and help can make leaving an unhappy marriage feel impossible.
- Hope for change. Some people stay in unhappy marriages because they hope that their partner will change or their relationship will improve. Some people attend therapy with their partner, while others wait for a short period of unhappiness in the marriage. For these individuals, not being happy in a marriage is not tantamount to not being happy overall.
Which marriage is also called as happy marriage?
Are people really happy in marriage?
What makes a woman happy in marriage?
What makes a woman happy in marriage? A woman who is happy in marriage has a husband who loves her and respects her. He cares about her as an individual and wants what is best for her, not just himself. He offers his support when she needs it most, but also knows when to let go so she can take care of things herself. He doesn’t try to control or manipulate her into doing anything she doesn’t want to do; instead, he trusts that they will reach an agreement on any given issue through communication and compromise. As the saying goes: "happy wife happy life."
Who lives longer in marriage?
Can we live without marriage?
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