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“A great marriage is not when the perfect couple comes together. It is when an imperfect couple learns to enjoy their differences” – Dave Meurer
The excitement of the wedding and the honeymoon is over; it is now time to get down to the nitty-gritty of married life. If you are equipped with the right tools at this stage to handle the expectations, disappointments and responsibilities of living with a person who you discover is not always the doting partner, then you are well on the road to making it last the long mile! In this article, we will discover the formula for a happy marriage.
Rules to Follow for a happy marriage
Those who have had a successful marriage seem to follow a few rules. Let’s see what they are:
Most of us enter matrimony with a rosy ‘happily ever after’ label which is amply fed by hoopla from media and movies. Unrealistic expectations are one of the major reasons for marriages to fail. We expect our partner to meet all our needs – from taking care of us, raising our children, helping us in our career and housework, being caring and considerate – in fact, being the perfect mate! No wonder most fail at this impossible task!
Very often when our partner does not live up to our expectations we tend to throw in the towel and call it quits. Instead of expecting perfection, remember that your spouse is as human as you. So, make allowances for human frailties and give them the benefit of the doubt.
The real formula for a happy marriage is to make plans to stick it out through the tough times and be there for the long haul. Going into a marriage with an exit policy is never a great idea. If you are committed to your partner and the relationship, you will always find a solution to the problems that are inevitable between two people living together. A rough patch is not the end of the road for a relationship. There will be highs and lows like in everything else in life. Just ride the storm and soon the shore will be in sight; you just need some patience and endurance.
Why do we expect our partner to fit into our framework of what a spouse should be like? When two siblings brought up with similar upbringing by the same parents are so different, why do we expect two people brought up in different families to be alike?
Learning to embrace our differences instead of trying to change the other will go a long way in creating a great marriage. Trying to change the other person instead of accepting them as they are is folly. After all, you loved and married them for who they are, so why would you want to change them after marriage?
Preserve your own identity
The formula for a happy marriage is to make sure that you are independent and maintain your own friendships apart from those of your spouse. If you don’t share similar hobbies or interests, then allow each other space to pursue the things that they enjoy. Learn to appreciate each other’s interests. Try not to rely entirely on your partner for your validation and well-being. Nurture your own friendships while allowing the same attitude to your spouse. It is important for both of you not to lose your own identity and to be yourself.
Listening to each other’s emotions is the key to building a healthy communication pattern between partners. Try to understand what your partner is feeling and saying. It is not a good idea to have an argument when you are tired or feeling very emotional. Sometimes it is better to take time out, reflect and then resolve issues instead of jumping headlong into a fight. Use ‘I’ statements instead of accusatory ‘you’ statements. After all, both of you are on the same side! There are no winners or losers here.
While the daily chores of who will cook dinner, help children with homework or do laundry might seem very prosaic and unimportant, be assured that these very things will lead to battles royale! Distribute labour equally so that there are no resentments and work out an equitable schedule of chores.
Talk about parenting styles before you have children, for each of you has been brought up in different ways and you may not exactly agree on all things when it comes to bringing up your own child. We all have our own ideas of values, beliefs and traditions, so you and your partner have to arrive at some sort of understanding before the actual task of parenting begins.
Nurturing Intimacy and Emotional Connection
Nurturing intimacy and emotional connection might be one of the most important components of the formula for a happy marriage. Building a happy marriage goes beyond sharing chores and responsibilities—it’s about fostering intimacy and emotional connection. Here are some tips to keep that spark alive:
- Make quality time a priority: Life gets busy, but don’t let it overshadow your relationship. Set aside special moments for just the two of you. Whether it’s a cosy movie night, a spontaneous adventure, or even a simple walk in the park, cherish these moments together.
- Share your deepest thoughts and feelings: True intimacy comes from opening up to each other emotionally. Listen actively and show genuine interest when your partner shares their joys, worries, and dreams. Create a space where both of you can be vulnerable and support each other through thick and thin.
- Show love and appreciation: Little gestures can go a long way in showing your love. Leave sweet notes, surprise your partner with their favourite treat, or give them a warm hug for no reason at all. Let them know that they are cherished and valued.
- Explore common interests: Find activities that you both enjoy and make time for them. Whether it’s cooking together, exploring new hobbies, or going on adventures, shared experiences bring you closer and create lasting memories.
- Let go of grudges and forgive: In any relationship, conflicts are bound to happen. Learn to forgive and let go of past hurts. Holding onto grudges only weighs you down. Instead, focus on finding solutions and growing together.
- Keep the romance alive: Don’t let the romance fade away after the honeymoon phase. Surprise each other with small acts of love, plan romantic dates, and keep the spark alive. Remember the things that made you fall in love and continue nurturing those feelings.
A happy marriage is an ongoing journey that requires effort and commitment from both partners. By nurturing emotional intimacy and connection, you’ll create a strong foundation for a fulfilling and lifelong partnership.
What to Do Once Things Go Wrong
No marriage is immune to challenges and problems. When things go wrong, it is important to remember that it is not the end of the world. Instead of dwelling on the negative, focus on finding solutions and working through the difficulties together.
Conflict is inevitable in any relationship, and learning to deal with it effectively is vital for the growth and well-being of your newly married relationship. Instead of avoiding conflict or letting it escalate, embrace it as an opportunity for growth and understanding. Approach conflicts with empathy, active listening, and a willingness to find a resolution that works for both of you.
When conflicts arise, strive to understand each other’s perspective without judgement or defensiveness. Use “I” statements to express how you feel and avoid blaming or criticizing each other. Focus on finding a compromise or solution that addresses both partners’ needs. Remember that conflicts are not a reflection of your love for each other; rather, they are an opportunity to strengthen your bond by finding common ground and learning from each other’s perspectives.
In conclusion, a happy marriage is not a result of chance or luck. It is a conscious choice to invest in the variables that matter the most. By prioritizing these variables and continuously working on the relationship, couples can build a strong and fulfilling partnership. And this is the formula for a happy marriage.
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