In twenty-six years of being happily married, I like to think I’ve learned a thing or two about what makes a relationship last – or at least what has helped my relationship last – no doubt every marriage is just a little bit different.
Here are the ten things that come to the top of my mind today about what makes a happy marriage.
Have fun together and create great memories – loads of them. Create new ones every week and every year and stack them up as high as you can, so you can look back at your time together and smile.
Don’t Expect Or Assume
Don’t have expectations of how your marriage will work out happily ever after or how your guy will behave once he’s a husband. Don’t assume anything at all. Ask for what you want. Work on making things how you want them to be. Don’t let yourselves drift apart through lack of action.
Work On Joint Projects
Working on a project together can keep things sweet. You are in this together and you’ll feel a great sense of joint triumph when you succeed. Just don’t blame each other if things go wrong (as our house improvement projects always seem to do)!
Beware Of Being Too Kid-Centric
When/if kids come along, don’t make them the center of your world. They will be away living their own lives before you know it. And they appreciate having parents who are still together, loving each other more than you think. It sets a good example for their future relationships too. You are doing them a favor by putting them second!
Don’t Let Yourself Go
Keep looking good for each other. I would still pick my husband out across a crowded room. Don’t fret about getting older. You will get gray hairs and wrinkles. You will probably put on a few pounds. But you can still make the most of what you have. Don’t put more effort into looking good when you go out with girlfriends than you do into looking good for him. Spend money on good underwear. Marriage is not an excuse for graying knickers where the elastic has gone and sagging bras.
No one is perfect. Not you, not him. Nagging will not make him perfect. It just makes you a nagging wife. You can’t change anyone else, but he might change (a bit) to make you happy, if you ask nicely with a kiss.
Don’t forget to talk to each other. Speak up about anything that bothers you as well as about things that make you happy, and about things that you appreciate about him. Never shut him out. Don’t be afraid to fight, but fight fair and without insults – keep it about issues that need to be resolved – and current issues at that, not past hurts.
Be kind, thoughtful and caring so that home feels like a haven to come back to and not another place where he feels he has to be careful not to set off an explosion. Talk more kindly to him than you do to strangers. Be appreciative of him and his good qualities. Home is not a place to be less considerate but more.
Vive La Difference
It gets boring if you are too alike, attraction fades and you become no more than companions. Keep up your interests and be happy if he has his that you don’t share. Enjoy that he is a man and does manly things, even though you think they are daft. And if he thinks the girly things you like to do are daft too, so much the better.
Sex – have lots of it and never give up. No matter how old you get, you are never too old. Say yes much more than you ever say no. If fact if you need to say “No” don’t make it “No” but “Later” and say when! And variety is essential if things are going to stay exciting with the same person for years so if things get dull, it’s time to spice things up. Buy a book if you run out of ideas!
Note from Ana: Just noticed I wrote a similar post to this in May 2013 (How To Be Happy Ever After) but my top ten marriage tips a year ago were completely different with a few notable exceptions. I’ll leave you to guess (or check up) which things are always on my list 😉
Over to you: What are the things that make your marriage strong? Or what do you hope if you get married in the future? Please share in the comments below
I love your tips and agree with every one. My first marriage lasted for 27 years. I married young and my husband had issues which I couldn’t tolerate. Bipolar and misogyny amongst them. I consider myself lucky to have found a second husband. After 25 years, we know we will support each other for our remaining years. Boy! We’ve made some memories.
Thanks for sharing Francene. Perhaps #1 was meant to happen just so that you could find and fully appreciate your fantastic second husband. Here’s to many more wonderful memories 🙂
Ana recently posted…Loving What Is
I loved your tips!
My parents seem to have a happy marriage!
Sophie Bowns recently posted…Teddy- Chapter 36
Thanks Sophie. You’ll have a good idea what to do from the example your parents have provided if you decide to get married 🙂
Ana recently posted…Why Smart Women Turn Off Men
I’m not married, and I’m not planning on getting married anytime soon, but these tips seem solid. I think a lot of people forget to take care of themselves physically once they get married, I’m glad you mentioned that point!
TimothyTorrents recently posted…The Top 10 Recommended Books for Winners
Thanks Timothy. Single or married, it’s all good. Being happy with the life you make is what counts.
Ana recently posted…First Step To A Great Relationship
I love these Ana! My husband and I have only been married for 3 years (together for 3 eyars before that) so we have 6 years and lately, we had started to wonder if we have things in common anymore. I seem to always be working on my own stuff and him on his stuff. We’ve started working on things together, in fact, a writing project that we are doing together and it’s so nice to have something to talk about again.
I’m also in total agreement about #10. Lots and lots of sex!
Misty Spears recently posted…10 Common Misconceptions About Industrial Hemp
Thanks for sharing Misty. I don’t think you need to be joined at the hip to have a happy marriage but doing some things together is good otherwise you end up leading completely separate lives. It’s quite usual for working lives to be completely separate so you’re not alone there. As for projects, our household projects have been a mixed blessing because something usually goes wrong with them! But we often cook together, go to the movies etc together. You noticed that #10 figured in both my lists – essential I say LOL
Ana recently posted…Three Little Things From My Week
Excellent tips for couples who are married or happily co-habiting 🙂
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Ana recently posted…What To Do If You Kiss Another Guy (But Didn’t Mean To)
Meh, I can do with or without sex.. ROFL Sad, but true.
I won’t go into the reasons why but it has to do with my past. That’s one of the things I expressed to my current partner — that it wouldn’t be as frequent as he would probably like. He had to accept that, otherwise I wouldn’t have said yes when he proposed. 🙂
Bonnie Gean recently posted…My Top 10 Favorite Blogs
This is one of those things in marriage where if you’re both happy with the situation it isn’t an issue, but if one of you isn’t, it can drive a wedge between you over time. I am not a sex therapist but I know that all kinds of past issues can be put firmly in the past where they belong. It may be painful to obliterate them though, so going through that is not for everyone. Only you know if it is worth it for you, Bonnie. Thanks for sharing.
Ana recently posted…First Step To A Great Relationship
Great list Ana and congrats on 26 years! I would add to tell them that you love them at least once or more each day. But mean it when you say it, don’t just mouth the words. We have a little joke line we say every once in a while – “Did I tell you today I love you? – “No” – “Oh well, maybe I’ll tell you tomorrow . . . love you!”
Marilyn Thompson recently posted…5 Secrets You Should Know Before Starting a Blog
That’s a lovely addition. Thanks for sharing Marilyn
Ana recently posted…17 Tips For Dating Again After A Breakup Or Divorce
While I’m not married to my man, and we don’t live together, we do work together and spend nearly every weekend together. Number 1 is probably the hardest. We are tired (run a local business full time) and he’s got social anxiety, so we don’t get out and do much. The rest of it, has been learned the hard way (in some cases). I have learned to speak up about what I want and what I need. Him, not so much, but to some degree.
Jenn Alex Brockman recently posted…My Tax Returns Aleviate Anxiety, How Bout You?
Thanks for sharing Jenn. If your guy has social anxiety then going out having a wild time is not going to create great memories for him. In this case, think of some things you’d like to do for only the two of you – a trip to a local town, a museum or art gallery, even the movies that doesn’t involve much social interaction. If even this is too much, create some fun times at home. A search on Google for “stay at home dating ideas” brought up quite a few suggestions that might help. Tiredness is usually mental rather than physical. It’s amazing how “untired” we can get if there’s something we are keen to do.
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