My husband and I have been married for 12 years. In that time, we’ve faced many hardships: deaths in the family, financial difficulties, having a child, and starting our own business. We used to just stumble through, hoping that because we loved each other, we’d be able to have a wonderful marriage.
But we found that there is a great deal to learn about having a powerful, rewarding marriage. So, we began learning from people who were masters at it.
From our studies, we’ve implemented great tools in our relationship that have helped us to easily build a great marriage.
1.) Don’t ever talk negatively about a spouse to anyone, especially a family member. Assuming that your spouse is not abusing you, or doing anything else that is harmful, resist the temptation to speak ill of him or her. As spouses, you will forgive each other. Friends and family will not. Then, they’ll treat your spouse poorly and they’ll take sides, even when there are no sides to take.
This makes family gathering and activities with friends strained. If you need to speak with someone, talk to a therapist whom you trust.
Note: This tip includes trying to work out for a good solution with a friend. These conversations may start out innocently enough, but they slip into complaining very easily. If you talk to anyone, talk to your spouse. It may be rough going at first, but eventually, you’ll start to communicate.
2.) Treat each other with respect. This seems obvious, but most of us don’t do it. We complain to our spouse and we feel entitled to take out our frustration on him or her. This compounds any problems that we had before, by creating more animosity between spouses instead of building a powerful team. When we treat each other poorly, we not only act in a way that is beneath us, but we also bring out the worst in our spouse.
A good rule is to act dignified, no matter the situation. This is an incredible thing to practice, taking presence of mind and discipline. But it can elevate our lives in unforeseen ways. The most important person with which to practice this is our spouse. When we do that, we build an invincible team, able to handle difficult situations with grace and ease.
3.) Take on your own life. This seems more about an individual than a marriage, but it helps marriages out a great deal. When we are committed and in action on those things that are important to us, a job, managing the house, being a great parent, etc., trivial things lose their significance. We get in fewer arguments. We just don’t have the time to argue or nitpick. Also, a huge reason for having arguments is to distract ourselves from our other troubles. When we have fewer troubles, we start fewer arguments.