Give Up the Need to be Right
You’re teammates in this marriage thing. Love your spouse enough to not want to make them wrong. This is a hard one for most people. Especially if you just know you’re right about whatever you’re arguing about. Worry more about finding common ground with your spouse. That way everyone wins.
Get Your Timing Right
It’s never a good idea to talk about stressful things at transitional times like first thing in the morning or right before bed at night. Before I bring up something that I know is going to rock the boat, I ask my husband if “now is a good time.” Yes, I might sound like a walking self-help book doing it, but let me tell you – this has been one of the single best things we’ve done for our marriage. Now, we talk about things instead of arguing just because I brought up something right before bed and he just wants to go to sleep.
Keep Your Eyes in Your Marriage
I know people think it’s okay to check out other people. Some people (most maybe) think it’s harmless to look at porn or even go to strip clubs on occasion. I’m here to tell you that’s absolutely not the case.
Have a Regular Sex Life
Sex is the one thing that separates your relationship with your spouse from your relationship with others. You can talk to other people, hang out with them, you’ve even lived with people other than your spouse at some point in your life. Right now though, sex is the only thing you share with your spouse that you don’t share with anyone else.
Learn Each Others Love Language And Use It!
I know I sound like a broken record with this love language stuff, but I promise, I wouldn’t push it this hard unless there was something to it. I wrote about the one question you should ask your spouse everyday and how the Five Love Languages changed my marriage.
Read these and if you’re still not convinced, just please trust me on this one and read the book yourself. You’ll be so happy you did!
Above all else, be honest with your spouse. No matter what. Once trust is broken, it’s incredibly hard to repair.
Be Best Friends
You have to live with this person, maybe make kids with this person, vacation with this person…you should probably like them. A lot. Yes, you’re going to fight, but really invest in your friendship.
I know, I know. He’s a jerk, leaves his clothes on the floor leaves the seat up… and she’s a nag, is never happy, and is always running late. You can find a million things to not like about someone you’re with constantly.
Instead of focusing on the negatives, find things you have in common and take a real interest in your differences. If my husband is willing to ramble about something, I’m going to listen and ask questions even if I have zero interest in the topic. If it’s important to him, it’s important to me because he’s my husband and my best friend and I want to see him excited about his life. Be a bright spot in your spouse’s life.
Be Selective with the People You Allow in Your Life
This can be friends or family. If someone doesn’t value your spouse or treat them with respect, it’s disrespectful of you to have that person in your life. Only allow people in your life if they are safe or your marriage.
For me, this meant letting go of a girl who was my best friend for years. I still love her very much, but a best friend who doesn’t support your marriage isn’t a safe person to keep around. Love your spouse enough to let go of the people who don’t love them.
Now, my husband has taken over my friends and I’ve taken over his. Seriously – my best friend (a guy! Boo, hiss!) loves my husband more than he loves me. My husband can do no wrong in his eyes, so I don’t even have a best friend to complain to when I’m mad. Instead, I call my husband’s friends for that! 🙂
Get on the Same Page with Finances
If you fight about money, figure it out. Fight hard to get out of debt. If you truly can’t find common ground, find a good counselor and have them help you.
Maybe your marriage isn’t a happy place right now. It happens. Marriage is a roller coaster with plenty of highs and lows.
Before you give up on your spouse, take the time to really do the work to make things better. My friends and I were just talking the other day about marriage advice from divorced people being some of the best advice we’d ever heard.
It turns out, you’re probably going to have the same issues with the next boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse as you have with this one, so you might as do the work to save this relationship and make sure it isn’t worth salvaging before you toss it to the side.
That looks like working on yourself, doing soul searching to see where you’re falling short, and getting into counseling if you aren’t already. Your spouse doesn’t want to go? No problem! You go and work on you. In all of my relationships, I keep the same mantra from a smart lady named Susan Elliott – Keep your side of the street clean.
Make sure you do all that you can to keep your marriage happy if it’s currently going great and to make it great if it’s currently anything but. This way, no matter what happens, you’ll know you did your very best!
What rules do you try to follow in your relationship? What are some things you wish you could change? Let me know in the comments!