My husband and I have been married for 37 years. Now that doesn't make us experts, but I feel we've learned some things along the way.
1. Don't say the D word: If you are like most couples, when you got married, you exchanged vows. Vows are usually a variation of "I promise to love, honor and cherish you in sickness and health, for richer or poorer, until death does us part." There is no room for thinking about divorce in there. Make a pact with your spouse to never let the d word cross your lips. Because if you say it, you will start to think about it which someday might lead to acting upon it.
Can I just say ... let's honor our vows and not let them be empty promises. People give up too easily sometimes.
(Because I have seen in the blog world how people react to any talk of setting any boundaries, just let me say that, obviously, if there is abuse or adultery, you might need to remove yourself from the situation. If that is the case, I doubt you are reading a post entitled "Top 5 Marriage Builders.")
2. Always say I love you and kiss before parting from your spouse. Make your moments together pleasant so that you look forward to seeing each other again. Also, you never know what might happen. People pass away suddenly all the time. Don't let your last words to your spouse be something you might regret later.
3. Don't expect your mate to make you happy. It is not our responsibility to make sure our mate is a happy person. That is too big a burden for anyone to bear. Of course, we should try not to cause our mate to be unhappy. (Some people seem bent on doing the most they can to disrupt harmony.) I think it is important to work on being a happy person ourselves. Remember, "If mama ain't happy, nobody's happy." If you are truly enjoying life, the vibes will spread throughout the home.
4. Don't bring up the past. Don't you hate it when you are around someone who is always bringing up their spouse's past mistakes? If you have resolved past issues, then leave it there, which leads me to my fifth point:
Give each other grace and space. Okay, so my spouse is grouchy today. I have days like that myself. I give him a little space and time to get over it. When I was first married and experienced times when I felt my hubby was upset, I used to pick at him to find out what the trouble could be. (I always thought it was about me.) As I grew and matured, I realized the world did not revolve around me (hello!). He could have things on his mind that had nothing to do with me. Maybe work - or life - has just been pressing upon his mind heavily lately and he just needs some quiet time.
Besides, there is nothing more irritating than someone asking you all the time if there is something wrong!
Really, when I say, give each other grace and space, I mean use the golden rule. If you want to be forgiven easily, or need times of solitude, extend the same courtesy to your spouse. Treat them the way you'd like to be treated.
If we would all do that, we could live happily every after.
What is your secret for a successful marriage? Please share!
This post was written in response to Writer's Workshop prompt 2.) Your top 5 secrets to a successful marriage! Visit Kathy's blog, Mama's Losin It to read more.