Some people manage to make being married look easy. They are always happy and seem to have it all together. They seem to have the magic formula, some ancient magic dust, that the rest of the world would pay a pretty penny for.
Chances are they do have a formula. But there is no magic involved.
Marriage is like any other working partnership.
It has great times, bad times, and times of indifference. What makes the magic is the commitment. There is no special dust. Just Commitment and work.
Now for the hopeless romantics out there this might feel like a kick in the guts.
And you have every right to ask how I might have the gall to disparage a soulful, perfectly matched relationship by advocating work. Or, how I dare tear apart the hand stitched tapestry of love eternal and relegate it to the ordinary? And, being a romantic myself, I totally get where those questions are coming from.
But the thing is, being a romantic, we often get lost in the emotional element of how we feel things should be and lose sight of how things really are. Burying our heads in the sand and trusting in the intangible that all is well.
If you aren’t ready to work hard and commit to the cause from the moment you say “I do” then you need to stop and have a good hard think. Before you exchange rings.
Like children or pets.
We don’t go around handing our kids back when they enter the terrible two’s, the torturous teens, or discover they don’t need us any more.
Neither should we walk out on our marriages just because our personal interests have changed.
And just because our husband’s will not put their washing away…no matter how many times we ‘remind’ them… is not a good enough reason to fall out of love with them.
As much as it would be lovely to base our marital strength on the good times alone, life just isn’t that perfect.
Utopia is a myth.
The strength of a marriage is understood only after you have successfully worked through adversity.
Standing together as a united front to face the onslaught and coming out the other side, weathered but so much stronger.
How that adversity manifests will be different for every couple, but there are some common hurdles that everyone will face.
Finances will nearly always create friction in one way or another, loss of income, over spending, secret accounts, gambling addictions…you name it, if money is involved you can be certain it will interfere with the love nest at some point.
The household chores seem inconsequential yet amount to many of the petty grievances expressed by couples.
I know I have a few petty gripes that get under my skin, and from time to time expose themselves in embarrassing outbursts of uncontrolled childish ranting.
So how, do we get the work done? How do we enhance our marriages and become the couple that others covet?
5 easy ways you can enhance your marriage:
1. FOCUS IN THE GOOD THINGS
Try focussing on the things you love about each other, or the things that drew you together in the first place.
Often we fall into the trap of focusing on all the negative aspects of our partners personality and we forget about the things that were endearing to us in the beginning.
So instead on focusing on how OCD your partner is, embrace the neatness and let him go for it; less for you to do 😉
And instead of complaining that your partner never wants to just stay at home, embrace the knowledge that he is a social person, which is why you fell for him in the first place.
2. DON’T TAKE YOUR LOVE FOR GRANTED
“In a time when nothing is more certain than change, the commitment of two people to one another has become difficult and rare. Yet, by its scarcity, the beauty and value of this exchange have only been enhanced.”
It’s is an old cliché but I think the most important lesson we can ever learn is to live each day as though it is your last.
Now because we are talking relationships, I don’t mean that you both need to be out and about doing extreme ironing together every day. Although if that is your thing, who am I to stop you.
I think when it comes to building a strong and lasting relationship, the way the quote above applies is simply this; you can’t hold a grudge.
We have to make amends for whatever it is that has ‘got your goat’ before the end of the day, and not carrying the animosity over into subsequent days.
It is harmful and can turn your love toxic which can be catastrophic unless you realise what is happening and make the necessary changes.
We each need to be actively engaged in our relationships, we need to love each other like there is no tomorrow, talk to each other as if it is the last conversation we will ever hold and try to keep ‘life’ from clouding our perspective and getting in our way.
Life is short, don’t wait for a tragedy in your life to help you realise how important your loved ones are to you.
Tell them everyday with your words but more importantly, show them everyday with your actions.
3. SAY “I LOVE YOU”
“I love you more than blue Smarties.”
People often get complacent about their relationships, and like lesson one, we should never take each other for granted.
We often forget to say the simple words ‘I love you’.
Often making the assumption that the other person ‘already knows’ we love them, and of course they probably do.
But as individuals it lifts us up when we actually hear the words and can make the day ahead seem bearable just because we know there is someone out there that cares enough about us to say so, and that can make the world of difference.
Of course feel free to say it as many times as you can fit into one day without being creepy.
You never know what effect those three simple works might have, and not just by making your partner feel happy.
Imagine the pain you would feel if something terrible happened to your husband and he was never coming home again. It’s morbid to talk about, but it happens.
Now, imagine the effect on you if the last thing you said was negative in some way or just a bit off hand.
You would feel that guilt for the rest of your life, mourning that missed opportunity to tell your man just what he means to you, one last time.
But none more than our choice to inhibit our expressions of love.
4. LAUGH, THEN LAUGH SOME MORE
“Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.”
~ Victor Borge
Laughter makes people feel happier. It helps release the endorphins that make us feel good.
Learning to laugh at yourself is vital to your own mental health and learning to laugh together at your various misfortunes is unifying.
Laughing at ridiculous dad jokes helps maintain the fragile male ego which can be easily crushed if you are not careful.
Learning to laugh in the face of adversity can also help you get through some of the tougher times you will face in your relationship.
Mounting debt from mortgages, loss of income from redundancy or injury and additional costs from a growing family can all contribute a sense of hopelessness, and in some cases serious anxiety and depression.
My husband and I both deal with the stresses of our lives in different ways, but the one thing we have in common is a sense of humour, and when things get really hard one of us will lift the other through the magical, mystical powers of laughter.
My husband is a naturally grumpy old bastard, so it takes a bit more work on my behalf to get him back on track. But one way or another it is laughter that has worked for us every time.
Beyond your relationship with your husband is the one with your children. Laughter in the home builds strong emotional development in children, giving them one more tool to help them get through the tough times in their lives.
Laughter can bring you and your spouse closer together through fun, intimate play. It aligns you emotionally enhancing your intimacy.
And who doesn’t want more intimate moments in their relationship.
So, It’s win win when you wear a grin.
5. SWALLOW, IT WON’T KILL YOU
“Clinton lied. A man might forget where he parks or where he lives, but he never forgets oral sex, no matter how bad it is.”
~ Barbara Bush
Yes, you read that correctly. And yes, I know the thought of ‘old people’ even sleeping in the same room will give some of you nightmares, let alone exchanging body fluids.
But here’s a news flash, an extremely important part of a healthy relationship, and a long lasting one, is a healthy sex life.
And part of that is being playful and willing to try new things.
I know it is often quite awkward broaching the subject when you have been together for a few years, or even when you are starting out.
But if you can’t flirt with your own husband, and try a few new tricks, who the hell are you going to do it with.
OK, raging assumption that you are not in a legal polygamist relationship. 😉
The thing is, it’s not debasing to get down on your knees, and any fella worth keeping understands the gift you are giving him.
In fact, I feel that far from being debasing, it is empowering. You hold the power in your hands, pardon the pun, when you give these gifts.
There is nothing more beautiful that a woman who is confident in her own skin and embraces her sexuality.
Plus, rumour has it it is a great protein booster, so it will help with your health.
Who knows where it will take you both.
Until next time,
Stay safe, love life and be happy.