There is no such thing as a perfect marriage or relationship. No matter how strong you think that you and your other half are, there will always be ways for you to be a better partner.
In this post, I will lay out the ten most important components that make a healthy and strong partnership, whether you have been married for 20 years or just in the early stages of a new relationship.
If you can nail even a few of these then you will immediately see a stronger connection between you and your significant other.
10 Tips for a Happy and Healthy Marriage
Listen to what your partner has to say. Give them your full attention and make sure they know that you care about what they have to say. Discuss with them what makes them happy, what’s a source of stress in their life, where they want to go in the future and perhaps even take time to ask them what you do that annoys them.
It’s important to communicate with your other half effectively to ensure that you are both on the same page about important matters and strong communication will build the bond between you for a relationship that is made to last.
Your partner needs to know that they come first to you. A strong foundation of trust and respect for one another is essential if your relationship is going to stand the test of time. Physical attraction or common interests might be what initially draws you to somebody, but if a relationship is going to last until old age then you need more than that.
Having confidence that your partner will remain loyal to you, and you to them in return will eliminate trust issues and give you the peace of mind to let one another grow as individual people outside of your love for each other. If you can’t trust that your other half will always stand by your side and put you first then why are you still with them?
DON’T GO TO SLEEP ON AN ARGUMENT
I like to live by this rule in all relationships, not just with my boyfriend. A lesson my mum taught me when I was very young was to never go to sleep without resolving an argument.
If you go to bed with issues from the day left unresolved, it is going to play on your mind until the subject comes up again, which could be the next day or another month away. The longer you leave those thoughts to stay in your mind without talking them through, the more you will overthink and escalate the scenario in your head.
One minute the original argument was about the fact that your husband never helps out with the dishes, and before you know it, you have let those feelings brew in your mind for days. Now you have blown it so out of proportion that you’re having a full-blown argument about how you “feel that he doesn’t respect you, and you’re treated like a servant and why does he think he can spend all day playing golf with his mates while you’re at home doing ALL the housework blah blah blah?!”
What started as a simple conversation that needed to be had to make you feel more supported with the housework is now likely to turn into a heated row.
So try to resolve any disagreements as quickly as you possibly can. Don’t put off the discussion because the conversation will play on your mind non-stop. You will not be able to focus fully on important things and when the conversation does inevitably come up again, it will be much more unpleasant than it ever needed to be.
FORGIVE AND APOLOGISE
Learn to forgive your partner when they make mistakes, and learn to apologise when it’s you that’s in the wrong. We are all human. We all make mistakes, say the wrong thing and make the wrong choices from time to time.
In most cases, these situations can and should be forgiven if the person is truly sorry and has learned from the experience. I am not advising that you forgive infidelity, violence, or serious wrongdoing: what I mean is don’t hold trivial matters against your partner for an extended period of time.
AGREE TO DISAGREE
There will be topics that you will disagree on. No two people have the same opinion on every single subject – and that’s ok! How boring would life be if everybody thought in the same way?
There are going to be times that you simply can’t agree on a topic – what’s important is that you both behave reasonably in these situations. Relationships are about give and take – sometimes you will win the argument and other times you will need to be able to let them have this one.
Try to see things from your partner’s point of view even if you don’t have the same opinion on the matter. Be rational and try to look at things through their eyes. It can be much easier for a person to be at peace with losing an argument if they at least feel that you have made the effort to see their point of view.
However, remember that there is a big difference between compromise and sacrifice. If your partner expects you to completely stop going out with friends or family so you can spend more time looking after the kids then that is unreasonable. You shouldn’t be expected to sacrifice your own rights and happiness to please somebody else.
ALLOW EACH OTHER SPACE
Give each other time and space to do the things that make you both happy. It’s healthy to have your own hobbies and interests and your partner should celebrate this as its part of what makes a person who they are. A part of the reason you fell for this person in the first place was probably because you found it interesting or impressive that they were great at golf, painting, DIY or whatever it is.
So don’t begrudge your lover the time they need to themselves to spend doing the things that bring them joy. Occasional time apart is also a great way to remember how to appreciate one another – if you’re together night and day then you’re sure to get complacent after a while, but when you spend time apart it makes the heart grow fonder.
You also need to remember that your partner may need space to heal if you have had a falling out or you have hurt their feelings. This doesn’t mean they’re holding a grudge against you, but sometimes even when you have forgiven a person for upsetting you, you still want to spend some time alone to heal rather than carrying on as normal immediately.
So give your other half the space they need to be their own person, and take the time to enjoy being on your own too so that you can both grow successfully as individuals as much as you need to grow as partners.
SUPPORT EACH OTHER’S GOALS
One of the things that is so wonderful about being in a relationship is having a constant supporter of whatever it is that you want to achieve. There is nothing more rewarding than the feeling that your partner encourages you to pursue your passions and will be behind you every step of the way.
We all become demotivated at times, and when this happens it’s important to have somebody in our life to steer us back on the right path and remind us what it is that we are supposed to be focusing on.
Make sure you’re backing your other half at all times to go after their dreams. Pay an interest in their work or hobbies and see if there are ways that you might be able to get involved and help them along the way.
There is nothing that will make them love you more than them knowing that you are behind them 100% in everything they do.
QUIT MIND GAMES
Stop playing mind games with your significant other. If something has upset you then just come out and say it, and if you’re not happy for any reason then be honest. You’re never going to achieve anything by trying to communicate through mixed messages, signals or mind games.
Playing around with other people’s emotions is extremely unhealthy – it’s a very manipulative way to treat the person you are supposed to love and a large sign of insecurity in yourself.
Many people will play mind games in relationships because they have been hurt or betrayed in the past. However, you should not assume that your new partner is going to treat you the same way as your previous partners. If you can’t yet get over past experiences then you need to reconsider whether or not you are ready to be in a new relationship.
SPEND QUALITY TIME TOGETHER
Spending quality time with your partner is the best part of being in a relationship. So make sure that you are making time for each other and making memories together.
Whether it’s arranging a date night once a month, watching a movie on the sofa together or even just spending ten minutes at the end of the night talking about your day and chatting about whatever’s on your mind, make the effort to make an effort.
We all have busy lives and can get caught up with work, kids and other commitments, but if you don’t make time for you and your lover to be with each other alone then you will begin to feel resentment and as though you’re not a priority in their life.
UNDERSTAND THEIR QUIRKS
Everybody has little unique qualities that make them who they are. Some of these qualities will be their best trait, and some might not be so favourable. But there will be equally as many things that annoy your partner that you do as things that they do that grate on your nerves.
So make allowances and learn to live with the characteristics that make up the person you fell in love with. If it didn’t annoy you so much in the beginning then it obviously wasn’t a massive issue and you need to learn to tolerate it now.
Whether its that they internalize their emotions sometimes, they leave dirty clothes on the bathroom floor or they have regular mood swings – you’re unlikely to change a person’s habits so you need to learn to live with it or choose to live without them.
To Finish Off…
I hope you enjoyed reading this post and that you will be able to take on board some of this information to strengthen your relationship. If you think there is anything essential to a happy, healthy relationship or marriage that I have missed then I would love for you to start a discussion and let me know in the comments below!