It’s fair to say that when most people get married, they hope for happily ever after. Why enter such a serious commitment if you aren’t in it for the long haul? And why say, “I do,” unless you plan on sharing days of joy with the one you chose?
Although talks about high divorce rates and infidelity can make people think happy marriages are only on TV, that just isn’t true. Happy marriages are everywhere. Your definition of happiness may be different from another couple’s, but as long as both people in a marriage are happy, that’s all that matters.
All over the world couples are growing together, working through challenges, and doing what it takes to make their marriages happier and stronger with each passing year.
Love is a beautiful thing, but it’s not enough to keep a marriage happy or make it last. For that, you need more.
So what’s the secret behind the happily married couples out there? How do they make things work?
Here are 9 things that happily married couples don’t do. I’m not sure how much of a secret they are, but staying clear of these things definitely seems like a great step towards happily ever after.
1. Fight Dirty
When couples fight dirty, no one ever wins. If you get into an argument with your spouse, try to stick to the topic at hand. Hurting feelings, being mean, and bringing up old stuff never helps and always leaves someone feeling small. That’s not an effective way to work through any conflict.
2. Over share
When you have an issue with your spouse, sharing that with the world is not the way to work through your issue. When you tell your friends and family about all the mistakes your spouse has made, they will always look at your spouse through that tainted lens. It’s okay to lean on friends and family for support, but sharing it all just isn’t necessary.
3. Shut down
When conflict arises, some of us have an impulse to shut down. But try not to. It’s okay to request a little time and space so you can process what’s going on, but shutting down and ignoring your spouse and the issue can lead to more pain.
4. Point Fingers
When things go wrong, the best way forward is to look at the role you played, if any, and think about a way to move forward. Time spent placing blame and pointing fingers doesn’t help anyone heal. If each person takes personal responsibility for the role they played, there is no need to ever point fingers.
5. Demand Things
Your spouse is there to love and support you, and in doing so they may do things for you quite often. What they don’t need is a list of demands from you. Demanding behavior typically leads to someone feeling resentful and under-appreciated.
When you marry someone, you have to be man or woman enough to tell the truth. Lies tend to lead to more lies and that can spin out of control. The foundation of a happy marriage is trust and there can be no trust if someone has proven himself or herself to be a liar.
7. Neglect Self-Improvement
Marriages don’t work well if you are only focused on pleasing your partner, but never focused on improving yourself. It’s important to make your spouse happy, but you have to learn how to make yourself happy.
The happiest couples take care of each other, but they also dedicate time to self-care. When you neglect yourself and begin to suffer, your marriage suffers, too.
8. Withhold affection
Affection is at the cornerstone of all great marriages, and what that looks like is different for each couple. But as long as both parties are happy, that is all that matters. Being upset or angry with your spouse doesn’t mean you need to withhold affection to prove a point. It means you to need to invest time into making your marriage stronger.
9. Give up
Most happily married couples don’t give up easily. Being happily married doesn’t mean you have never run into hard times. Some of the happiest couples have faced incredibly tough times during their marriages. However, despite the tough times, these couples have learned how to stand strong and hold on—believing that better days will come.