Marriage is a time honored tradition or a divine institution built on the principle of two people together, forever, living one life. Two becoming one is not just a sex euphemism; it’s an expectation when a couple says “I Do”. The belief that wife and husband transform magically and instantly into one is preposterous. Anyone who has been married at least six months can tell you that the reality of marriage is not as glamorous as it appears on the outside. When two people from different backgrounds smash together to live “happily ever after” the result is an up and down cycle of getting used to each other. That first year is less magical, more turmoil, when trying to work all the kinks out to become an in-sync couple. This dance continues through the lifetime of the marriage. We change and grow so our spouse must choose to change and grow with us. Marriage is designed be a beautiful union of two very different people making the commitment to love and honor their partner.
Sometimes the love and honor part can become tricky when it is all muddled up in daily living. Going here and there in the grind of everyday life the spouse you honor and love can seem as a stranger in short amount of time. Spouses must take time to recognize that a busy life can twist their priorities. Realizing that you have made your spouse take the back burner to your life is the first step to bringing your spouse back to their rightful place in the forefront. When you pledge your life to someone else you must make him or her a priority. Just exactly how does one do that without losing themselves in the process? It’s not easy it’s a delicate balancing act, requiring a strong resolution to make marriage work. The first two years that elated happiness tends to wear off. This doesn’t mean that marriage doesn’t make people happy after a few years, it’s certainly does make one happy but in a different way. A deep relationship that beautifully transforms to un-breaking intimacy leads to a deep seeded sense of happiness in a chaotic world. Times of irritation and strife will come but the calm of knowing that your both committed to each other can calm that sense of panic aiding to the deep happiness of marriage. There are some things that we can do as partners to convey the sense of happiness to our spouse to ensure them they are the priority.
When you are in a hurry to rush out the door always stop and take a moment to say goodbye to your spouse. In that moment, giving a kiss is a way to say I love you, wish I could stay and be with you. When you are running from meeting to meeting stop along the way, pick up the phone, give your spouse a call to just say hello. When you get home give a kiss hello, and then when you are rushing about the house to get things done invite your spouse to help you, or stop and invite them to sit with you. Do things with joy when your spouse is around; show them that you value time with them. Too many times it is easy to just rush through all the things we must accomplish in a day, and when completed we want to sit and just zone out. This sends the message to your spouse that you would rather chill than to interact with them. Pull them close to you during this time. Take the moment to tell them you love them. If you see that your spouse is busy during this time, then maybe do something to help them out. Even just a thank you can go a long way. Losing yourself only comes if you forget your own needs while trying to meet your spouses’ needs.
That first year of marriage when you are adjusting to the new reality of joined lives is hard. One can tend to think that it will be so full of joy with nothing to get in the way. There is joy, lots of joy, but there are two backgrounds coming together to form one life. That’s a tall order. If you marry someone that has abandonment issues you may see that in the way they are clingy. If you marry someone that had parents that were violent then harshness will tend to come out. It’s in the way you handle these differences that can make or break the marriage. Understanding goes a long way in a marriage, knowing your spouse has baggage creates an environment that allows the differences to bloom into a working marriage. Clearly two people that stand at the alter to pledge to love each other (in our culture) want to be together for a lifetime. Holding onto this love and cultivating it to grow and change through the course of a lifetime is the key to a successful marriage. Remembering during the hard times what it is that you love about your spouse can soften those lines of frustration on a worn and weary face.
Sometimes two people can get so lost when they marry they can’t deal with the differences between them. A new bride or groom may feel like they have just married a stranger; fear not this too can be saved. Marriage is hard work, you knew you loved them when you said I do (and if you didn’t well… you must be a little selfish to go through with the marriage) so find that again. Love is more than a feeling, it is a commitment, it is non-selfish actions, and most of all, it takes work. If you’re not willing to work on your marriage, what good are you doing? Leaving a marriage to become stagnate and rot is on your shoulders. Warning — if your spouse isn’t willing to work on the marriage with you evaluate your part in the failing, correct what you can, then it may be time to let it go. Marriage is not one-sided; one person can’t make it work alone, it takes two. If two are not willing to make it work, then there is no chance for success. At that point evaluate what you can and can’t live with it.
Sex is a large part of marriage, believe it or not sexual compatibility can strengthen a marriage. Having a healthy sex life in marriage is one of the many intimate forms of joy. Sex can communicate many things to a spouse. Women need to feel secure in a marriage, sex can fulfill that need. Sex can mend anxiety, promote healing, communicate love in a physical act. Sex can be dangerous too, to promote power of another being, as a tool instead of communication. Sex is a powerful tool that must be used for good in a marriage. Sex should never feel forced in marriage; it should be a mutual obtainment of satisfaction. Sex can be a healing measure in marriage, or it can be the ultimate enemy in the event of stepping outside the marriage bed. In our modern society the concept of making love can be lost on a newly married couple. We tend to have sex before we get married these days, this can make the intimate nature of sex a little less magical in marriage. Understanding that making love just means pleasing your partner during sex. Leave the feelings of guilt of not saving yourself for marriage is the first step to learning to make love with your spouse. Understand everyone has different likes and dislikes in the bedroom adds to the joy of sex in marriage. You should be comfortable enough with your partner to show and tell them what you need and like. If it is not in your personality to be outspoken when it comes to sex, step out of your comfort zone, you will then unlock the sexual key in marriage mutual pleasure.
Clearly communication is a giant factor in marriage. This is a skill that has to be learned over time. We all communicate differently and most of communication is taught by modeling in the families we grew up in. When you enter a marriage you have relearn communication to benefit your marriage. Learning the way your spouse communicates takes time. For instance, a smack on the butt from your spouse might be a way of saying I love you, or appreciation of your assets. Understanding the communication short comings of your spouse also help strengthen your marriage. If your spouse has trouble conveying an idea or thought by verbal word thought they communicate well through written word, give them the chance to write. Be sure to read what they wrote to understand what they are conveying to you. If your spouse is plagued by insecurities, learn to pick up the cues of when that insecurity is rearing its head. Communication is a delicate dance of words, gestures and unspoken thoughts floating about trying to put a cohesive thought together.
Marital happiness is a journey not a destination, stop and enjoy the ride. There will be days when everything your spouse does annoys you. There will also be days when you feel ignored by your spouse. Peaks and valleys are normal in marriage, ride them out, remember the love you share.