Simple Advice From A Woman Who Plans On Reaching Her 50th Wedding Anniversary
From the moment I accepted the diamond ring everyone I knew had advice on how to stay married and survive fifty years of marriage with success. We currently live in a country where there is more than a fifty percent divorce rate and it's only looking worse as time goes on. Before saying "I do," I made sure to ask those I trusted to offer advice on how to stay married fifty years or until death do us part. Not only was I surprised at some advice gathered, some seemed too simple and too difficult. I can say with confidence I've been happily married for over a year and a half and have given most of the credit to the advice I remember from those around me. You may be saying to yourself that a year and half isn't something to boast about in marriage but I will confidently counter attack your reasoning by simply saying two words: Kim Kardashian.
To aid in remembering these vital ways to stay married I've created an acronym that spells out "Stay Married." In the best of cases people would be seeking to stay happily married but unfortunately my guess is if you're researching this on Google you'll be content with successful advice regarding simply "staying married." Make sure to read through the article to find some great resources that I've compiled below and remember Ben Franklin once said "Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, half shut afterwards."
Sharing stories in a marriage brings you closer and allows you to get to know a part of your spouse you haven't met before. Take time to share stories about your childhood, your day at work, your hopes, and your fears. It may feel strange at first telling stories about waking up on Christmas morning as a four year old or braking your foot in high school playing soccer but before you know it you and your significant other will enjoy listening to these stories and feel closer.
T-ell the Truth
There isn't room for white lies in marriage. Tell the truth always. Most marital issues stem from trust problems. Get into the habit of telling the truth all the time. If you struggle with extreme exaggeration or small white lies discuss this with your spouse and work together. Sometimes in our society we don't realize we aren't telling the truth in day to day discussions regarding simple tasks. Be reflective and commit to be honest with one another all the time.
Whether you're a female or a male-listen. When one feels listened to they feel respected, loved, and appreciated. Take time to practice active listening and engage with your husband/wives words and emotions. Don't always speak back or jump to conclusions. Simply listen and support them for as long as they need.
Better yet, don't yell at all. We all know you and your spouse will have arguments from time to time. Use the common advice of counting to ten or taking a break from speaking to one another to gather your thoughts. When one yells the other person becomes defensive and heightens their voice as well. Yelling doesn't solve anything and although it may feel great in the moment-usually hurtful words and actions result. Also make a point to avoid marriage "bad words" such as: hate, leave, worthless, and divorce. My husband and I actually have committed to one another never to use the "d-word." This helps us in our arguments and allows us to trust one another while discussing hard issues instead of being distracted by empty threats and manipulations.
M-ake Time for One Another
Time is vital to our day to day functioning and can make or break a marriage. If you are like any other busy American chances are you have jobs, kids, community/religious activities, and other things that take time away from spending alone time with your spouse. Do not just wait for opportune times to invest time with your spouse-make them. Plan dates, schedule appointments, and protect your time with one another. Don't allow other things to get in the way of your Monday night dinner or Sunday afternoon walk. What might "feel" like a good reason to skip out from time together might not be. Pay close attention.
A-gree to Disagree
You're not going to agree on everything. You can make your marriage work and stay married by agreeing to disagree. Whether it's religious views, politics, or money work together as much as possible and then let it go. You married your spouse because you love them and enjoy them, not because they are your clone.
R-un the Home Together
Take turns running the home together. Pick your favorite chores and do them. Work side by side and communicate what is working and what isn't. Do not fall into a stereotypical sexist mindset and allow one another the freedom to experiment with what you do best around the home. You may be surprised to find that your wife cuts the lawn better than you or your husband makes a better souffle to take to the neighbors.
Discuss what respect means with one another. Once you have a good working definition of respect-give it! Many marriages end because one partner doesn't feel respected. It is important to remember that respect is different for everyone. That being said, respect usually includes honesty, listening, and trusting.
Have sex! Have lots of sex! Intimacy keeps a marriage going when times are difficult. There will be days you don't feel like having sex-do it anyways. Not only is sex good for your relationship; it reduces stress by releasing endorphins. Initiating intimacy tells your spouse they are desired and loved. Do this as much as possible.
E-njoy Other Company/Have Your Own Friends
Don't rely on one another for all of your encouragement, entertainment, or emotional support. Find and invest in other relationships in your life. Married people who have friends usually stay married longer because they have separate interests and activities. This also gives you and your significant other more to talk about!
D-on't Entertain Drama
You know that friend that is always upset about something ridiculous? Don't be them. From the beginning of your marriage don't entertain drama. Simply don't make much out of things that don't deserve your time and energy. Some married couples get bored and make up arguments just for entertainment. This can become a very deadly habit and result in communication issues and ultimately divorce. Find entertainment through doing things together such as: hiking, skiing, playing board games and volunteering.
In conclusion the above acronym will provide you with simple (but sometimes difficult) ways to stay married. I would suggest printing this article out and putting it somewhere you will see it everyday. Discuss these simple steps with your partner and work together towards a longer, healthier marriage. I hope one day to be able to return and confirm this advice on my fiftieth wedding anniversary.