A Happy Relationship in Marriage Is Possible
It is not any ancient secret or complicated formula. It does not involve weight and measures or alternating days of the week. It is just a simple two-word saying that you must figure out how to use from time to time. Those two words are "yes dear".
Let's look at a few examples to see how this works.
Time With Friends
Let's suppose that you are approached by your spouse and they share news that their friends are getting together for an event on Friday night - a poker game, a girls night out, or whatever. A common response to this scenario is to feel left behind or resentful that your significant other is choosing to spend that time with friends instead of with you.
If you choose to respond to this news with "yes dear" you have given your spouse permission to enjoy this night. In return, they will allow you the same freedom. This is a good thing. A healthy relationship is one in which partners can happily spend time together and spend time apart. You don't have to spend every moment together to be a couple. You just have to love the time that you do spend together.
It is okay if you have three classes of friends. Those are your friends, your spouse's friends, and your joint friends. This is normal and is how things have worked for your entire life. Now that you are in a relationship this did not change. Allow yourself, and your spouse, to have friends that are not part of the "we". You both have unique interests and these outlets for those interests are important to keep you happy.
Just as time with friends is important, time without friends and without your spouse is important too. Every person has a hobby, interest, or routine that they enjoy doing alone. Yours might be hanging out in the garage, gardening, reading a book, or jogging down a trail.
Whatever your alone time involves, that is important time for you and your spouse will have similar needs as well. When they tell you they are going to do their alone thing, it is good to respond with a "yes dear". Allow them the time to be alone. These moments of solitude bring peace and clarity to many people and make them more present when you are together.
In fact, if you don't have time like this in your weekly routine you would do well to make that time. Even if the kids and work are keeping you crazy busy, finding a bit of alone time each week is great therapy and will improve your mood over the long-term.
The most important time that you can spend to keep your relationship happy is your time together. While it is important to spend time with friends and time alone, time together is the icing on the cake, and you want time for the icing.
Time together should be enjoyable for both of you, but be ready for some give and take. You are going to like some things better, your spouse will like others more, and you may both love other things. Expect that and accept it. Consider, however, that you don't need to do things together that one of you hates. That's where the friend time or alone time can come into play. Dragging each other through experiences that make one of you truly uncomfortable causes strain on the relationship.
Get your time together and spend it on your common interests.
All Things in Moderation
Keep in mind that no amount of your time should be dominated by any one of these three areas. That can, and probably will, lead to stress for both of you.
Spending all of your free time with friends will make your spouse feel unnecessary and invalid. Your relationship will suffer. Spending all of your free time on your personal hobby will leave your spouse wondering why you don't let him or her in. Make that time. Finally, spending all of your time together may very well lead to feelings of being trapped or suffocated. This will lead to resistance over time.
Balance your time appropriately and you can keep things even keeled as time goes on. That means you can't abuse the "yes dear" system. If you went out with friends last weekend, you better not ask this weekend. Get the idea? This will only work if there is a relatively equal amount of give and take. You have to love your spouse enough to give them what they need and not take more than they can give.
The Way it Should Be
Saying "yes dear" to your spouse from time to time doesn't mean giving in to every demand. Not even close, but it does mean that you need to be open to the idea of affording them the freedom to support the relationships with their friends and the time alone that makes so many people tick. A healthy relationship is one where both parties are able to do this for each other.
Master this principal and you can expect a long-lasting and happy relationship.