Hello friends! How is your happily ever after going? How much happiness in your marriage do you have? You know, you meet the perfect guy, date, get engaged, tie the knot, along come kids and life and suddenly the charm of happily ever after does not seem quite as sparkly as it once did. How do you keep that from happening? How do you keep the spark alive? I am about to celebrate my 14 year anniversary with my husband and I can honestly say that he is the love of my life and I do not want to even think about what my life would be like without him.
I’d like to share with you some things that I have learned about happy marriages in our 14 years, in the hopes that you can take it and make yours better. I want you to have all the happiness in marriage that you possibly can!
Key #1 for Happiness in Marriage: Communication
That sounds rather drab, doesn’t it? Communication is the first key to happiness in marriage that comes to mind and it is certainly one of the most important. So often, we get so drawn into our daily lives that we forget to stop and connect with our spouse. It was easier when it was just 2 of you, but now there are kids, jobs, and a ton of different things going on. It seems when no one was looking you became more like business partners. You tell each other about the events that happened each day, inform one another of appointments and important events, but that’s not really connecting. It is communication, yes, but with your spouse, it needs to go deeper.
Your Spouse Should Be Your BFF
Your spouse should be your best friend and your confidant. He/she should be the one that you tell everything to. This includes your FEELINGS, thoughts, hopes, and dreams. To achieve happiness in your marriage you have to share these things with each other. Is something driving you nuts? Is there something on your mind? Did something he said last week hurt your feelings? Do you want to take a vacation to the beach with the kids this year? Would you eventually like to start your own business? These are the things that you need to talk about with your spouse!
Turn off the electronics, and just sit and talk from time to time. For us, this does not happen every night. Sometimes he’s tired from a long day at work and he just wants to eat supper and veg out. I get that. On those days, I tell him what I need to tell him, and we talk for a bit, but when he and I are exhausted is not the time for a heart to heart. Pick a time when you are both not too tired and are in a receptive frame of mind. Use active listening techniques. Try to understand each other and connect.
Key #2 for Happiness in Marriage: Make Your Marriage a Priority
For myself and my husband, we are each other’s life goal. Let me explain that a bit. One of my life goals was finding “Mr. Right” and his was finding “Mrs. Right”. When you have searched and prayed to find your spouse, you make it a priority to keep your spouse. I am not looking for another husband because I am perfectly happy with the one that I have. I don’t lust after other men, and he does not lust after other women. This may not be a popular point of view, but we have found it key to happiness in our marriage. There is no competition. It is just him and me forever.
We are committed to keeping our marriage intact and to making it work. Divorce is not a possibility that we consider. We are both in this for life.
When you make something a priority, you invest time and money into it, and marriage is no different. We do invest a lot of time and money in each other by going on dates and making it a point to reconnect and talk to each other. We spend money on family vacations. (Which this year will be camping, but it’s still a time and money investment.) Our marriage comes before our kids. One of the BEST things that you can do for your kids is to love your spouse. It shows them what a happy relationship looks like and how to treat someone. It helps to give them a sense of stability.
Key #3 for Happiness in Marriage: Joint Values
I think one of the major reasons that we have so much happiness in our marriage is that we have joint values. That was important to me when I was looking for a husband. I wanted someone that shared my values. Decide which ones are most important to you. For us, putting God first and serving the Lord is our top priority. On Sunday morning, we are in church unless someone is sick. Even when we are on vacation, we make it a point to go to church and to make sure that our kids are there.
We have a very loving and supportive church family. I believe that when the kids go through rough times in their lives they will remember that God is always there for them. We try to teach them the same Christian values that we believe in. Because we are united in this, it gives the kids a definite sense of right and wrong as well as stability.
Which things are important to you and your spouse? What similar values do you share that shapes your lives? Joint values give not only your kids a sense of stability, but also you. Grown-ups need stability in their lives too. I need to know that whatever comes our way, my husband and I will be united in facing those challenges. We have similar values and we are committed to tackling everything that comes our way together.
Key #4 for Happiness in Marriage: Focus on Happiness Rather than Stuff
All the minimalists are probably rejoicing at that statement. It is a key to a happy and successful marriage. I remember when my husband and I were first married, we had just finished buying a house and we were BROKE. Broke as in…. had it not been for wedding gifts, we would not have been able to pay our bills broke. We had a table that my grandfather had dug out to the trash and I had re-done, but we had no chairs, so we were sitting on a hand-me-down computer chair and a very rickety antique stool because those were the only chairs in the house at the time.
Do you know what I remember most about that time though? It is not the lack of stuff that we had. We were grateful for what we did have. At that point, we were the happiest that we had ever been in our entire lives. We were simply grateful for the things that we did have. We had a table and food to eat, we had a very tiny house to live in, we had internet, and we were MARRIED. Life was good. We had each other and 2 heads full of dreams. To us, that was all that we needed.
When you focus on happiness rather than stuff, you become happier. It is no secret that gratitude is a big factor in happiness. We were focused on what we did have and we figured that all those things that we needed would come in due time. Stuff is just stuff. It comes and goes. Your spouse and lifelong relationships you form lasts a lifetime.
Key # 5 for Happiness in Marriage: Set Joint Goals
You can achieve your dreams. It is a matter of setting goals. When you are married, those goals need to be JOINT goals. My husband and I love to dream together. When we set goals we discuss them and figure out what direction we want to go, and then we set JOINT goals.
For example, this year for home improvements we decided to get our 2nd bathroom up and functioning. It has been an ongoing project that we have been completing as we have had money to do it. However, there were other things that we could have done with the money. We discussed several options but together decided that it would be REALLY nice to not have to walk across the entire house in the middle of the night to get to the restroom.
These joint goals work out much better than if we had made the decision on our own and had gone separate ways. I would hate to have half a bathroom and half a roof! Together we had to evaluate which one was the more pressing goal and decide which one to go after. This helps us with happiness in our marriage because it keeps us functioning on the same page.
Key # 6 for Happiness in Marriage: Always Consider the Other Person
When I was talking about this post with my husband, I had originally put this as “Always put the other person first.” However, as he pointed out always putting the other person first has potential drawbacks as well. When one person always gives and gives, putting the other one first, and the other person always takes and takes, it becomes unhealthy. You have to have a healthy amount of giving and taking in any relationship.
The Boat and My Personal Struggle the Other Day
When you are making decisions, always consider the other person and their thoughts, feelings, and wishes. For example, my husband had a small fishing boat that we had not used in some time. It was just sitting in the yard. We had discussed it and decided that we wanted to sell the boat since we had recently purchased a camper. However, my husband was too busy to do anything with it. So I got out and sanded it and repainted it and replaced the board a the top, as well as took the trailer to the trailer shop to get the wheels redone. After it was all fixed up, we sold it this spring.
It was his boat, so I wanted him there to do the transaction, which he was, and he got the money because it was his boat. I told him that he could do whatever he wanted with it because it had been his boat, after all. But this little voice started eating at me saying “But you did all the work to restore it. You should have some of it too.” I hate little thoughts like that!
What He Was Actually Planning and How I Messed Up
As much as I tried to shove that voice away, it just kept on coming back and it ate at my good mood. I tried talking about it with my husband, but he was cryptic. (Which should have been a clue). I kept at him until he finally confessed his plan to me, and then felt awful because I had ruined his surprise. He brought me home a laptop and then spent the rest of the money on something smaller that he had been wanting. Most of the money DID go towards the very laptop that I am typing this on.
He was considerate of me because he knew that I wanted a laptop and was getting to the point that I needed one to continue working on the blog when we go camping and other places. I tried to be considerate of him because I didn’t sell the boat out from under him, and involved him in the process plus told him that he could do as he pleased with the money. Too bad my actions didn’t back my words up on that. I dropped the ball there, but hopefully, you get my point. You don’t always have to put the other person first, but do always consider them when making a decision. Decisions that one family member makes almost always wind up affecting the other family members.
There are many keys to achieving happiness in marriage and I am sure that I have barely scratched the surface. Communicate and connect with your spouse. Your spouse should ideally be your best friend. Be each other’s life goal. Real love does not come around all the time. When you find it, treasure it and protect it. Focus on happiness rather than stuff. Set joint goals, and have joint values. Remember to consider the other person in everything that you do. If you do all these things you are well on the road to happiness in your marriage.