I think that marriage is important and though not always easy I think that marriage is worth the effort I’ve put into it. I hope that my daughter grows up and is able to experience a happy and successful marriage of her own. First there are some things I want her to know about marriage. Her dad and I have been married for almost 12 years and together for 17 years so I think that I have some ideas of what needs to take place and what I want to teach my children about marriage as they grow up.
Marriage is a complicated thing and I want to do my best to give our daughter and any future children an example of a happy and healthy marriage so they can have their own one day. This list wont mention everything but just what I think are important lessons for them to know about marriage as they grow up. I will also teach them that sometimes you can’t save a marriage and that you shouldn’t stay in an abusive or unhealthy marriage. That’s not in the list but of course I want them to understand those things as well.
1 There is no formula for a perfect match in a relationship
I have seen so many marriages that shouldn’t work because people have this idea that there is an ideal formula for a happy marriage. There isn’t. Some couples just seem to work even if they got together too young, are too far apart in age, come from very different backgrounds, didn’t date long enough before marriage, etc.
It t really doesn’t seem to matter though. I want my children to know that when they find the person that they think they are meant to be with that none of those reasons means that it wont work. It might take extra effort to get through those issues but it’s not impossible. My husband and I started dating in high school we have had plenty of people tell us we wouldn’t work.
2. Look for something positive in your spouse to get you through the difficult times
There are going to be hard times where the person you married drives you insane and you feel like you can’t stand them. That’s pretty normal. So in those times where things are really rough do your best to remember the moments that it was good. When they were really there for you and you were so in love. Those good moments will help you work through the bad times.
3. It’s about having more good times than bad not perfection
I’ve witnessed many good marriages, many bad marriages a few awful marriages and a couple great marriages. What I have never seen is a perfect marriage, they don’t exist because neither of you are perfect so together you aren’t going to be perfect.
It’s about finding a way to have more good times and happy moments than bad times and negative moments. I want to look at my marriage and I hope my children can look at theirs someday and say it was more good than bad. I was happy more than I wasn’t.
4. Don’t broadcast your relationship on social media
This is really so important I believe. Not that you can’t or shouldn’t ever say anything negative about your marriage but try to keep your marriage off of social media. You can always talk to people privately. You are only sharing one side of the story and you don’t know how others are going to interpret or read into what you are sharing. I think it’s just best to not bad mouth your spouse publicly even if you think they deserve it in the moment.
5. Keep your fights clean and don’t get mean
It is going to happen. You are going to fight and argue in your marriage, you just will. I’m pretty happy most of the time in my marriage and I hope my husband would tell you the same. We argue though from time to time and over the years we’ve set up guidelines for keeping the arguments clean and not letting them get out of hand.
For us that means no name calling, trying not to swear at each other (though it sometimes happens), no throwing things and never letting it get violent. The point of an argument or to deal with an issue and sometimes that gets heated or intense but we don’t let it get ugly or mean.
6. Tell each other the truth, it prevents so many problems
Just tell the truth and don’t lie to each other. As simple as that. If you tell a lie it breaks down trust. That can be so hard if not impossible to gain back. So just tell the truth from the start. That means not doing things you’ll feel the need to lie about. Which is what is best for your marriage and just any relationship you have even non romantic ones.
7. Enjoy simple times together, not every moment has to be a big deal
Some of the best moments in my marriage are just simply hanging out together. Watching tv, talking about things going on in our life, eating a meal stuff like that. Television and movies give the impression that happy relationships are all overly romantic all the time and every moment should be super special and big.
That’s just not possible to sustain that level over years and years of marriage. It’s important to find simply things that you enjoy together that you can do all the time.
8. Let yourself depend on your spouse sometimes
This was one thing that I didn’t understand for a long time in marriage. I thought it was weak to need to depend on my husband and that it wasn’t good for a marriage to be dependent. You don’t want to become so dependent that you can’t do things on your own but you need to be able to lean on them for support and help. They are your partner in life and you want to know they will help you and you will help them.
9. Talk through any misunderstandings so they don’t become bigger issues
Since you are both different people who look at the world in unique ways things are going to happen that you don’t see the same. This can lead to problems and issues of hurt feelings and misunderstandings. So talk things out and deal with them as they come up.
If you ignore it or just continue to see things your way instead of dealing with these issues will cause them to become problems that will be harder to fix later on. So talk it out and get to an understanding about the issue.
10. Have fun and be playful
Life is tough at times and can be very stressful. Try to make marriage fun when you can and be playful with each other. Joke around and tease. Make the time to laugh and play. You marriage will be happier and more successful if it’s a break from the stress and messiness of life not a part of it. It won’t always be fun but do what you can.
11. Understand that you need to compromise at times
Of course your way works for you, it’s your way. They feel the same about their way of doing things. You are a couple though and you need to find a way to mix the two or find a whole new way of doing things. It’s not always fun or easy but learning to compromise will help keep thing fair and get rid of some major resentment on both sides.
12. Realize that neither of you is perfect and that’s ok
As I mentioned no one is perfect and if you expecting to find that perfect spouse and have a perfect marriage with no conflict or issues then you are setting yourself up for disappointment. If you are honest you realize that you are not perfect and you have flaws so why expect to find someone without their own flaws?
Be patient with your spouse and with your spouse. Try to learn from past mistakes and grow from them but don’t expect or look for perfection.
13. Don’t bad mouth your spouse to your family and friends
This goes along with #4 of not broadcasting your relationship on social media. In a relationship it’s important to not bad mouth the person you are with to other people in your life. Not saying you can’t ever vent. It’s when you tell them every little bad thing your spouse does that it becomes a problem.
Then the people in your life don’t like your spouse and have a really negative opinion of them and that creates all kinds of tension and stress on your relationship. So make sure your friends and family hear the good stuff they do too. So they get the full picture of them and your relationship.
14. Don’t compare your marriage to someone else’s marriage
All marriages like all the people in them are different so don’t waste your time trying to compare your marriage to another marriage. What works for them probably wont be what works for you and that’s ok. It’s not a competition and we aren’t all supposed to be the same.
I know plenty of happy couples that I know if I tried that or did that in my marriage I’d be miserable. It doesn’t make their relationship bad or mine bad. It’s just different and that’s ok. I’m not in their marriage so it doesn’t have to work for me as long as it works for them.
15. Do take time to reflect on how much your relationship has grown and improved
I have found this to be really helpful and important especially after a really difficult phase of marriage. Being able to look back and acknowledge that we made it through the challenge and the really hard part and did alright. It’s also a good reminder when another challenge comes up that we can make it through this rough patch because we have before.
16. Make the time for dates
I learned this from my parents and is one thing I want to continue in my family and show my children. You have to make time for dates in your marriage. One on one time where the two of you can get away from kids and life for a little while and recharge. We try to do something a couple of times a month, usually a movie or going out to lunch. Just a break for little bit from everything else.
17. Show physical affection for each other
I’m not just talking about sex either though that is an important part of physical affection in marriage. Since these are lessons I want to teach my children about marriage that isn’t really what I’m talking about because at this point I’m not talking to my 9 year old much about sex.
I mean physical affection like kissing hugging, holding hands things like that. Just being affectionate is healthy in marriage and make your relationship happier. We don’t go overboard with PDA’s generally and especially not in front of our daughter. I do think it is important for us to see us kiss and hug though so she will see it as a normal part of a relationship.
18. Keep things in perspective
Not everything is going to be perfect as I’ve mentioned. That’s just part of life. So when things go wrong it’s important to remember to keep things in perspective. Don’t make everything a big deal and be willing to let the little things go and give them the benefit of the doubt.
Sometimes they will be grumpy and sometimes you will be snappy and you will annoy each other. Don’t make it a problem if it doesn’t need to be. Just give them and yourself a break and let it go. If it becomes an issue that needs to be resolved then deal with it. If you try to make every little thing a problem and a fight you won’t be happy. Keep it in perspective does that one snappy comment from either of you really matter in the bigger picture.
19. Be each others biggest supporters and protect them
Your spouse is going to go through hard times and will need your support so be there for them and be their biggest cheerleader through those times. They should be doing the same for you. Having a partner should mean that you have someone in your corner and who will protect you.
If someone is talking bad about them, especially if it someone you know you need to stick up for them and defend them against criticism. Require that they do the same for you. It will make you stronger as a couple and individually if you know they support you and are there for you.
20. Be willing to keep working at it
Marriage will continue to be a work in progress. You will get some things figured out and they will get easier. Life will then send new obstacles and challenges your way for you to figure out and you will have to work on those.
I think anything worth it in life is work though. Being a parent is a lot of work but so worth it for me. Same thing with marriage. A lot of work but I can honestly say that I want to be married and hope to be married for life.
I hope to teach my children all these lessons and more as they grow up and that their dad and I are a good example of working hard for a happy marriage. Not every marriage is a good one but they are possible to have in this day even if it doesn’t seem like it. I hope to continue to show my daughter this as she starts getting into relationships in a few years.