One of the best things about a marriage can also be one of the worst things about it: over time, you and your spouse become very comfortable living together and seeing one another every day. While this is a wonderful thing- after all, few people in your life, if any, will ever share the same level of intimacy and togetherness as your spouse does with you- it can also be a recipe for a decrease in romance, appreciation, and communication as the years go by. Because you wake up next to your spouse each morning and go to sleep beside them each night, over time there is a risk that the two of you will begin to take one another for granted, which can lead to arguments, frustration, and, in the most severe cases, uncontested divorce settlements. Here's what you can do now to ensure that your marriage stays happy and harmonious in the future.
Listen! (No, really- listen!)
We've seen it all a thousand times before, in sitcoms, romantic comedies, and other movies and TV shows depicting married life. One spouse (usually the woman) talks at length about her day, her challenges, and her overall state of mind, only to realize that the other spouse (usually the man) has been glued to the TV, and hasn't heard a single thing! This is a comedic exaggeration of the everyday frustration that can come from not feeling heard by your partner. Listening is a crucial part of communication, and both males and females must be mindful of how well they listen to what their spouses are saying in order to gauge their true emotions. Simply listening to the words your partner says isn't enough, either. Denver Divorce Mediation Service Split Simple recommends couples use "Active Listening" to prevent miscommunication from the start. Active listening means asking questions, offering solutions or suggestions (only if your partner has made it clear she or he could use your help), and generally being there for your spouse. You will be amazed how much you learn and how connected you feel once you begin actively listening to your partner after asking, "How was your day?"
It's the Little Things
As the years go by in a marriage, it can be easy to get a little too comfortable and stop doing the little things you used to do to show your spouse how much they mean to you. This can be especially true once the kids come along- after all, it's hard to make an effort to perform a romantic gesture when you're exhausted and frazzled from a day of caring for a toddler! But it's these times of difficulty when your marriage could use the biggest boost. Just doing something simple, like arranging for a sitter to pop out for a quick dinner for two, or putting away all the dishes so your spouse comes home to an empty dishwasher, can make all the difference between a happy, healthy marriage and one that may be headed for an uncontested divorce.
Fall in Love Again
Remember the first time you saw your spouse? How your heart skipped a beat as you worked up the courage to ask him or her for that first date? As time goes by, it can become hard to remember how you used to feel when you first fell in love. That's why it's crucial to hold on to those emotions throughout your marriage, and to keep those precious memories of your tender beginnings as a couple alive. Try keeping an old picture of the two of you in a special part of your house, where you are sure to see it every day, or frequently listening to "your" song when you're driving in your car on the way to work. By staying mindful of the special place your spouse occupies in your heart, you're more likely to show him or her each day how much they matter to you.
Getting married is easy. Staying married isn't always as simple. By making sure you are mindful of your spouse's feelings, needs, and wants throughout the years, you'll be that much more likely to have a happy, fulfilling marriage for the rest of your lives.