When I think of my wife, I always think of the back of her head. I picture cracking her lovely skull, unspooling her brain, trying to get answers. The primal questions of a marriage: What are you thinking? How are you feeling? What have we done to each other? What will we do?
Not all marriages have to be like Gone Girl and the long winding road of marriage does not always have to be a Nick-Amy story. A happy and successful marriage is not a charm you get on your wedding day, it’s constant working on yourself as a spouse and on the marriage. There is no dilly-dallying when it comes to marriage.
Marriage takes work. Marriage takes commitments even when there are million ways to stray. Marriage is a team work and nothing short of it. And marriage is not devoid of problems – marital problems are very much a reality. If a problem arises, it’s the both of you against the problem; you are not against one another. It’s the small things that matter in a successful marriage, leaving aside the fact, that none of you cheat, lie or deceive the other.
Characteristics of a successful marriage
A happy and successful marriage is characterised by a few factors that hold two people together in this sacred bond. Although there are many characteristics of a successful marriage, we have come up with 4 very critical pillars of a successful marriage.
- Trust: This cannot be stressed enough
- Mutual respect: No relationship can survive without mutual respect. Marriage is about respecting each other through heated arguments, through good days and bad
- Intimacy: Successful marriage needs intimacy. It craves it
- Compromise: Healthy compromise births healthy marriage
Related reading: 13 signs he disrespects you and does not deserve you
15 tips for a successful marriage
A successful marriage is not a myth, infact a marriage that is happy makes for a happy life. Many couples strive to have a marriage that fills their life with happiness, posiivity and love. If you are looking for tips for a successful marriage, you can read and use the below points in your married life. Marriage is a team work and the tips apply to both the spouses. In sickness and in health, here are some tips to help you navigate to a successful marriage.
1. There will be sad days and that’s okay
Not all days will be fairytale stories and unicorns climbing down rainbows kind of days. Mostly because no marriage has happy days always. Know that there will be times when your spouse might be off and distant, or you might be having a hard time loving yourself and your life. But at the end of the day, you have each other to fall back on. So, spend sad days, but together. Spending a not-so-happy day “together” is one of the essentials of a successful marriage.
2. Be kinder
To your partner for the little things gone wrong. To yourself too, because there will be times when you need yourself the most.
3. Learn your spouse’s language
There’s a subtlety in the language married people talk in and they are different from other married people. Learn your spouse’s language. Know what the twitching of the lips means. Does the shoulder shrug mean they are not interested about the given topic of discussion? How do they show adoration? Buying you gifts, washing your clothes, cooking your favourite meal?
Learn what gets to them when they are angry. After you have learnt that, speak their language. One of the many successful marriage tips include knowing what your spouse is feeling by their body language.
Related reading: 5 ways to being best friends with your spouse
Like really listen. Most people tune out of the conversation of a long dragging day. It might seem like a lot when they talk incessantly about what pissed them off during the day but listening to them is half the job. It shows you care a lot about the little things that go on in your spouse’s life.
5. Don’t forget to compliment your spouse about little things
Little things like ‘I want to have the cake you baked last Christmas. It was delicious’. Things like ‘I am sorry’, ‘You look exactly like the day we got married’, ‘You are everything’, are small stuff that do matter, especially in a long-term relationship. Appreciation goes a long way in making a marriage successful.
Related reading: 7 Point Ultimate Happy Marriage Checklist You MUST Follow
6. In an argument, it’s okay to turn the other cheek sometimes
You do not always have to win in an argument. You have to stop arguing at a point, simple. Infact, sometimes, turning the other cheek is the best thing to do in an argument. Marriage is about compromise (anyone who tells you anything different is lying) and not proving yourself correct all the time, is the right way to go.
7. Grow each other rather than the marriage
Help each other grow in the relationship. Help each other become better humans, people with bigger hearts. If you grow better as a person the whole marriage becomes better and stronger in itself.
8. Travel often
Travelling soothes the soul. Every relationship tends to get monotonous in the humdrum of the same place. Travel far and if finances permit, travel often. Diversify in the culture of the travelled place, meet new people and come back home happier and with a nourished soul.
Take this quiz: What is the ideal vacation spot for you and your spouse?
9. Don’t throw the D-word in a heated argument
This is a vital factor that contributes to a successful marriage. Never should you, under any circumstances, no matter how heated the argument gets, use divorce as an ultimatum. While in a marriage you are willing to work for, the D word is a Dementor’s kiss. Your spouse can react in a way you have never imagined if you use divorce as a final statement of terms. Throwing an ultimatum is not a mature way of dealing with a crisis in a marriage.
10. It’s okay to be vulnerable to your spouse
Do not be afraid to show your spouse what scares you, what makes you wake up from sleep in sweats and what triggers your emotions. Showing your vulnerability to your spouse doesn’t make you weak. It makes the marriage stronger for what you lack in will be made up by your partner.
Related reading: I almost got a divorce and then realised I wanted him back
11. Take care of yourself
Take care of how you look. Most people after getting married stop taking care of their body, thinking love knows no face or looks. But that’s not true. Taking care of yourself like you did before getting married, is proof that you are not slacking off in being presentable. It’s a sign that no matter how old you get, you are also willing to work on the marriage.
12. Keep the spark alive
Try date nights to keep the spark alive or erotic massages at home or on the counter sex for breakfast. Sex is an integral part of a successful marriage.
13. Assigning blames won’t help
Do not assign blame for an unpaid bill on your spouse. In a time of crisis, blaming each other is easy, but has serious repercussions later. Saying ‘I told you so’ or ‘You never listen to me’ feels like you are overcompensating for your availability by blaming your partner. But in the heat of the moment, if things do get uttered, do not feel small to apologize.
Related reading: 5 harmless mistakes in a relationship that are actually harmful
14. Not all problems of your spouse need your advice
It’s often easy to offer advice on situations where your spouse is ranting. If they tell you about how their co-worker got the presentation wrong, instead of offering advice like, ‘Maybe you should do the presentation next time’ or ‘She must not be that bad’, try listening to them without needing to reply to them.
15. It’s okay to go to bed angry
It really is. If you are having an argument at night, instead of yelling at each other at 2 am, get a night’s sleep. See how you feel about the argument in broad daylight. A good night’s sleep can clear your mind and you can approach the argument (if at all there is) in a clearer light. Most often, the sleep does the trick and there might not be an argument the next day.
Successful marriage is not for the lazy ones because marriage takes effort and a lot of hard work. It is a full-time job. These tips are just the intro to having a happy married life.