Building A Good Marriage With Your Spouse
Updated September 11, 2019
The media often portrays building a good marriage as an effortless daydream. They say that all it takes is true love and you won't have to struggle through hardships and trying times. Or even that there is little to be done for actually building the relationship to something, which can make it through difficult times. Of course, all of this is false.
A relationship, and especially a marriage, takes serious time and commitment and effort to work - it isn't just a natural byproduct of love. The good news is you have the skills to build your marriage into something genuinely sturdy. We all know the benefits of marriage, but the key is maximizing those benefits while minimizing the hardships by creating a good marriage. In this article, we are going to look at what it takes to build a successful marriage with your spouse.
What Makes A Good Marriage?
Before we begin, we need first to define marriage, and what it means to make a good marriage.
Marriage is defined as "the state of being united as spouses in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law," by Merriam-Webster's dictionary. Now, this leads us to the question of what defines a good marriage?
First, we need to clear up the misconceptions about a good marriage. A good marriage is not faultless; free from disagreements, arguments, and fights; free from doubts or worries; always amazing and effortlessly blissful; and more.
A good marriage is defined not by the lack of difficulties it has, but rather, how it manages to handle those difficulties. A good marriage brings many benefits, not the least of which is being able to take on life with someone that you deeply care about, trust, and love. But to reap the rewards of a good marriage, we need to first water the seeds and grow it into a strong one.
The Battles Inside Your Head
Where do anxieties, doubts, and fears come from? The answer is more complicated than it might seem. Many of the issues which arise in marriages are not relationship-ending calamities, but rather somewhat small disagreements that spiral out of control.
Winning the battle inside your head is essential to knocking out little things before they start to grow. If you can gain control of your self-destructive tendencies to nitpick everything your partner does and begin to lessen the building doubts, your marriage will shine.
That is not to say that we should never address our doubts in anything but a skeptical light. We should consider if these doubts have any real base, and if they do, we need to bring them up with our partner in the next step: communication.
You've heard this one a thousand times - but communication is one of the most vital aspects of a healthy relationship, let alone a healthy marriage. Plus, the depths of proper communication in relationships are so extensive that it requires at least one article to explore fully. So now that we know the value and extensiveness of communication, we should look at the most important part of communication: bringing issues into the light.
Big problems form not out of thin air, but typically from a failure to face smaller issues together. If we fail the battle inside our heads, small doubts will start to fester. If kept in the dark, what was once thought to be minor problems can grow to more daunting heights, and if left on their own too long, they can feel too large to face. We then have this terrible cycle of ignoring a small problem, letting it grow too long because we considered it minor, it then becoming too scary to face, and then it takes over our relationship.
We need to shine the light on all our unaddressed problems, things we keep hidden away in our closets, from our partners and even from ourselves. Once we bring these issues out into the light, positively and constructively, we can work through them. However, this process is not easy. It can even be painful, but the pain of one night or a week is much less excruciating than that of years and years of accumulating pains. Settling issues is an integral part of a good marriage.
Don't Forget Self-Improvement
Much of the dissatisfaction which arises in marriage can come from a feeling of stagnation or even a feeling of regress. Take appearance for example. Some people have the mentality that once they are married, they don't have to tend to their health and appearance as much.
For some couples, it can work to let the appearances go, to a certain extent. But for most, it can take away from what makes the relationship feel special and romantic. Beyond appearances, marriage is not an excuse to let yourself stagnate. Pick up a new hobby, continue to try new things, and don't forget about self-improvement! You want to create an environment where growth is praised, where you can appreciate your partner's improvements and vice-versa.
Furthermore, growth brings meaning to life outside of the relationship or work - it gives you something else to work on and feel proud of. The value of the importance of growth cannot be understated, especially in a long-term marriage where routines are in place, and monotony can start to set in.
Focus on the Little Things
Focusing on the little things doesn't mean getting upset when your partner does something tiny that annoys you, like leaving out the dishes or forgetting to take care of the groceries. Instead, focus on the little things your partner does for you that you appreciate, and doing more of the little things for your partner.
Monotony grows by a lack of excitement. Break that cycle and do something unexpected and kind for your partner, even if it's just something small. Going the extra mile for your partner may not actually be that hard or require that much effort from you, and the value your partner gets out of it more than makes up for any extra effort you put in.
Passion - In and Outside the Bedroom
Everyone knows a good sex life is important to a healthy marriage, whatever a good sex-life means to the couple, that is. But passion outside the bedroom is just as essential. There are five ways that we display our love: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch. These are known as The Five Love Languages.
We all value different concoctions of these love languages, and it is crucial to know or to have at least an idea, of what your partner appreciates. By keeping a note of what they like to do for you, and what they love the most of what you do for them, you can get an idea of their personal love language.
Change How You Think About Money
One of the top reasons for divorce is often cited as money problems. Whether it be overwhelming debt, piling bills, or upcoming expenses - money problems can test a marriage. However, the problem itself is not money, but rather, how we think about money. We often treat money as the end-all-be-all of our lives. We even go so far as to forget what money exists for in the first place.
Money doesn't exist for its accumulation, but rather, for what it can be exchanged for. You work to live a happier, healthier life. Sure pilling bills and debt is scary, but maybe the solution is to get a grip over our spending habits and stop clocking up so much debt? Our overattachment to things can clutter our relationships and can take away from what truly matters: the people that we care about.
Lose Your Expectations
What should a healthy, good marriage look like? We often fill in the blank with notions we have received through the media of what a marriage ought to look like. Having a goal for a solid marriage is not a bad thing in the slightest, but trying to turn your relationship into what you think is the model marriage is a recipe for disaster.
Lose the detailed and specific expectations of what a marriage should mirror. Instead, try to build the best version of your relationship with your spouse - that is the key to a great marriage.
We hope you found our ways of building a good marriage helpful. If you have tried all of these and more to fix your marriage, but you just feel like there is no hope - you might need the help of a professional. Many couples are opposed to this and feel they should be able to work things out amongst themselves. Most of the time, this only leads to further confusion.
The mental health professionals at BetterHelp have seen it all, and want to assist you in rebuilding your marriage if you need it. Not only is there no shame in reaching out, but it takes strength to admit when you need help building a solid marriage. Contact us if you need a hand.