I haven’t made it to the point in my marriage where people ask me how the hell we did it for so long. We are only 13 years into this journey, so while we aren’t newlyweds anymore, we aren’t blowing people’s minds with four decades of silent car rides.
People do ask me if we are happy, and while we have had some rough roads, I always say yes. I love being married and I very much enjoy the work that goes into a good marriage. What makes for a happy marriage? I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but I can tell you some of the life lessons that have worked for us. My hope is that when people ask you if you are happily married, you can quickly and honestly say “Yes.”
We have seen numerous counselors throughout our relationship and I learned something important from each one. There seems to be a stigma about needing counseling, whether for your marriage or for yourself, and I will admit to thinking that something was very wrong with me when we had our first session. However, after coming out on the other side, I have to say that I no longer hold that idea to be true. Every marriage has issues that seem insurmountable, so release your old beliefs and ask for help. Whether you have trust issues, money disagreements or like us, sex is your fight, a third party can give you a fresh perspective. The last counselor we saw helped us get to the root of my fears and opened up discussions that we had never had before. Give yourself and your partner the gift of counseling. Make your date night a counseling and dinner night . It’s money well spent.
Share Your Truth, Kindly
I watched my parents fight and it always had the same, sad ending. My dad yelled, my mom hid and no one apologized. As kids, we were left to wonder if they would be mad forever and what we had done wrong. I didn’t want that cycle repeated in my relationship. When I am upset, I share my truth in the calmest way possible and look to my spouse for help, not for a fight. Whether or not my children are in the room, I try to be respectful of my partner and of myself. Our house rule is ‘No Yelling’ so when someone is upset, they have the right to say why without raising their voice or hurting others. If something is said that is hurtful to anyone in our home, everyone hears the apology. I want my kids to understand that when we hurt someone, they deserve to hear “I am sorry”. It is a humbling experience to admit to and apologize for, bad behavior as an adult. I promise, this one change can make a huge difference for your marriage and for your family.
Go On Dates. A Lot
Remember when you couldn’t keep your hands off of each other? There was a time when you would anxiously await a dinner and movie date with that guy over there who, at this moment, is thirty pounds heavier and has his hand down his pants. Yes, that’s the same guy. Ask him out on a date and plan something that will make you both giddy. Leave your phone off for a couple of hours and have a date that is reminiscent of the days when you were madly in love. Make-out, laugh, hold hands in a restaurant and get to
know each other all over again. If small children are your issue, find a babysitter and chill out about leaving your munchkins for an evening. I know you don’t want to hear it, but they are sick of being around you all day anyway. Date each other and make it a regular event. Every date my husband and I go on, I learn something new about my man and we come home feeling like we can make it another couple years.
Say Something Nice. Every Day.
It’s easy to find snarky ways to cut down your spouse. After living with someone for a couple years, you know just how to hurt them with a flick of your tongue. There are bills to bitch about, kids to raise and work schedules that piss everyone off. I’m in the trenches with you, friend. For many years, I felt that one more nasty comment would make him realize how annoyed I was about the yard. Here’s my truth…compliments get me a lot farther in my relationship than mean words. Now, I make a conscious effort to keep those verbal slaps in my head and choose to say something that will enhance my relationship instead of destroying it. In my house, compliments are like hugs, you can never have too many. Take a minute today and compliment the person you chose to spend your life with.
I got married with the intention of being married to my husband for the rest of our lives, so I take it just as seriously as I would any other project. It takes time, effort and a lot of work but anything that is valuable to your life usually does.
Mandy Brasher has been married to her partner in crime for thirteen years and together they have two kids. She graduated from The Utah College of Massage Therapy and spent two years studying writing at Utah State University. She is currently working with her husband at their online apparel business, blogging daily and writing a book. After working as a licensed massage therapist in Las Vegas, she moved back to Utah to start a family and find a new career. Since then she has changed diapers, potty trained, worked as a barista and organized events for a non-profit. Mandy loves to travel, cook, do yoga and read. Follow her sass mouth and unexpected adventures on: