Making Your Marriage Work

family-rolls-around-while-playing-in-yard
Family is important. Period. If you have a good, stable marriage and family life, your children will have the emotional support and positive role models they need to help them grow and develop into stable, functioning adults. We all know that family is important; we all strive to create a loving home for our children, but according to the American Psychological Association, 40 to 50% of marriages end in divorce.

Some divorces are inevitable and for the best, as in cases of abuse, or other serious issues, but many divorces can be prevented. That’s what I want to discuss here.

Many people are in love with the idea of being in love.They grow up constantly searching for “the one,” and when they find themselves in a serious relationship, they tend to want to rush into forever.Well, what you need to understand is that forever is FOREVER.

Marriage Meets Reality

Why rush into something when you have your whole life ahead of you to figure it out?

Before you marry someone, you need to get to know them on the most personal of levels, you need to understand that there can be no secrets (past, present or future), and you need to have open and honest conversations about what you want out of life, where you want to go, what you want to do, what your values are, what you are willing to compromise, if your partner has the qualities and values that compliment and support what you want, and vice versa.
happy family reading a picture book on the couch
The only way to truly get to know someone and their core values and beliefs is through time; though many people will become engaged after only a year of dating, and that is simply not long enough.

If you’re already married, about to be married, or someday hope to be married, you need to know this: marriage is work, hard work.

Unfortunately, many people just don’t understand that you need to work at a marriage to keep it working.

Remember that boyfriend or girlfriend you had in junior high? Remember how hot and heavy you two were, holding hands all over the place? Then remember how you just slowly drifted apart, and you weren’t even sure if you broke-up until you saw him (or her) holding hands with someone else?

Marriage is sort of like that; if you don’t hold hands, you will just drift apart. You and your spouse should NEVER STOP DATING!

Just because you are married doesn’t mean that you should stop going out. Make sure you have a date night, at least once a week; kids make this even harder to do, so if you have kids, shoot for once a month or more. As people, we never stop growing and developing, so as a married couple, you should never stop developing and growing together.

Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Relationship

  • Talk about your lives, your days, your concerns, your dreams, your passions
  • Make plans together, make dinner together, make love together
  • Greet one another with a hug and a kiss, and part the same way
  • Always speak honestly and kindly to one another, even in while in a fight

Staying physically, emotionally and intellectually bonded with your spouse is crucial to keeping your marriage together and happy. If you and your spouse have begun to drift and you need help finding your way back to one another, more professional help may be needed to get you back on track. But asking for help isn’t something to be ashamed of, it’s just something you need to do to work on your marriage. Think of it like taking your car to a mechanic; you need your car to work, and you need a professional to help you get your car working again.

Putting Your Family First

As I mentioned before, having kids makes things a lot harder for your marriage. Your parental instinct will be to put your kids’ needs first, but you need to put your marriage first.

I repeat: You need to put your marriage first.

You need to make your marriage your first priority because when your marriage is working and happy, your family will be working and happy. The American Psychological Association says:

Healthy marriages are good for couples’ mental and physical health. They are also good for children; growing up in a happy home protects children from mental, physical, educational and social problems.

Even the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services advocates the health benefits of marriage.

When your kids see you and your spouse talking to and treating each other with love and respect, they will learn to do the same thing. When you are happy with your marriage, you are more likely to be patient and thoughtful when dealing with your children.

Ever hear of the saying, “If Momma ain’t happy, ain’t no one happy?” It’s true; happiness, like crabbiness, is contagious. YOU must decide what you are passing on to your family. And whether you are in a working marriage or one that is neglected, your kids will take note, and when they grow up and begin to look for a spouse of their own, they will look to you to see what a marriage should look like. What do you want them to see? So always be working on your marriage, for you, for your spouse, for your kids.

Always be working on your marriage, lest you find that your marriage is hardly working.

If you are struggling to find that balance in your relationships, I can help. I teach you communication skills and how to balance and prioritize and that will benefit your spouse and your children.