If you ask anyone, they will tell you marriage isn’t easy but then again, nothing worth having is, right? I have been married to my high school sweetheart for fourteen years. When all odds were against us, I knew it would work. We came from two different backgrounds, essentially two different life paths, and, according to many, we were headed for divorce. Had we listened and not given it a try back then, we wouldn’t have what we have now: two beautiful children and a family that works like a team. Here are the three main things that make our marriage work:
1.- Communicating and keeping it real
Say what you have to say to your partner and keep it moving. You can come from a respectful and sacred space but don’t hold anything back and don’t hold on to grudges. A friend of mine once shared that she couldn’t be honest with her husband concerning how she felt about his family. I told her she had to tell him how she felt because she wasn’t being authentic. Honestly, I think these are the things that should always be shared between spouses. I just couldn’t live that way. Keeping those feelings bottled up inside would spell disaster for me. I would much rather be honest and share what´s on my mind so that my partner and I can work toward a solution and move on.
2.- Staying away from a “he completes me” attitude
NO! You complete yourself! If that partner happens to walk out of your life, you don’t ever lose yourself. You are a whole person who doesn’t need to be completed! With this in mind, don’t make your partner’s life your own. You are two separate identities that complement each other – you don’t complete each other. I always like to think of it as complementing the other person! I love my husband dearly but I know if we were to part ways, my life would still have to go on with me as a complete, whole person for the sake of myself and for the sake of my children.
3.- Making time together AND time apart
Always remember why you fell in love with each other. Take time out often to be romantic and to spend quality time together. Even if it’s simply putting the children to bed early or turning off electronics a bit earlier, show your spouse that he or she is important by spending quality time together. Make him or her feel special and valued. On the other hand, everyone needs their space, including you! Try not to smother your partner so much that he feels as though he has lost a sense of himself. There are times when my husband and I go without talking to each other for the entire day, just because we are both so busy. It makes for a more interesting conversation when he comes home and gives us a chance to miss each other. This is one tip that makes things spicier too.
I am not a relationship expert but I must be doing something right if I have been with the same man since 1996, married since 2002, and happy every step of the way! I always remind my husband that long after the children leave, we will have to remember the reason for our union. We have to be able to like and love each other enough that, when the children are no longer our primary focus, we’ll still be connected. I never want to lose that feeling because if that goes, our relationship will need some help – and not necessarily from an article on the Internet.
For that reason, I say, don’t allow your marriage to stray. Nurture it like you would your children and always be grateful for your spouse. Everyone wants to be loved and feel loved. Give yourself the gift of a strong, happy marriage. It´s worth it!