10 Little Rules For Making Married Life Happier

8:15:00 PM

A happy, healthy marriage is key to happiness & success of rest of your life. If you are unhappy with your spouse then you will never be happy again and the road to succeed in life will be more difficult. You must learn what makes a happy marriage and how to be happy after the big day.

To quote Flynn Rider... "This is the story of how I died. But don't worry: this is actually a fun story, and the truth is, it isn't even mine..."
Today is the 10th anniversary of the day Mark and I promised our lives to each other, died to ourselves, and became one. It's God's story, and He gets the credit.

Happiness: 10 Little Rules For a Happy Marriage
It's been a very fun story, the best ten years of my life. In those years, Mark and I have become very passionate about [well, a lot of things, because that's the way INFJs are, but also...] letting yet unmarried people know just how wonderful marriage can be. Mainly this:
The honeymoon period never has to end.
Everyone told us when we first got married, "Enjoy the honeymoon period, because after that it gets hard." And we smiled and laughed politely, but we're still trying to figure out exactly when that honeymoon period is supposed to be over. Because we still are obsessed with each other, love every minute we get to spend together, and generally can't believe that we've been married ten whole years already.
Yes, marriage is hard work. But we put hard work into it from the beginning. You can't expect to start a relationship being lazy in the way you treat one another and then suddenly learn patience, and self-giving, and proactive love. But if you start out well, it's much easier to continue on that path.
We were blessed that, along with that lame "Enjoy the honeymoon period" phrase, we received a lot of very good advice while we were preparing for marriage. Here are the five rules (more five rule to happy marriage will be given after this) we turn to again and again:
1) Never say "never" or "always." 
When a disagreement arises, it's easy to exaggerate a situation in anger and say, "You always do X," or "You never do Y." Generally speaking, these exaggerations aren't even true, but once you say something, you can't take it back. That statement will color the way your spouse thinks you think of him or her forever.

2) Don't make lists [of negative things].
Deal with issues as soon as possible. You're on a team, and you don't want to store up an arsenal of ammunition to be used to win a fight. Again, you can't take these things back once you say them.

(But DO make lists of happy things!)

3) When you have discussions that have the potential for fighting, sit side by side--or sit on your husband's lap. Don't face each other across a room, because that instantly creates the feeling that you are against one another instead of figuring something out together.
4) Kiss each other a lot, and say "I love you" a lot--at least every morning and night, and every time you greet each other or say good-bye.
Get into good habits like this right away, because it makes it easier to keep them up when you're worn out with a bad week at work or toddlers being toddlers or an empty bank account.

5) Love proactively.
Don't wait for things to get humdrum before you put in extra effort. Always put in extra effort.

And here are the 5 "little" rules, figured out along the way, that also make a big difference:

1) Dress cute.
Looking nice for your spouse is an easy way to express love and develop the habit of proactive loving. It's pretty easy, but it makes life cheerful. :)

2) Never, ever complain about your spouse. 
If you really need to ask advice, it's best to ask it from someone who is not a family member or friend (that is to say, ask a spiritual director or counselor), and word your concern as just that: a concern. Not a complaint. Don't even complain in your head. I'm going to keep saying this ad nauseam, but good marriages require good habits, and this is a bad one to get into.

3) Don't listen to the world.
The world doesn't really believe that good marriages are possible, so they will tell you all sorts of lies about what a marriage should look like. Self-giving is very unpopular with the world. So is openness to life, so is giving up girls' night to have quality time with your spouse, so is the unthinkable situation of working at home and being around each other all the time (as in our case). Follow God and follow your heart, and just laugh when jealous people tell you how "whipped" you are.

4) Be a cheerleader.
It's nice to share most of your interests with your spouse, because that will only add to the friendship you have. But it can't happen all the time (sorry, sweetie, I just can't get into golf...), so when you're not actively sharing a passion, show your support for it by encouraging your spouse and cheering them on. Good habits, again...and your spouse will be less likely to turn to friends for affirmation instead of you.

5) Don't stop dating.
You might not always have the funds for a babysitter and a night out, but don't feel guilty about letting the kids watch a movie together once a week so you can have some dedicated alone time. When you can afford the night out, enjoy favorite experiences but also plan new and exciting things like you would if you were trying to make a good impression on a new boyfriend/girlfriend.

Basically, don't take your spouse's love for granted...even when you're secure in knowing you could.
You veterans who've been married much longer than I have, what advice can you give for the next ten years?

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