You’ve seen them- couples that seem to actually like each other, in addition to loving each other. Couples that laugh together, enjoy doing things together, and seem relaxed together. They seem to have the secrets of a good marriage and how to make a relationship strong, but if you take a look at what what everyone in a good relationship has in common, it’s probably not so secret.
So what makes these great couples so special and different?
1. They have each other’s back. If you let someone criticize your spouse, it’s bad enough. Let him find out about it, and he will not only feel let down by you, but think you feel the same way. Don’t let anyone attack, belittle, or criticize the person you chose. Defend them, protect them, and cut off anyone who doesn’t get it. Better to lose a “friend” than hurt your spouse, especially if you want to make your relationship last.
2. They talk to each other first. If you’re the type that accepts invitations or makes plans without talking to your spouse first, you’re the type that isn’t communicating. Before making big purchases, plans, or answering questions that affect you both, you should talk. If someone wants an answer now, too bad. The answer is you don’t have an answer until you talk to your spouse. It will make you both feel stronger in your marriage to know the other won’t make big decisions without consulting each other and getting the input and feelings of both on the table. It doesn’t matter if your husband jokingly says you can make all those decisions. You can, but he’ll feel good knowing you cared about his opinion before making it.
3. They understand each other. You hate to clean bathrooms and love to watch the Bachelorette, so he cleans the bathroom and leaves you alone Monday nights. He hates to worry about etiquette and loves to drinks orange soda all day, so you rsvp for everything, send out the thank you cards, and make sure the fridge is always stocked with his favorite beverage. You do what the other hates, and vice versa. You do what the other loves to have done for them, and vice versa. You get each other’s quirks, annoyance, pet peeves, and you harmoniously work together for a good marriage.
4. They accept each other. Your husband loves orange soda and your mom thinks it’s strange. So does his. That’s why he avoid them. You don’t bug him about it and he loves to be around you. Or you do bug him about it, and then wonder why he wants to work out at the gym at work instead of at home. If your husband accepts that you never lost the last five pounds after having kids because he loves you anyway, and never makes you feel bad about your quirks or “flaws”, he deserves the same respect. If you found someone who loves and accepts you as you are, you found a winner, and nothing makes you feel better in a relationship than feeling like someone sees you as you are and loves what they see.
5. They put the other first. Sure there are things you both want, but sometimes in life you have to make a choice. A choice means you have to pick between two things, and not get both. When you always pick the thing that benefits you, and find your partner is always looking out for their own best interest, you have a problem. If you both always put the other person first, you have a solution. Your needs will always be met, because your partner is meeting them, and they have the peace of mind in knowing you will do likewise for them.
It sounds simple, but the recipe for a good, happy marriage, assuming you picked a decent human being, is that you treat each other lovingly, respectfully, and with consideration. If you are having problems and want to save your marriage before things go too far in the wrong direction, think about how you treat your partner (not only how they treat you) and fix it. Usually, working on yourself inspires your spouse to do likewise in response.