10 Commandments to a Happy Marriage

Just because divorce rates are at an all-time high doesn’t mean that your marriage has to end up a statistic.

Divorce seems like an easy solution when your marriage seems to be nothing but a repetitive routine and an endless stream of conflict, but there are ways for you to keep your marriage alive and happy. Here are ten guidelines that could make a huge positive difference to your married life.

1) Be quick to listen but slow to speak. Listening is the most crucial part of communication. At the heat of an argument, couples usually cannot recognize that the other is making a valid point because they listen to their emotions instead of their partners. Keep yourself from being carried away by the anger of the moment and listen to your partner intently before you speak.

2) Don’t insist on being right all the time. Marriage is a commitment that involves two people; it’s not always about you or what you think.

3) Respect your spouse as an individual. Your spouse will not always share your beliefs or opinions. Learn to respect your differences and make compromises when these impede decision-making.

4) Cultivate the self.  Spending too much time together with your spouse makes the passion and excitement of your marriage fade quickly. It’s perfectly all right to have interests outside your marriage. This will even enrich your bond. Pursuing your passions allows you to grow as an individual and gives you more to contribute to your marriage.

5) Have your own space. You and your spouse should have a space in your home that is yours and yours alone. You can use this as a space where you develop your hobby (see #3), or as a place to be alone and quiet.

6) Apologize–but for the right reasons. Only apologize to your spouse when you say hurtful things, but never apologize for feeling upset, hurt, or angry at something your spouse did.

7) Validate your spouse. Freely give compliments and encouragement to your spouse, and be supportive in every endeavour he or she enters–as long as it is a healthy one that will make him or her a better, happier person.

8) Let your spouse know that he or she is appreciated.  We often take for granted the small things people do for us until it’s too late.  Thank your spouse for the little things he or she does for the marriage, even if it’s as banal as cooking dinner or bringing the kids to school.

9) Never go to bed angry. The longer a conflict remains unresolved, the more emotional damage it leaves.  Try to resolve your arguments before bedtime, at a very least, agree to form a truce until you figure things out.

10) Every day, treat your spouse as if you had just met him or her for the first time. Viewing your spouse in this manner not only brings back the thrill and excitement of the early years; doing small things to “earn” your spouse’s affection will keep the passion and romance of your marriage alive.