Building a strong and healthy marriage is a lot of work, and even the strongest marriages will be tested along the path of life. People who stick out the worst often later say they acquired a new sense of appreciation for their spouse and had a deeper sense of marital satisfaction. Families who stay together tend to endure less financial stress and fewer instances of mental health issues in the long run.
There is no 1-2-3 formula to divorce-proof your marriage. A successful marriage must have two dedicated partners who are willing to tread the tumultuous areas of their relationship together. There must be mutual love, and it must be a mature love that remains dedicated to the commitment long after the initial infatuation is over. Respect, empathy and kindness are tools that married couples must be willing to employ during the good times, and during the not-so-good times.
Here are some general ideas and suggestions on how to strengthen and reinforce your commitment to your spouse and to your marriage.
Communication is not just talking
It’s also actively listening to your spouse. Depending on the research, most of us only hear 25 to 50 percent of what we’re told in a conversation. Provide feedback and ask questions if something is said and you need clarity. Do NOT build a rebuttal in your mind while your spouse is speaking. It’s perfectly fine to take a moment before your respond to gather your own thoughts. So many fights happen when neither party is listening to the other. A little active listening can go a long way.
Be a friend not a critic
The world is a harsh place, but our home does not have to be. Focus on what you like most about your spouse. Remember how much you love his sense of humor, or her generosity to others. When a situation arises and you feel the need to address it with your spouse do it at a time when it’s easier to hear the concern. Don’t jump to blaming or attacking. The way you approach the discussion will have a lot to do with how it ends up.
Show your spouse affection every day
If you are separated because of deployment or training, you will have to find new ways to do this. Some of that affection can be planned ahead of time such as leaving notes of affection for your spouse to find when he unpacks and settles in where ever he is. Send a daily email that highlights one thing daily that you miss about him. It doesn’t have to be profound or even romantic, but telling your deployed spouse that his or her absence resonates throughout your day will remind them of how much they mean to you.
Mind your manners
Just because you have been married for 10 years doesn’t mean you can disregard words like “Please” and “Thank you.” Of all the people you should be considerate and graceful toward it should be your spouse.
When all else fails, forgive and trust
I have never met a happily married couple whose marital bliss is founded on grudges and mistrust. Not all conflicts in life can have a happy, clear-cut and easy resolution. If you can not come to a resolution then try trusting your spouse’s motives and intentions.
Don’t let pride ruin your marriage
If you’ve hit a place in your marriage where you feel you are at an impasse, then seek an outside source like these resources specifically designed for military couples. Sometimes the troubles of life can overwhelm us and we need an objective party to help us navigate the storms.