On Marriage

I've been reading "A Blog About Love", a blog about relationships and marriage written by a husband and wife who are in their second year of marriage. Many of the things they have written about resonate with me and got me thinking about how to keep a marriage strong. We've seen many wonderful examples of happy marriages from our grandparents, parents, siblings and friends, and many of those relationships share common qualities that seem to help keep their marriages strong and healthy. And after 4 years of marriage, those same qualities help keep ours strong and healthy too.

Say Hello -  Greeting your spouse when you come in the door makes them feel important and that you're excited to see them. It's a little thing, but after a long stressful day, a greeting and a kiss can make you feel less frustrated and help to let go of the troubles of the day.

Be Polite - This is huge. Just because you've been with someone a long time, doesn't mean that you stop using manners. Always say please and thank you for your spouses help, it makes the other person feel appreciated, which is extremely important in a marriage. Just the act of Mike thanking me for doing the laundry makes that task less arduous. When Mike makes dinner and cleans up alone because I'm cramming for an exam, I always thank him and try to return the favor when possible.

Fight Fair - People always tease us about fighting. They imagine us sitting quietly saying things like "I respectfully disagree with your opinion". No, of course we don't fight like that. Sometimes I yell and Mike can patronize, but we never name call or put each other down. The fight has be to about the issue at hand, not who you are as a person.

Get Dressed - Do you remember when you first started dating your spouse? When you used to get dressed to the nines, all the way down to the sexy lingerie? I know, it's easy to fall into a routine of yoga pants, no makeup and ponytails or hoodies, tennis shoes and hats, sure that's fine once in a while, but when you  get dressed nicely, you feel good about yourself, and that confidence is sexy. Plus it makes the other person feel they're worth your time.

Compliment Each Other - Taking the time to notice something new, like a new outfit or haircut or just to say you look beautiful/handsome is a big confidence booster, and makes the other person feel noticed in the relationship.

Be Supportive - We all go through times when change is necessary. Changing directions in life, such as starting a new job, starting a family or even something as simple as redecorating or starting an exercise plan, require support and enthusiasm from both partners. This support can make all the difference.

Say I Love You - Almost every time we end a phone conversation, we say "I love you". People might think this is out of habit, but it's just an affirmation. Sometimes we'll just send a text saying it or say it when the other person does something that reminds of us that love. Saying I love you regularly serves as a daily affirmation of why you're together and makes the other person feel, well, loved.

Say Goodbye - Nothing is guaranteed in life, and just as they say "never go to bed angry" never leave each other angry either. Mike has a dangerous job as a police officer and every time he leaves, I walk him to the door, kiss and hug him, tell him to "be safe" and to "come home". Leave each other in a place of mutual love and support.

What do you do in your relationship that helps to keep it strong? Do you find any of the things listed work in your marriage?

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