How to Have a Happy Marriage
You might think having a happy marriage is mostly a question of luck. But I see it differently. A happy marriage takes deliberate choice too. Like deciding to pick your own clothes up off the floor, and putting the toothpaste cap back on without assistance. You might say that’s hardly rocket science, and you’d be right. Having a happy marriage isn’t about intricately complicated techniques (aside from knowing how to clean the guttering without falling off the ladder and rescuing the neighbor’s kitten whilst pruning the roses – but that’s easy once you’ve had a bit of practice). Marriage happiness is much more dependent on showing admiration for each other, and living with a high degree of courtesy.
When your partner decides that the floordrobe is preferable to the wardrobe, it’s time to talk about it together in a low-key way. The same goes for sorting out who needs to mop the floor, take out the trash, clean the bathroom, pay the bills, vacuum up, cook the meals, do the shopping, and put things away. Keeping communication in the civil zone makes a world of difference when dealing with so many potential flashpoints. You might think it’s ridiculous, but according to the marriage guidance gurus, many of the biggest blow-ups are sparked by the most inane things. So to have a happy marriage, or a least a marriage that’s happier more often, you need to take a deliberate approach to difficulties.
Suddenly shrieking and screaming because your “significant other” has not left the toilet seat in the correct position (according to your personal world view on toilet seat positioning), is hardly going to engender positive relations. Thus, such behaviour needs to be stricken from the list of “How I handle conflict with my partner.” There are no reasons that come to mind after 30 years of marriage that demand screaming and shouting at each other. So I heartily recommend, if you want to increase your chances for a happy marriage, observe some fair rules for fighting. Talk to each other, and listen. But keep it a conversation. You will get a lot further that way. Even when your partner has done something truly stupid, it’s far preferable to speak than to shriek.
Though it may seem old-fashioned, give each other room with genuine courtesy. Make it a point of still saying please and thank-you, rather than assuming your partner will know you appreciate their effort.
Similarly, consideration speaks with a kind tongue, no matter what the hour. So choose your words with care to uphold and preserve what you appreciate, rather than rip and tear to get what you want.
A happy marriage is something we build, word-by-word, day-by-day. True, a little bit of luck doesn’t go astray. But what we make with our own actions steers the course of many a happy marriage. Just as it also directs far too many onto the rocks. By all means, we should value each other’s love. But to forge a happy marriage, we need to know that our patience, politeness, and persistence are the kind of things that will have the most impact. Or to put it differently: never let a toilet seat get in the way of you having a happy marriage.
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