How many people do you know who are in a happy marriage?
Really happy, not just on-the-surface happy?
If you want to know what makes a happy marriage (not a fairytale marriage… those don’t exist), you might be surprised that the one element that’s missing is your willingness to… Work on yourself.
Not what you wanted to hear, I’m sure, but hear me out. A marriage is a super complicated dance of two different personalities with different backgrounds, needs, expectations, fears, desires, goals, beliefs and perceptions.
Nobody said it would be easy to mesh those elements of two individuals together! Sometimes it works very well and sometimes it doesn’t work at all. But how about the in-betweens, the couples whose relationships are “okay” but not great? You know them – they’re comfortable, familiar, not all that exciting but not horrible either… and many are teetering on the fence – maybe they don’t really voice it, but the thought is there. You may be in one of these yourself.
It’s not like it was when you first met.
It’s not like in your dreams.
One day, you love each other to pieces and the next day, you’re snarling at each other as you pass by in the hall. You may go for weeks or longer without sex, yet you mostly like hanging out together.
You have a bunch of resentment tucked under your pillow – anger and hurt that you never voice for fear of hurting your partner. Your partner seems withdrawn. Your conversations center on chores, not ideas or feelings. Both of you are overwhelmed at work and trying to juggle kids and each other as well as work and the house…
And in that situation, teetering on happiness and unhappiness, you may be asking yourself if it’s worth saving, whether it’s possible to stay happy (or at least happy-ish) together, or if it’s time to throw in the towel.
The good news is, if you decide that you want to stay together, there is that one thing you can do to improve your marriage. Yes, we’re back to personal improvement.
I’m not implying that there is anything wrong with you ….. Not at all!
What I mean is, life is all about the choices we make, and you may not be aware that some of the choices you’re making (unconsciously) are detrimental to your relationship. We all have a lot of thought habits, speech habits and action habits that we are basically unaware of. In fact most of our actions are habits. Most of our thoughts are habits. That’s how the human brain operates – by automating as much as possible, so that new information and experiences can be attended to with maximum brain power.
Letting your habits control your relationship means you’re going along in your relationship unconsciously, just repeating the same-old patterns (and expecting better results), doing things a certain way without ever questioning why.
When your relationship was new, you hadn’t created any relationship habits yet. You basically tested the waters carefully and with awareness. Over time, you both created habits within the relationship.
These habits could be great, or not so great.
Since you can’t change your partner, you can only make improvements in yourself.
It’s not as much of a chore as you might imagine.
In fact, I’m going to give you one of the best happy marriage tips that will create an upswing in your relationship almost instantly. If you make it a habit, things can only get better!
I want you to focus on seeing your partner through the eyes of love.
It’s not always easy, like when you’re in the middle of a huge fight, but the more you do this on a daily basis, the less fights you’ll have. It’s also not easy to shift your perception of your partner after years of building resentment, but you can do it, and it will make a difference.
Here are the rules for a happy marriage …
When you choose to focus on your partner’s flaws, that’s what will grow and expand, right before your very eyes. Think about it: if your partner is a garden and all you notice are the weeds, the garden will be less beautiful to you.
This is ancient wisdom: whatever you focus on, expands; whatever you decide is important, you will see more of; whatever you choose to see, you will see.
It’s not that your partner’s characteristics will necessarily worsen with your attention, but you will come to expect those behaviors. Your unconscious expectation that your partner will behave a certain way, amazingly, almost always leads to that very behavior.
They do that irritating thing, and you become grumpy, detached and uncommunicative, and that makes you push away from intimacy. This can be a dangerous downward spiral!
So today, in fact right now, I want you to think about your partner and name twenty positive things about them.
Think back to when you fell in love in the first place. What attracted you?
Think, remember, feel, imagine…
Say, “I love you because… (you have a great smile, you love adventure, you are a great cook, you know what to say when I’m upset, you challenge me, you are passionate, you clean the bathroom without being asked, you are so dedicated at work, you are good at managing money…) whatever qualities you like and admire about your partner, voice them!
Don’t stop at twenty, either.
And if you have trouble getting to twenty, think harder. Just remember that YOU chose this person to be your partner. Negative thought habits can be persuasive, but if you’re going to be happy in your marriage, you must overcome them.
If you do this every day, without fail, for at least a month, you will completely transform the way you perceive your partner. You will create new, positive thought habits about your partner. And then… the little things that drive you nuts won’t even be a blip on your radar anymore.
And the big things?
They may go away, because your attitude will be different… and therefore your words and actions will be unconsciously better, and this will lead to better energy between you.
Look, even if you don’t believe this will work, you have nothing at all to lose by trying.
Just 30 days.
Are you in?