Last month my Hubby and I celebrated ten years of marriage. Where has the time has gone?! It only seems like yesterday that we got engaged! Over the years we’ve had some amazing times. We’ve been through some pretty tough times too. We’ve laughed a lot and we’ve cried a lot. There have been job changes, we’ve moved home and we have two wonderful boys who are our world. Like every couple we’ve had our ups and downs, but ten years on our marriage is stronger and happier than ever before.
Hitting such a milestone has made me think about our relationship. What has kept us going all these years? What is the secret to our happiness and what has made us still want to be around one another after all this time? After a fair bit of pondering, I realised that there was no magic formula. That it all came down to our habits and the way we treated one another. I realised that it was the little things we were doing day in day out that was making our marriage stronger.
So what were these habits? Just what were we doing to keep our love alive? In this post I’m going to share with you the ten habits I’ve realised we practice every single day. If you want to make your marriage a little bit stronger or you’re seeking ways to keep the love alive, try following some of them too. You’ll be well on your way to a happier and stronger marriage before you know it!
1. Regularly remind yourself why you got married
Remembering why you got married is so important when it comes to keeping your love alive and making your marriage stronger. Think back to your wedding day, think about how it felt when you said your vows. Why did you get married? What was it that attracted you to each other? What was it about one another that made you want to say yes to spending your life together? Those things are the foundation upon which your marriage is built. Hold on to them. They are what will keep you strong and keep you together when times are tough.
My Hubby and I needed this more than ever last summer when a diagnosis of breast cancer pulled the rug out from underneath our feet. We had no idea what the outcome was going to be and the thought of losing what we had, of us being taken away from one another by something that was out of our control was terrifying. But our commitment to take care of one another kept us going and gave us the strength to fight. Remind yourself of why you decided to get married, hold on to those reasons and remember them in the times you need each other most.
2. Always make an effort
What was it like when you were first dating? I bet it was exciting and that there were butterflies in your stomach?! If you were anything like me, I bet you were on your best behaviour and you were out to impress?! How are things now? Is it as exciting as all those years ago? Remember what it felt like. You might be married but that doesn’t mean you have to stop making an effort! Go out of your way to still have fun. Leave notes for one another around the house. Send a cheeky text message or two, buy unexpected gifts, get dressed up whenever you can. Think of all the little ways you can make an effort and incorporate one or two into your day.
3. Talk to one another
It might sound simple, but talking to one another really can make all the difference. Communication is key! Make time to catch up at the end of the day and check in on one another. Ask each other how your day went. Communication helps to make sure that your goals are aligned, that you’re on the same page as one another. So make the effort to check in, to talk to one another and to connect. Try not to make assumptions and don’t expect to read each other’s minds. Find the time to sit down and talk to each other. Not about the mundane day to day stuff, but about your relationship. Talk about what makes you happy and what you want as a couple. You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes.
4. Give as well as take
The thing with marriage is that there are two of you under the same roof. ALL the time. Day AND night. In order to get along you have to learn how to live with one another, how to share and how to compromise. It means that sometimes there will be things you want to do that your spouse doesn’t. It means that sometimes you have to do things you don’t want to do or aren’t particularly interested in. Marriage is about give and take. It’s about finding the balance and supporting one another regardless of your preferences. So next time you find yourself struggling to agree to do something, why not give it a go – who knows, you might even enjoy it!
5. Share the workload
Running a home can be hard work especially if you have kids or both work full time. Marriage is a partnership, that means sharing the workload – including the household chores. It doesn’t matter who does what but try divvying up the jobs so they aren’t all left to one person. Agree on who is responsible for what and help one another out. Work together to clear the decks after dinner. Use your Saturday morning to blitz the house together. Share the workload and you’ll be amazed at how much more free time you have and how less stressed you feel.
6. Spend time together
This might sound obvious but the never-ending pressures of day-to-day life can make it hard to carve out time for one another. It can be especially tricky when you have kids. Finding the time to be husband and wife when you’re always ‘Mummy’ and ‘Daddy’ can feel like mission impossible! But spending quality time together is so important. Make sure you have a few common interests and do things together you both enjoy. Having a shared interest or two brings you closer together. It makes you feel connected and your marriage stronger. Make the effort to spend time with one another and grab every moment together you can.
7. Make time for you
Whilst it’s important to have things in common, it’s important to have hobbies and interests outside of your relationship too. No matter how close you might be, you still need to retain your own identity and be your own person. You also need time to unwind and recharge. When we’re tired we become short tempered and sensitive to issues that wouldn’t normally bother us. Our patience runs low, we get snappish and we can inadvertently take it out on those we love. Take the time to recharge your batteries and don’t feel guilty about it! You can find out more about how to take better care of yourself in this post…
8. Celebrate the wins
It can be so easy to get caught up in the daily grind of life. With bills to pay, the house to look after, the stress of work and looking after the kids, it’s easy to focus on the mundane and the negatives and lose sight of the good that’s happening. Make sure you celebrate the things that are going right. Pay rise or promotion at work? Celebrate! Received some good news? Celebrate! Made it to the end of a tough week? Celebrate! When you look past the frustrations, focus on the positives and celebrate your wins, you’ll find the hard times much easier to deal with.
9. Hug every single day
Think back to those early days, those times where you seized every opportunity to have any kind of physical contact. Think about how it made you feel. How it felt to hold each other at the end of the night. Why let go of that?! No matter how many years you’ve been married, that little bit of physical contact really does make all the difference. It’s amazing how much better a hug can make you feel. Whatever you’re doing, find an opportunity to hug one another at least once every single day.
10. Live by your own rules
What works for one couple won’t work for another. How your friends live their marriage will be different to how you live yours. And that’s ok. There are no rules and you’re free to design and live your marriage any way you like. As long as you’re both happy and singing from the same hymn sheet, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. Want to make Friday nights date night? Do it! Not fussed about Valentines? Don’t celebrate it! Prefer to buy a joint Christmas present you can both enjoy rather than individual ones? Then do that instead! Quite happy with just a card on your anniversary? That’s fine too! Don’t feel you have to conform to what everyone else is doing. Hopefully you have many years together ahead of you, so don’t be afraid to make your own rules.
Ten habits that’ll make your marriage stronger…
Now I’m no therapist, nor am I a relationship expert. But I have spent a considerable amount of time with my Hubby over the last ten years and it’s taught me a thing or two about what it takes to make a relationship work. I’m sure I still have a lot more to learn but these habits have really helped us keep our marriage strong. Follow them too and see how much happier and stronger your marriage becomes!
That’s it for this post! I hope it has given you a few ideas of how to have a happy and lasting relationship with your spouse. If you like what you’ve read be sure to subscribe so you never miss a post! Join my tribe and kick-start creating a family life you love right now by filling in your details below. I’ll send you my FREE Daily Planner as a thank-you!
I’d love to know what your biggest takeaway is. What do you do to keep your love alive? What have you learnt from the years of being with your spouse? Let me know in the comments below!
Until next time…