Married Life

In It for The Long Haul: Getting Along with Your Spouse

Marriage is Not for The Faint of Heart

When you first decided to get married, your parents probably told you that marriage is work. You may not have believed them at first, but it only takes a few months of marriage to realize they were right. However, if you begin to take your relationship for granted and stop working on it, it will suffer.

Argue Like Adults

No matter how well you get along, you are bound to have arguments and issues where you don’t see eye to eye. This is perfectly normal. It is how you handle these disagreements that truly counts.

When you disagree, especially if you become angry or heated, it is tempting to take a verbal shot at your spouse. However, saying hurtful things in the heat of the moment will only lead to bad feelings. It may give you temporary satisfaction, but in the long run it will drive you further apart. Resist the temptation to focus on your spouse and his or her shortcomings. Instead, focus on the issue at hand. Do not discuss other topics or past events, and avoid assigning blame. Discuss the matter calmly, and use feeling-based statements. For example, “When you didn’t call to tell me that you were staying at work late, I felt unimportant.”

The key to arguing successfully is to try to reach a compromise. Approach the argument as a problem that can be mutually solved by the two of you, rather than as a contest where someone wins or loses. The goal is to reach a compromise that is mutually acceptable to both of you. For example, if the argument is that your spouse never wants to have dinner with your parents, agree to have dinner with them once a month rather than every week. This way, you both get something that you want.

Avoid Taking Your Spouse for Granted

When you have been together for more than a year or two, you gradually begin to relax around your spouse. This is generally a good thing. Who would want to constantly suffer the emotional highs and lows of your early dating relationship? However, when you begin to feel comfortable, you may begin to take your spouse for granted. For instance, you may stop thanking him for making dinner, or you may neglect to bring her flowers “just because.”

The solution to this problem is to not only try to be courteous to your spouse, but to also try to do one nice thing for your spouse each day. Whether that one thing is telling her she looks beautiful, or if it is making him coffee in the morning, your spouse will be sure to remember it and feel good about your relationship. These positive feelings pay dividends in your relationship as well because he or she will be more likely to reciprocate and do something nice for you. In the long run, these small acts of kindness are the glue that holds your relationship together and gives you the strength to weather the tough times.

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