My marriage hasn’t always been great. If you’re interested, you can read the story and about what we learned in Love Happened.
But these days, I have a whole new perspective of how to live a happier life and a more satisfied marriage. If you’re not married but are committed to your partner, I’m pretty sure the same principles apply.
We have made ourselves more thankful of the little things. Just about every morning, my husband makes the bed. And as often as I get the chance, I say, “Thank you.” I could think, “Nah, that’s too basic.” But I like to not only be grateful, I also like to keep a stance of thankfulness. It spills over into other aspects of life. Thankfulness is something to be practiced to keep it in the flow of life.
When he’s made dinner, I try and sort the dishes. This time, we thank each other. Not in a soppy Hollywood style. In a genuine, “Thanks for dinner” including something that I liked about it. And I often hear him say, “Thanks for doing the dishes. I could have done that.” But no – he cooked. I can contribute by doing the dishes as often as possible.
Here’s our idea – catch yourself saying, ‘Thank you’ and really mean it.
No ‘you do this so I’ll do that’
Earlier in our marriage, it was easy to think, ‘if I do this, then surely he’ll do that.’ And the ‘that’ was usually something I wanted.'
Nowadays I like to do ‘this’ just because – just because I love him. No strings attached. This takes a bit more getting used to at first. But then it comes naturally.
Sometimes I hear people talk about how they’ve gone out and purchased an item because their spouse or partner spent money they didn’t agree to. But that usually hurts twice because the second thing is bought out of spite and it’s often something you can’t afford anyway!
Here’s our idea – find ways to act out of love for your spouse or partner. Just because you love them.
I told you that yesterday
Oh boy – don’t think I’ve got this one sorted. I still catch myself … and it’s usually with a bit of a tone attached. It used to bug me that my husband didn’t remember the things I had told him. If I rewound the tape, it was probably because I talked while he was watching television, playing a game on the computer, or catching up on paperwork. I notice these days he pauses the TV, which I know is a privilege of the system we have.
What made me more aware of this was the fact that earlier this year, my husband was diagnosed with severe sleep apnoea – in fact he was getting six minutes of sleep every hour and frequently stopped breathing. No wonder he wasn’t remembering everything we talked about or everything anyone talked about. What a difference a CPAP machine has made! It certainly gave me a jolt about not being so harsh and giving some space to my listener.
Here’s my idea – when the listener forgets, repeat yourself, with no tone; instead with a graceful response.
Summing it up
If our most important relationship isn’t working, rather than consider it’s all the other person’s fault, it might be that adding more partnership and less transaction to our interactions could help. If more marriages fail over holiday breaks, then any holiday patch we get to in the year needs extra attention. And if we put these activities into the mix of everyday life, then well find ourselves enjoying the holiday breaks more.
And if we enjoy our marriage or committed relationship, it stands to reason we’ll be happier and healthier and our kids will love the atmosphere in the home.
Hope you find these thoughts helpful.
Written by Jo Hood