Happily ever after. That’s the dream, right? We get married with the hopes that what we have will last forever. And let’s not kid ourselves—forever is a really, really long time. But we date and eventually make a decision to share this one life we have with a partner whom we believe is worthy.
Yet, despite our best intentions, wanting to be married forever isn’t enough. If that desire was enough to sustain a happy marriage, a lot of people would have avoided divorce. It’s about a lot more than wanting it. It’s about creating it. It takes work and dedication. It takes forgiveness and commitment. Indeed, happily ever after is not easy stuff.
But happily every after is definitely possible. Don’t let people fool you into thinking it only happens in fairy tales. That just isn’t true. Perfect marriages only happen in fairy tales, but happy marriage that last—well, those can happen in real life.
So how does a couple go about the business of creating their happily ever after? Here are a few tips that may help.
Learn to forgive
Forgiveness is an important aspect of every relationship you have in your life, but it is incredibly important when it comes to a marriage. Despite our best attempts, no human being is perfect.
People mess up, and sometimes they mess up big time. You can’t expect to be in a relationship with someone for a lifetime and think that they’ll never make a mistake. That’s unreasonable. You have to be able to forgive, not just for your sake but also for the sake of your union.
Laughter is good for the soul. There is no question about it. Being married is fun, but it also includes a lot of serious stuff. Try not to take life too seriously. Develop the ability to laugh at yourself and each other, and do it often. A happy soul makes for a happy partner.
Nothing damages a relationship more than holding on to the past. Whether it’s your personal past, or something that happened in your current relationship, you have to learn to let it go.
When you make a decision to stay in a relationship, you also have to make a decision to let go of anything that will do ongoing damage to what you have. Letting go isn’t always easy, but it’s healthy and doing so will help you heal.
Always date each other
It’s easy to forget about connecting with one another when you have busy careers, children, and a laundry list of day-to-day responsibilities. But connecting is essential, and you have to make the time for it. Even if it happens just once a month, make the time to escape the day-to-day madness of life so you can connect with the one you love.
Ask for help
It’s not always easy to ask for help, but asking for help is a powerful way to avoid conflict in your marriage. Your partner is not a mind reader.
If you need help around the house, help with the kids, or even help with figuring out something for your business, you have to reach out and ask for it. The person you’ve decided to spend your life with is most likely going to offer the support you need if they actually know that you need it.
I recently spoke to someone I love about her relationship problems and suggested that she go to counseling with her partner. She told me that black folks don’t go to counseling. All I could do was shake my head when she said that.
I know there is a stigma in the black community about therapy and counseling, but it truly does help. If you are having marital problems and nothing you try is working, maybe you should give counseling or therapy a shot. It can help more than you realize.
Empathy is very different than sympathy. When you practice empathy, you are able to place yourself in someone else’s shoes. This is so important in a marriage.
Before you get mad, disappointed or anything else, try to step into your spouse’s shoes to understand why they made a choice that you may not agree with. Empathy goes a long way in all relationships, and it’s a critical part of a healthy marriage.
Pursue what you love
I believe that happy people make happy spouses and happy spouses create happy marriages. If you feel dissatisfied with other areas of your life, it will have a negative impact on your marriage. Find the courage to pursue what you love, and, by doing so, it will create more joy in your marriage.
Remember your why
When things aren’t going well in your relationship, it’s easy to focus on everything you don’t like about your partner. But before you start dogging the person you love (in your head or to others), think long and hard about why you chose to marry that person in the first place.
What was it about their values or their personality that made you wan to say, I do.” Out of all the people in the world, why was this person your choice? If you are able to focus on what made you fall in love, your love has a better chance of lasting.
BMWK, what are you doing to create your happily every after?