Years ago, someone told me that being happily married was overrated because marriage is not about happiness. They shared that marriage was about a partnership and building a stable family…What? That’s it? We can’t do those things and be happy? I was confused then, and I’m still confused now.
Why would anyone commit to spending a lifetime with another person if you both weren’t planning on being happy together?
Listen, I understand that marriage is hard…But the truth is, life is hard. No one ever promised that this journey would be easy. And when you decide to combine your life with someone else’s—after years of doing things on your own—stuff will happen. You will get mad. There will be frustrations. You will have moments when you wonder what you should do next.
But all of that doesn’t mean that you can’t be happy. I believe that marriage was designed to be a partnership. I believe marriage is about support and love and family. I believe that it involves a lot of compromise. A LOT. But I don’t think we were meant to build a life with another human being without desiring happiness.
And while most of us want to find that happy, sweet spot in our marriages, sometimes we can’t. Maybe we got married under stressful or complicated conditions and there’s never been a sweet spot. Or maybe we were once really happy but that happiness slowly faded with time.
I don’t think much of that matters, though. I think what matters most is whether or not both people in the marriage want to be happier, and are they willing to do what’s necessary to get there.
If you want a happier marriage, here are 7 things you can try:
- Place most of your focus on yourself
It can become so easy to focus on all the things that your spouse isn’t doing right, but focusing on all of his flaws, won’t change anything. It just leaves you feeling stuck and frustrated.For change to occur, you have to move your focus from him to yourself. Yes, you are flawed, too. We all are. And even if your spouse is dead wrong about a few things, you are not perfect. If you focus more on your behaviors, the little dad-to-day things that bring your joy, and what you want your life to look like moving forward, it will ultimately make both of you happier.
- Get deeper in your relationship with God
Even if you have a strong relationship with God, deepening that bond can only help. When we look for outside forces to add joy to our lives, it leaves us wanting more. But if we seek our satisfaction and joy from God, we are sure to find what we need every single time. And not only that, but we are also more likely to approach the people we love from a place of love and peace.
- Have more than one babysitter you trust
This seems like such a basic suggestion, but you’d be surprised at how many couples rarely get away from the kids because they don’t have one or more people they trust to watch their children. This is a must if you want to get away with your spouse and connect on a deeper level.
- Ask your spouse for help
Your spouse can’t read your mind. Even if the need for help seems obvious to you, it may not be to him. If you need something, ask for it. Plain and simple. It prevents you from becoming aggravated, and you will come to realize that you partner has your back more than you think if would just ask.
- Go to counseling
Whether it’s couples counseling or individual counseling (or both), consider visiting a counselor or therapist to work through any unresolved issues you have. Sometimes we allow the past to steal our happiness simply because we are unable to work through it. Ask someone to help you work through it.
- Schedule weekly dates and/or meetings
If you plan to spend a lifetime being happy with someone, you have to make time to connect, time to talk. Don’t let the busyness of life force you into putting your marriage on the backburner. Date each other. Talk. Have family meetings. Do whatever you can to make sure you both feel supported and heard.
- Give what you want to get
It’s easy to focus on what you aren’t getting in your marriage, but you also have to give some thought to what you aren’t giving. You can’t have this long list of expectations when you know darn well that you are coming up short in most of the same areas. You get what you give. If you want more to make you happy, trying giving more.
BMWK family, what are some things you do to make your marriage a happier one?