We have officially made it to our one year wedding anniversary! I can’t even believe a whole year has gone by!! A whole year later, I can honestly say I love my husband even more now than I did on our wedding day.
They always say that the first year is the hardest and I can see why. You’re going through life together for the first time as a real, unbreakable team. It’s scary at first because even though you’ve been dating and know what each other, marriage opens up new realms of your relationship. You start to learn about each other and who you are as a team in the bad and good.
I always thought that once you’re married, there are no bad times in your life and you live happily ever after. Like life just stopped bringing trying times and you and your prince live happily on the hilltop. I was obviously delusional.
This year was full of so many changes, happy, loving memories, and testing times. In one year we started to co-run a company, traveled to another country, five states, and 12 cities. We have made it through four miscarriages, loss in our family, and remodeling our home. It’s safe to say we have experienced a lot of life and lessons in the one year we’ve been married.
However, once you’re married, you don’t have to go through it alone. You now have a partner. Someone to lean on and love you unconditionally. I realized going through these times together made us so much stronger than the couple we were just a year ago.
This year we grew up so much, but we did it together.
So you’re probably wondering what our “secret” is. That, I can’t tell you. I don’t think there is some magical secret people don’t know about, and that’s why marriages and relationships fail. Instead, there are a million little things that create a successful marriage.
Here are my five “rules” for a successful marriage:
1. Never Stop Trying
I have to talk about this first even though you have heard it a million and one times. But it is probably the best piece of advice you could ever be given AND the number one rule for a successful marriage. NEVER. STOP. TRYING.
There will be many points in your marriage that it feels natural to be complacent. You both have a routine, already are married, and now navigating life together. Why would you need to put in all the effort you did before when you already know who you both are?
BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT MADE THEM FALL IN LOVE WITH YOU.
I think that is something so many people forget. When you first started dating it was all love, kisses, and butterflies. And then you move past the newness, and it slowly starts to dwindle until it becomes more normal to nag at each other’s faults rather than highlighting your strengths like you used to do.
Remember when they used to walk on water? Why did that change? Because they are human and have faults? Well, newsflash- so.do.you.
There is so much stigma about what “trying” in a relationship means. However, it doesn’t have to be extravagant, expensive, or flashy. You could make enormous efforts every single day and not spend one penny.
-Make the bed in the morning before leaving for work
-Thank your spouse for a chore they did around the house, or for something they always do.
(My husband always takes out the trash cans for us on trash day, and I can say the four years we lived together it has never crossed my mind even to be bothered to know what day trash day is. It is a quick and easy chore, but he does it every week and never forgets. I sat back a couple of weeks ago and realized how big of an effort that is in making sure we have a functioning household and a place to put our trash. I finally thanked him one day and the smile it brought to his face showed me how far a little ‘thank you’ can go. Now I try to make it a point every time I notice the trash cans are set out to say thank you.)
-Let your spouse sleep in
-Run an errand for them that they hate doing
-Tell them you love them every morning and every night
(My husband gets up at 5 am -insert eye roll- for the gym. I am still asleep because I’m not a psychopath, haha, but we never get to see each other in the morning. Well, for as long as I can remember, I have woken up to the most amazing ‘Good Morning Text.’ He sends a quick “Good Morning, I love you, and I hope you have a great day!” It is SO simple but something I look forward to first thing when I wake up every day. It helps us start our morning in love and appreciation and sets the tone for a good day. All just from a little good morning text!
2. Never Stop Listening
Let me explain- we as humans are actually pretty simple beings. When we want/need something, it ends up pouring out of us. Everyone has different ways to communicate, and you need to learn the way your spouse expresses their wants and needs. If you never stop listening and they to you, it will be pretty damn easy to pick up on their needs. When you first start dating, you listen to everything they say like their word is gold. But after a while, it is easier to tune out. That’s when there starts to be that discord between you two. Your spouse begins to feel unheard which leads to them feeling unappreciated, and the spiral continues. You can change this by making it a point to LISTEN when you are together
My favorite example is: ”I am so stressed out from work today, I feel like I could sleep for three days straight” (something I often say). They are saying they are emotionally drained, beat up, and need some time to recharge. Bringing us back to Rule #1, you can show that you are listening by letting them sleep in the next day or handling the chores for that evening giving your spouse some much needed time off. Or, something even as simple as letting them watch their favorite tv show uninterrupted just to give them some time to clear their head. You are not only showing them that their needs are being heard, but that you are making an effort to meet those needs for nothing more than to see them happy.
Wow, that’s groundbreaking! I know, I know. BUT it is CRUCIAL to the success of your marriage. And when I say you must forgive, I mean for the big and small stuff. We are all imperfect humans and when you live with someone you start to see every single little flaw. Forgive them for it. Forgive them if they forget to take the trash out, bath the dogs, or hang laundry. So many people let these small things build up and become detrimental to your marriage. DON’T. Forgive for the little and forgive for the big.
4. Leave Your Ego at The Door
Let’s say it louder for those in the back. There is only room in a marriage for two: you and your spouse. Not you, your ego, and your spouse. It is so easy to let your ego get in the way especially when you feel you are being questioned, accused, or need to be defensive. You cannot give unconditional love or truly think about your spouse first if your ego dominates you. Your ego simply won’t allow you to put someone else first.
Ego and Pride are best friends, and if you let them take over, it will be just you three. We need to remember we signed up for LIFE with our partner. Even though you are building a life together, you have to remember that you and your spouse have lived different life experiences that make them who you/they are today. You can disagree, want to improve, or not like something. That doesn’t mean you have to belittle them, make them pay, or try to get even. Instead, see that you both have lived different childhoods and lives that brought you to have those patterns or beliefs. If it’s something your or they need to work on, then do it together with kindness. When ego and pride aren’t involved, you will see how easy it is to want the best for your spouse.
5. Love Unconditionally
I think this is the hardest rule to remember. To love unconditionally. I, myself, didn’t even know what that meant until recently. Like I mentioned above, marriage is for life (hopefully). But with divorce rates higher than ever, the temptation of social media, and just pop culture, you tend to forget that marriage was meant to be a lifelong commitment. Marriage is loving them for their bad days, the no-makeup days, as you age, as you put on a few pounds, as you grow, and so forth. Love yourself and your spouse more and more with each passing day.
Absolutely no marriage can be successful until you learn to love unconditionally. Rules 1-4 will help get you there.
-When you do the small things for them, you are keeping the spark alive and telling them they are loved. In return, they will do little things for you and the love will keep flowing.
-When you listen to their wants and needs, you are telling them that they matter. You are showing them that you care about how they feel and you love them for it. (Again, you get what you give)
-When you forgive you are saying, “You are human, and so am I. We are not perfect, and I forgive and love you.”
-When you break up with your ego, you are telling your spouse that them and your happiness together is all that matters. Not who is right, who is better, or who deserves to pay for what they did.
-Lastly, when you’ve broken down all those walls, you will find how easy it is to love them unconditionally.
Honestly writing this post has made me so much more self-aware. I just realized that I genuinely believe in what I’m saying, but some days even I forget it. Be right back-I need to go hug and kiss my hubby.
If you and your spouse have been having issues, remember it’s never too late to turn it around. You can go up to them right now, give them a huge kiss, and ask to start fresh. If they agree, then do exactly that. Don’t bring up past failures, faults, or mistakes. That’s letting your ego take control once again. Instead, move on. Let it go and remember the big picture: a lifetime of happiness with the love of your life.
I would love to hear any advice, tips, or tricks you have for a long and happy marriage. Drop a comment below or shoot me an email.
Thank you for reading!