Maintaining a happy marriage is not easy. However, doing so can be one of the most rewarding and fulfilling accomplishments of a lifetime. According to the American Psychological Association, 40 to 50 percent of married couples in the United States eventually divorce. Even more troubling are those couples who remain married even though they are deeply unhappy. Below are five things that I do on a regular basis in order to ensure that my marriage stays happy and healthy, and my family remains intact.
I cook for my husband.
I don’t do this because we live in a 1950’s marriage – in fact, in our home, my husband does most of the laundry and often helps with other chores. I cook because it is a tangible expression of my love for him that makes him feel valued, appreciated, and worth the effort it takes to put a meal together. If you are not a chef, there are other ways to accomplish this. Look to your own talents. You may give a great foot rub, play the guitar for him, or stir up a mean martini. The important thing is that it be sensual, since men are very physical creatures, and that it make him feel loved and cared for.
I say “thank you.”
This is a small and simple gesture, but it has a mighty impact. Aside from the significant health benefits of gratitude, expressing appreciation for your husband will boost his self-esteem and make him more likely to repeat the action in the future. There is a story often spread among teachers about a struggling student who accidentally got sent home with a good report card. The error caused him to raise his expectations of himself to match his new self-image, and his performance skyrocketed. In the same way, hearing your gratitude may cause your partner to see himself as a better husband, and rise to the challenge – giving you much more to thank him for.
I support his passions.
My husband is a marathon runner. I, however, cannot think of anything I would rather not do. I would seriously rather go through the process of giving birth again than run an actual marathon – and yet, there I am at the finish line, cheering him on. You don’t have to share your husband’s hobbies. I absolutely do not share his. You should, however, support them. The things that I am passionate about, such as writing, are a huge part of what make me who I am. When my husband supports me, I feel proud of myself and connected to him. I hope that I give him the same feeling.
I ask for his opinion.
If I have a decision to make, I often ask my husband for advice. He is insightful, intelligent, and wise, and asking for his input is a simple way to let him know that I see him this as such. Solving external problems together also helps us to practice working through issues as a team. These skills are crucial when faced with a problem within our marriage that needs to be solved.
I engage spiritually with my husband.
As Patrick Peyton once said, “the couple that prays together, stays together.” Although this sentiment, like the practice of cooking, may feel outdated, sharing your religious or spiritual beliefs can bond you very powerfully to one another. It is difficult to deeply understand someone’s mind and soul without discussing spiritual topics, and sharing these beliefs can help you to connect on an incredibly deep level. You don’t have to agree with him – but it is important to understand and respect his beliefs, and for him to understand and respect yours. My husband and I attend church services together, and know many happy couples that do the same.
When my husband is happy, he is at his best self. When he is at his best self, our marriage and home are my favorite place to be. Investing time and energy in our marriage is one of the most worthwhile and satisfying things that I do, and I can see the results in our home, our child, and our hearts. You don’t have to be an old-fashioned housewife to make a marriage work. However, you do have to put a significant amount of time and effort into maintaining a loving connection.