Make your marriage work! The best way to be married is to be happily married. I mean who wants to be unhappy? Who wants to dread having yet another silly argument with their spouse? Who wants to excel in other areas of their life yet feel stressed out in their marriage? Ummm…no one! Now don’t get me wrong, I know it takes effort to have a happy marriage. If there was a magic wand for marriage, I would have had two or three of them by now.
That being said, I have a few ideas that I’d like you to consider when you think about what it takes to be happy inside of yourself and inside of your marriage. Specifically, I want you to be happy mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. You CAN make your marriage work. Here goes…
1. Stick to your promise
You took vows and made a promise to one another which means you are stuck with him. So there’s that. Our household abides by the mantra, “No one is going anywhere.” Although he may get the side eye for a few days and neck roll to match, I did make a promise to him and to myself.
2. Realize that you deserve to be happy
My dear, you are worthy of the BEST life has to offer and that includes being happy inside your marriage. Of course it 100% takes a willing partner, but you have a say in this too. Let me tell you this- you may be married with children but you have one life to live before you turn into a golden girl! Can I get an ‘amen’! Seriously! What small steps can you take to be happier? What can you do to get your relationship on a path that’s pleasing to you? Take some quiet time to write down your thoughts, make a plan, and follow it. Hopefully when he sees your investment, he will match it and get his ass on board… or else.
3. Remember there is love there
You married this fool for a good reason. Think back to the day you realized he was “the one.” What caused the spark that made you want to spend your life with him? What made you love him? Go back to that day. Try to see the good in him and connect the dots from that day to today. Remember the love because no one is going anywhere so you’re gonna need lots of it.
4. Know When to Call an expert
If you’re having 99 problems in your marriage, counseling should not be one. Counseling is for problem-solving in marriage but it is also for maintenance too. In my home, we have counselors (my therapist; our pastor) on speed dial for regular guidance, mediation and an objective point of view when we disagree. It helps to hear from someone who has a vested interest in you two staying together. Your local place of worship and employer may offer programs that can connect you to a licensed counselor or therapist. Most employers offer some kind of behavioral health benefits that may cover individual or couples counseling.
5. Know when to get some space
When you-know-who and the toddler are driving me crazy, I take some time away. Shiid, who am I kidding…I f*ckin run from them. I’m like, “Wave it in his face, tell him, boy, bye. Tell him, boy, bye, boy, bye.” BUT when I return I feel like a champ whether I was in Starbucks drinking a cup of tea or at a bar with a margarita. Absence makes my heart grow fonder at least once a week. Give yourself a minute to decompress and process your thoughts in peace. You just might return renewed and refreshed and want to stick around.
6. Choose an accountability partner or marriage mentor
It takes a village to stay married and apparently to raise a child, so says the African proverb. You need a village to hold you accountable for staying true to your marriage and to call you out when you’re wrong and acting petty. (Yes, Boo,YOU be trippin’ sometimes and you know it!) You need a village you can vent too and talk it through so you can let it go. You also need a village to encourage you to chill out when you’re close to starring in an episode of Snapped. (And we all know how that ends.) A couple tips on selecting village people… get it…Village People?) Make sure your village people are purveyors of good advice, can be objective, and most of all can keep a lid on things. You don’t want your business in the village newspaper or on the innanets. (Internet for those of you not hip with the slang talk.)
7. Get intimate
No, I’m not talking sex, although that helps a lot. By intimate I mean baring it all to your mate. Let him know how sad, hurt, angry, etc you are and why. Use ‘I statements’ so you can focus on your feelings and not so much on blaming him. For example, “I get angry when I feel you spend more time with the guys than with me.” You could also say, “I appreciate it when you ask me what I think because it makes me feel heard.” (Trust me you will get way better results this way.)
My husband and I have been married almost 8 years and I can tell you without a doubt prayer has saved us time and time again. I mean I love him but Lawd Hamercy, he works every last nerve some days! J-E-S-U-S! Sometimes I get so angry and uttering a little prayer keeps me from saying or doing something I will regret. Sometimes I pray asking God for guidance, for strength, and to influence my husband in a positive way. Sometimes I pray for God to help me become a better, kinder wife. Because at the end of the day we are in this thing together. No one is going anywhere.
MAKE your marriage work!
Alexandria M. Cummings is a wife, mom, and financial coach. You can find her on Twitter spreading the gospel of smart spending and saving. She resides in Chicago with her husband and son.
Also published by Alexandria: My Tits, My Terms! Why I’m Still Nursing A Toddler.