Divorce is often one of the most devastating moments in a person’s life. Nearly everyone gets into marriage with the goal of having a strong, enduring relationship with their life partner.
But, divorce statistics are stacked against them.
Round numbers put the divorce rate for first-time spouses at about half, and the rate shoots higher for those who are already divorced at least once.
The signs of a healthy relationship in a happy couple’s married life don’t just happen out of the blue. They take work, dedication, and commitment from both partners to make their marriage last.
You must learn how to be a better wife, or how to be a better husband if you plan on getting the love you want in your marriage.
Here are 10 pieces of marriage and relationship advice for healthy relationships, a good marriage, and true love that lasts.
1. Get off social media
Life is far from perfect and social media gives us a sense that all of our friends, family, and strangers are winning at marriage when, perhaps, they are not.
There is no one size fits all family. You cannot and should not compare your relationship to the idealistic and unrealistic version of a family you see on social media.
2. Prioritize your spouse over children
Once you have children in your family, recognize their importance, but do not make them more important than your spouse.
You have a lot of roles in your life and no one role really is more important than the others — they are simply different. Be sure to focus your time and energy on growing in each role.
3. Resolve your fights
Right? Wrong? Neither. Expand the way you think about things. If your spouse disagrees with you, do not feel as if they are fighting you. Do not dig in your heels and feel the need to fight back, and to win.
Instead, open your mind and explore why they disagree with you. In a good marriage, couples ask questions and have a discussion. Perhaps neither of you is right or, even better, both of you are right. But, you are both simply overlooking how your different opinions blend.
4. Don’t be blindsided by your emotions
A lot of people feel that they have been blindsided by a spouse who wants a divorce. But, rarely are divorces caused by one big event.
Divorces are caused by a fundamental breakdown in a relationship, and that typically happens over time. It is simply the big thing that provokes one of you to use the “d” word.
Be an observer of your own life and those in it. Take a step back, and instead of talking, ask questions. Try to understand your partner’s needs and how you can meet them. This is how you can be a good wife or a good husband without letting your emotions get in the way. Communicate with the partner when you are struggling in the relationship.
5. Don’t stay in the marriage for the kids
Many married couples justify remaining in a relationship that they do not want “for the kids”. In some situations, that may be good for the children and the spouses. For others, it may not.
You need to consider how remaining in this relationship impacts you, which will, in turn, have a direct impact on the children. Your relationship impacts the children’s daily routines, concerns, interactions, and future relationships and growth.
6. Avoid the blame game
Your relationship may lead to a divorce and it may not be anyone’s fault. There are some relationships that simply grow and change in ways that do not fit the couple any longer.
This is okay. It is not a failure. It is a simple change in dynamic and in your needs.
7. Take the time.
Life flies by. You need to stop and take the time to foster a relationship with your spouse. You need to take each moment and express your care for them by making little gestures, even if those gestures are washing dishes or doing laundry.
Put down your phone or email. Responding to that one last email or checking your Twitter feed one last time is not more important than being a participant in what is happening in your own relationship. If you want to fall back in love, you need to take the time to do it.
8. Talk, talk, talk
Some people just don’t like to talk. But, why? Are they depressed? Withdrawn? Unhappy? Do they feel talked over? Or, is their personality more introverted, where they need time alone to decompress?
Everyone is different, but you do need to communicate and take recognition that your partner may have a different way of doing so. Be respectful of that.
9. Fight fairly
You will fight. Be sure to fight, fairly. You are entitled to feel the way you feel, but so is the other person. You may disagree with that person, but they have every right to hold certain feelings.
Take a step back, and then ask your partner questions. Try to reflect back what you thought you heard them say. Ask them what concerns them and what they need from you right now. Express your own feelings. Do not be afraid to say, “I feel afraid/unhappy/distant/sad.”
10. Take care of yourself
You cannot go into a relationship expecting that the other person will make you complete. For you to be the best partner you can be, you must already be a complete person. If you want true love in a marriage, you must offer self-love first.
If you need to work on yourself, be sure to focus on that. Value your friendships, hobbies, and needs. A partner who does not value you and your needs to take care of yourself may not be your best partner. Be sure to let your partner focus on him or her too.