How to Have a Stronger Marriage
Marriage is hard. People do not always realize how much work goes into a strong marriage. They know that they feel love and affection for their spouses, but they do not know how to keep the fire going positively. Healthy marriages are built on love, commitment, and effort. No marriage is just strong because it is. The best thing you can do is to revisit those foundations of love, commitment, and effort.
You need love to have a healthy marriage. Not only do you need to love your spouse, but you also need to love yourself. Having self-respect and loving yourself will make communication and empathy much easier. Spouses that genuinely love each other tend to be more willing to take steps to improve their marriage. If you know you love your spouse but are having trouble, you might consider revisiting why you fell in love in the beginning. Some of the traits that were funny or endearing may have become irritating or frustrating. Was she a bit mysterious? Now you feel like you cannot see inside her feelings. Was he a jokester and made you laugh? Now you feel like you cannot have a serious conversation. Try to remind yourself why those traits were endearing. They helped you love your spouse.
You are committed to your spouse, which is evident since you married him or her. You need to revisit that commitment continually. You said vows to one another. Some of you may have said the traditional vows, but others of you may have written vows. No matter what you said, you committed to each other to honor your marriage and your love. Sometimes you have to commit to being a better communicator, listener, or spouse. No one is a perfect spouse. Sometimes we miscommunicate because our words are misunderstood. However, other times we are the ones who misunderstand. We can learn to be better communicators through marriage counseling, marriage workshops, and self-discovery.
Going to marriage counseling does not mean that you are not happy or that you are considering divorce. What it means is that something is not working, and you are making an effort to fix it. You may need a mediator or teacher to help you learn to change that thing. Often, the problem we are having is not what it seems. Most issues are a result of poor communication. Money, infidelity, and arguments are all communication concerns. For example, if one person is thrifty, but the other person is a frivolous spender, and there is no budget communication. One or both spouses will quickly get frustrated with their finances. The free spender may not communicate spending habits and overspend. The thrifty spouse will soon get frustrated. Likewise, the frugal spouse may complain quite frequently so that the free spender feels restricted. They will also be frustrated. Sometimes, they are unable to communicate these differences so that the other spouse understands. The best thing for them to do is to see a financial planner, marriage counselor, or trusted friend who can help them communicate better.
The Bottom Line
Many facets of love, commitment, and effort exist within a marriage. Cultivating each one like you would a delicate flower will help your marriage to blossom. You do not need to take drastic or extravagant steps. Taking each step one moment at a time and considering your faults as well as your desires will help you become a more reliable spouse. If each of you makes that effort and commitment to using your love to listen and communicate, your marriage will grow nearly indestructible before you know it.