Living happily ever after in a marriage isn’t always so simple and perpetually filled with happiness, as couples have to make an effort for their relationship to last for the long term. We all agree that in any relationship there will be some deal-breakers and compromises that need to be made. Nothing is ever perfect! Having said that, couples in a successful marriage know how to improve and tolerate, persuade and influence their better halves – a sure-fire recipe for a happier marriage.
Psychology Explains 6 Ways to Make Your Marriage Happier:
“Sensual pleasures have the fleeting brilliance of a comet; a happy marriage has the tranquility of a lovely sunset.” – Ann Landers
1. Use the right words and devices of persuasion carefully.
You’d like your husband to try out a new diet because you’re concerned about his health, but he’s not a fan of diets. You want your wife to take a vacation with her girlfriends because she’s too stressed at work and it’s affecting your home life, but she declines. So, how can you convince your spouse to do something they might not like to do? According to psychiatric nurse Allison Sweet-Grant via Redbook, you can try to change their mind by choosing the right words or devising subtle hints to elicit positive reactions.
Start by making small requests if they are resistant to make big changes. Persuade by hinting that certain people you know are doing the Keto diet successfully. Or make casual comments about this couple you know who take separate but enriching vacations.
These psychological tricks might seem manipulative. However, Grant said that if you want what’s best for your loved one or you know a change will be good for them, then convincing them to try something new isn’t a deception nor a manipulation.
2. Focus on positive thinking and positive things.
Many arguments between couples arise from differences in values, personality, lifestyle, and background. So, even if a wife tries hard year after year to change her husband, it might likely never happen.
A study from the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships showed that if your main focus in the marriage is in trying to change your spouse, then you could end up becoming dissatisfied and unhappy with each other. The better way is to focus on your partner’s positive traits and characteristics. Improve on these rather than trying to correct and change the behavior that annoys you.
According to psychologist Dr. Ted Houston, couples in a happy marriage know how to resolve conflicts and differences. More than that, however, their main focus is to perpetuate positivity in their relationship, as per Psychology Today.
3. Experience exciting things together.
Up for a date night? Ditch the pleasant and romantic candlelight dinners. Instead, do something adventurous and exciting. A study from 1993 followed couples for 10 weeks as they went on pleasant and exciting date nights. Couples who did novel and stimulating things together manifested more marital satisfaction compared to couples who shared activities that they’ve done many times before.
Spending time together won’t be enough, as you need to be engaged with each other to strengthen your bond. So, if you’ve been wining and dining to romantic music on most weekends, why not organize a trivia or game night with some of your friends, or register for a ballroom dancing class next time?
4. Dial down on the unrealistic expectations.
Everyone has expectations in relationships but those who feel that the best marriages should be magical, with elements of fairy tales, are doomed to be disillusioned. Bringing magic into a marriage is not solely about intense emotions, passion, and romance; it takes a lot of effort and work to keep that spark alive.
If you hold on to unrealistic expectations and use them as the basis for judging your partner’s actions, then you could be disappointed if he or she does not meet your standards. How often have you heard that unmet expectations cause problems in the marriage?
In long-term marriages, couples evolve from being lovers to comfortable companions, so it’s natural to lose that spark eventually. Your expectations from each other should not only be realistic but also flexible. Happiness will not be elusive if you acknowledge this in your relationship.
This isn’t to say, however, that you should not have expectations from each other since there’s no such thing as an unconditional love in a marriage. There are boundaries you’re expected to uphold. For instance, you can’t cheat on your partner over and over and expect forgiveness each time.
5. Make room for your own interests and pursuits.
When the relationship is new, couples only have eyes and time for each other. However, if your activities are centered on just the two of you after two years of marriage, then it’s no longer a healthy passion.
You need to make room for other things or people in your life, even if you’re married. It’s a good thing when couples find something to do together to connect. Even greater, however, is pursuing your own interests with other people. It’s for your own growth and development. In life, you never stop learning and discovering things about yourself. You won’t be able to do this if everything revolves around your spouse.
6. Always show appreciation and gratitude.
Showing gratitude is one of the most important elements of a happy marriage and it goes beyond saying “thank you” to your partner. You should specifically express your appreciation in words and deeds to affirm how you really feel. For instance, if you received a gift from your husband, you can also compliment him for being so thoughtful and generous.
A study from psychologists at the University of Georgia showed that couples who openly express and reciprocate their gratitude for each other have fewer arguments and higher marital satisfaction. Another study from experts at Berkeley stated that gratitude is a like a booster shot for long-lasting happy marriages.
All marriages go through rough patches. While some end up in divorce, plenty of couples manage to remain happy together after the challenges and trials. By following these tips and putting effort into your marriage, you’ll reap the rewards of a successful marriage.