5 Tips For A Successful Marriage
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Let's face it. Marriage is hard and anyone who says otherwise is either lying or living under a rock. Merging finances, living together, and balancing individuality and togetherness is a difficult endeavor. Marriage is a wonderful thing and while each one is different, there are a few things that can help every marriage to succeed. These are a few of those points:
Set a schedule for talking about money.
According to Kansas State University researcher Sonya Britt, money is the single biggest driving factor behind divorce, but it doesn't have to be. Talking about money is great, but it’s not enough. It’s also important to be truly honest about it. It's not just about how much you're making or how you're spending it, it's also about setting goals and creating plans to reach them. Money is the one thing that's never going away, so it's important to discuss finances on a regular basis, whether it's monthly or annually. The point is to make a plan and stick with it so that each partner in the relationship is aware of where things stand and where each person wants to be, which will help you find common ground.
Respect each other's individuality.
People get married because they fall in love with a person for who they are, and marriage shouldn't change that. While it's true that people who live together pick up on each other's hobbies and mannerisms, it's important to not only remain true to yourself, but also to respect the other person's right to do the same. It’s perfectly okay to have separate hobbies that don’t include each other, so long as no one feels excluded. When both people remain true to themselves, they can better appreciate the individuality of their partner, and the results are very rewarding. It can be difficult and may require some navigation around self versus other, but failing to be true to you can cause resentment and breed hostility, which doesn't need to be the case.
Understand that people change, and that's okay.
Every seven to ten years, a person's cellular makeup changes, so it follows that people also change. This isn't a bad thing. There are, of course, times when people change in different directions, but in an open and honest relationship, people are given the opportunity to grow together because they know what to expect. If you're feeling differently about things, whether it is politics or your satisfaction in the relationship, then talk about it so that your partner isn't blindsided. The important thing is that each partner is given the opportunity to respond and grow alongside the other, and that can only happen if both people know that change is a good thing and are aware of changing mindsets. On that note, it's important to point out that even divorce doesn't negate a successful marriage. This may sound counterintuitive, but many marriages that end in divorce are considered successful by the people who were in it. People change, and just because two people grow in different directions doesn't mean that what they had wasn't successful for its duration.
Know that fighting is okay.
Everyone fights. It's normal. Fighting isn’t the problem, it’s how you fight that can have catastrophic results. Derogatory name-calling and abuse are absolutely not okay, but voicing concerns and yes, even yelling, can lead to positive results. Fighting usually occurs because at least one person in the marriage is unhappy about something, and that anger can either be used for good evil. Understanding that fighting is okay serves as a reminder that it can be used for good, so long as it results in a productive conversation and that each partner fights fairly.
There is no "normal" marriage.
There are a million articles and studies out there that will tell you what is "normal"; from how often couples have sex to how many maintain separate bank accounts. The thing is, these are just averages, and no couple is average. Fifty years ago, it wasn't normal for people to live together before marriage, but now it's much more commonplace. Same goes for interracial marriage, same-sex marriage, wives in the workplace, women being the breadwinners, or having a child before marriage. And yet, people did these things and did just fine in life. So forget everything you've read about what's normal and do what's right for you. At the end of the day, your marriage only includes two people who matter, you and your significant other, and it's you who gets to decide what's normal for your marriage.
What tips do you have for a successful marriage?