It’s no secret. Marriage is hard work. It’s even more difficult today than it was a decade ago. I mean, just look at how divorce rates have skyrocketed! BUT, this is not to say that marriage is outdated. If it were, you wouldn’t be on this website reading this blog post looking for tips and tricks to plan the perfect wedding.
I’m very lucky. My parents are the absolute definition of true love and making a marriage last. This October, they celebrated 29 wonderful years together, five kids, their friendship, their commitment, and most importantly, they celebrated each other.
You may not believe me when I tell you that they grow happier together every single year. Their love doesn’t fade, and it’s an absolutely wonderful, inspiring, and heartwarming thing to be witness to. So how do you make your marriage last? Well, here are a couple of tips and tricks I’ve learned from my parents throughout the years.
Never go to bed angry
You just don’t let problems fester. You’ve probably heard this line a thousand times so I’m not going to nail it in. I will say this though: the secret to a happy marriage is learning how to communicate when you’re angry. A part of that is realizing that fighting is not a solution. What’s worse than argument? A looooooong argument that lasts days! It’s emotionally and physically draining. I’ll tell you this much, my parents have never let an argument fester for more than a few hours. No matter how big or small, they both knew that when that sun came up again they would be enjoying their morning coffee together.
Learn things together
This is especially important. You always have to keep things interesting and what better way to do this than to teach each other. My dad started using this new fitness app because he was determined to get healthy. Every night, they would go on walks together. After a couple of weeks of eating right and light exercise (and constant teasing about who was doing a better job keeping up with their “new” health plan) they had results to show for it. Both lost a couple of inches off their waist. They motivated, they empowered, they coached, and most importantly, they cheered each other on.
Laugh. A lot!
You know you’re with the right person if after 29 years you can still act like children. I remember this one time, my brother and I were both taking a break from studying and we were watching a show in the living room with my parents. It was my mom’s favourite show. Suddenly, we notice the channel switched. My mom grabs the remote from the table and changes it back. After a few minutes, the channel switches again. She looks straight at my dad lying on the couch, face serious. My mom knew he was the one messing with the remote control (even though he kept denying this). My mom starts searching for the second remote
around him. I tell you, this lasted a good 15 minutes. My brother and I just shook our heads and watched them laughing. Seriously, there’s nothing better than humour in a relationship. It keeps you young!
Friendship is important because love changes
There are different stages of love. There’s the initial stage where you have butterflies in your stomach, your heart starts pounding every time you see them, and everything is flowers and sunshine and rainbows. If it’s true love, though, what happens next is something much more meaningful. True love is about experiences, respect, and deep appreciation and admiration for one another. It’s about the life you build, the stories you share, and the obstacles you overcome. It’s about knowing that no matter what happens, you will always have this one person by your side to support you and build you up.
All this to say that love changes. It’s important that your connection grows into something deeper. A friendship. Your partner being your best friend is the best gift you can give to yourself. Sparks don’t last forever, true friendship and love will get you through.
Say “I’m sorry” and don’t hold grudges
Last but not least, say “I’m sorry” and don’t hold grudges. I find this tip to be the most important. I never understood why couples hold grudges against one another or refuse to apologize when they are in the wrong. Nobody is perfect. Every couple will face obstacles in their marriage. But this is NOT a boyfriend/girlfriend type situation. When you get married, you make a commitment to be with that person:
“For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do you part.”
Yes. Getting a divorce is much easier today. Sometimes I think this is the reason so many marriages fail. When the times get tough, the tough get going right? What I always tell my married friends is this. If you were serious when you made your vows, you understand that no matter what you’re fighting about, you will STILL be together tomorrow. So why keep fighting with your partner and be miserable? Just apologize and move on. Of course, I am not telling you to never to stick up for what you believe in. But we all know the cycle of fighting. After a while it becomes a convoluted mess where neither party knows what the other is talking about or what they started fighting about in the first place.
Pick your battles wisely and remember one of you has to give in eventually (you can’t just break up with each other when you’re married)!
Final thoughts? Work together to make your relationship better. Love is not perfect and neither is marriage. You will struggle, you will argue, and at times you will hate each other. When you’re facing hard times just remember the reason why you fell for your partner. You know your partner so well; you know their good, and their bad. Heck you know their quirks and the strange things they do that nobody else in the world has an idea about. Learning to work together is what will get you through.
Remember to cherish every moment. Before you know it, you’re going to be celebrating your 30th, 40th, 50th wedding anniversary and wondering where all that time went. Live in the present and enjoy each other. Life is too short not to!