I would be doing you a huge disservice and basically lying through my teeth if I told you that marriage is always smooth sailing. It isn't, but nothing that is truly worth it's weight is easy. Marriage is a work in progress, it is a patchwork comprised of a million tiny moments both the happy and heartbreaking ones that cement its foundation and viability. And I can say without reservation that a long marriage is NOT for the faint of heart, or for those who do not know the meaning of compromise -- marriage is a lesson in compromise and ultimately in letting your spouse off the hook, i.e., letting go of your grudges.
I have been married for 15 long years and I can say with absolutely no reservations that there really is no SECRET to marriage (I just USED the word SECRET as a way to get you to READ THIS POST -- yes I am clever) rather it's about the decisions you make in regards to how you react to your spouse that will help to keep you on the road to wedded bliss. And while I can't speak for all couples I can speak from my own experience being in the trenches for 15 years that at times has felt like an eternity and at other times has felt like we've only just begun on our journey. So here it is -- five secrets of happyish married couples. I say HAPPYISH because you will always be at varying degrees of happy, aka you will be HAPPYISH.
#1 HIRE someone to do things that are GUARANTEED to cause you and your spouse to argue (the INVESTMENT will be worth its weight in gold). When your husband is putting together a basketball hoop that you ordered without first conferring with him and it arrives by UPS and your son proceeds to jump on his old and tired back and gnaw at his ear with the phrase, "When are you putting it together daddy???" and your husband tells you the instructions are in Chinese and he really can't do it -- BELIEVE HIM.
INSTEAD of making a fuss and berating him for his lack of handyman prowess, believe him when he tells you the instructions are in CHINESE and then HIRE someone else to do it.
#2 Don't ask your spouse the same question more than once. Chances are when you asked your spouse this question the first time, HE HEARD YOU.
#3 If there is only enough milk left for ONE CUP OF COFFEE, don't drink it. Save that last cup of milk/coffee for your spouse. That small act of kindness is one you can keep in your back pocket and pull out anytime you need to remind your spouse what a an unconditionally loving partner you are.
#4 Never forget to EXERCISE your mute button. Sure you are angry, stressed and the easiest thing to do would be to get all that toxicity out of your body and often the easiest target and vessel for that anger is your better half. But instead I suggest using your MUTE button and taking the dogs out for a walk or better yet heading for the gym. Your body will thank you and so will your spouse.
#5 Grow together NOT APART. So you don't LOVE to spend your weekends at Dog rescue meetups or listening to the same men call into radio shows and rant about the same missed play from last night's game. DO IT ANYWAY. Do things together -- your spouse will love you all the more for it.
This post originally appeared on Married My Sugar Daddy.