Having a happy and healthy marriage is something that couples should strive for.  It’s not always easy to know what steps to take to create that kind of marriage, though.

You may be completely in love with your spouse, but sometimes that is not enough to sustain a healthy marriage.  Why?  Because marriage take a certain set of skills, so to speak.  The skills it takes to have a healthy marriage aren’t extremely difficult, but they do take some self awareness and patience.

|This post was co-written by Licensed Professional Counselor, LaVonne Dyste, LPC.  This post should not be taken as actual medical advice.|

This post is part of the series “31 Days to Household Happiness”. If you would like to join in on the rest of the series, you can CLICK HERE.

happy married life

Let’s get down to business.  How do you achieve happy married life?

Spend quality time together.

Relationships don’t grow and flourish if you don’t spend quality time with your spouse.  When you have kids, this might look a little different than your pre-kid era.

As a married couple with kids, you will have to carve out time to spend together.  This might mean spending time before your kids wake up, before they go to sleep, or when they are at school, grandma’s house or with a babysitter.

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Quality time with your spouse gives you time to talk about things that you normally don’t get to discuss.  Especially when you have kids, this time alone can do wonders in your relationship.  You can talk about your dreams for your future and anything that might be weighing down your marriage.

During your time together you can do things you enjoy.  Maybe you both love to play golf or hiking.  Do that!

Invest time in your relationship and you will be so glad you did.  It’s vital for a healthy and happy married life.

Laugh together.

You have probably heard the saying “Laughter is the best medicine.”  Laughter is also great preventative medicine for marriages.

When couples have fun and laugh together, it is a sign of a healthy marriage.  If you and your spouse are grouchy and grumbling most of the time, then it may be time to take a look at your relationship.

Life is too short to NOT be enjoying each other’s company.

Compromising and knowing when to give in.

Having to be right is a huge downfall in a lot of marriages.  It becomes a competition between spouses, even though couples should function as a team.

Compromising is another key skill in having a healthy and happy marriage.  It doesn’t mean you are a doormat for your spouse to walk on, but rather that you are able to discuss your differences and come up with a solution that works for both of you.

Knowing when to give in is a little bit different than compromising because there are sometimes when one spouse is just more passionate about something and the other spouses isn’t.

For example, if your spouse would be absolutely thrilled about painting the bedroom blue and you don’t want to, but don’t really care that much, then let the bedroom get painted!

People who have thriving marriages are not in a constant competition with each other.  They compromise and realize that giving in, even when you might not love a decision is not the end of the world.

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Respect one another.

Respect is one of those things that is absolutely essential for life in general.  Being respectful to your spouse will make or break your marriage.

When there is disrespect in a marriage, it becomes so hurtful that it’s hard to recover a relationship.  Don’t go there!

Respect looks like:

  • speaking highly of your spouse to him or her, as well as around other people.
  • listening to what your spouse has to say.
  • include your spouse in your daily happenings— talk about it and share your hobbies and past times.
  • letting your spouse know how much you appreciate him or her.

If respect has become an issue in your marriage, you need to figure out why.  What prior happenings have taken place that have diminished respect between you and your spouse?

In order to have a marriage that thrives, you have to have a mutual respect for each other.

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Communicate with each other.

Communication isn’t the big hairy beast that most people think it is.  Communicating with your spouse simply means that you are able to discuss an issue in a calm and collected manner.

Good communication is:

  • listening intently to what your spouse has to say
  • listening to understand, not just listening to respond
  • speaking calmly and respectfully–no name calling or put-downs
  • having a positive attitude about discussions

Communicating shouldn’t only to happen when there is a problem in your marriage, though.  The lines of communication should always be open, no matter what.

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Recognizing yourselves as a team.

When you are married, it is extremely important that you view your relationship as a union, because that’s what it is.  Being married is a joint venture that means you confide in each other and act as partners.

Think of yourselves as “we” not just “me”.   

When you believe that you are a team, it makes your relationship easier and healthier.  You can take on the world together and solve any problems that come your way.

Final thoughts on having a happy married life:  

Being content in your marriage is not always something that comes easily.  For some couples, it may mean they have to brush up on their communication skills, or another area within the marriage.

The ultimate point in your marriage is when you are happy and the marriage is healthy.  Once that happens, everything else falls into place.

LaVonne Dyste is a Licensed Professional Counselor at The Springs Counseling Group.   She specializes in working with couples and families, hoarding and patients with OCD.