It might be a little surprising that one of the best ways to have the best married life is to in fact have a life outside of the marriage. This doesn't mean have any kind of affair, of course, it just means that you should both have friends, hobbies, and goals of your own. At times when your spouse is all you have it can put a strain on the relationship, as they aren't able to complete you as a person. Remember, you are two complete people who have chosen to love one another forever. That doesn't mean you can't spend time with your best friends, pursue your career goals, or enjoy painting, golf, or going to the gym alone.
This advice is almost as old as the hills, but the longer you have been together or the busier you are, the more this rule becomes essential to a happy marriage. Don't just make time for each other to discuss the finances or how your children are doing in school, although that's important too. Make sure that you are able to have fun together, enjoy each other's company, and practice intimacy and romance.
Common roadblocks to this problem are either when you feel like you are too busy and there just isn't time, or things become mundane as the years come and go. Our modern lifestyle often slowly takes over our personal lives, leaving too many meetings and appointments and a general sense of being rushed, and not enough time to relax and be with those we love. Remember that your marriage is one of the most important things in your life, and your companionship doesn't have a price tag. In these situations the best thing to do at times is just to schedule dates and intimacy when possible, but a good goal is to make time at least once a week to be together.
If things have become boring and routine talk to your spouse about doing something different. Plan a weekend getaway, do something you ordinarily wouldn't do, try new positions - brainstorm and find some ideas you both love. No matter how well you may know each other you can still experience new things together.
At the root of love one of the most amazing things is compassion. This also encompasses forgiveness and patience, which are necessary aspects for a relationship to thrive. As you grow together there will be times when your partner shows you just how human they are. You will see them in pain, you will see them struggle, you will see them make mistakes in life and in your relationship.
Always look for ways that you can show them compassion. This might be doing a chore or errand that they usually do, surprising them with their favorite dessert on a hard day, or any number of other things. Often times compassion takes a quieter form, and it's being understanding even if they are angry and hurtful, or not seeking revenge even if they have done something wrong. It might be picking up their dirty socks for the 1,000th time or being patient as they try on the 4th outfit in an hour. There is great humility in compassion, and it often goes unnoticed. Sometimes it even seems to go against human nature, but it can make the most loving married life.
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With our Couples Advent Calendar we'll give you a great marriage tip for each of the 25 days leading up to Christmas. This fun activity will help you focus on your relationship. Make it your next holiday tradition!