Everyone says they want a happier, healthier, more loving relationship with their spouse, and who could blame them? That idea of happily ever after sounds pretty good, right? Here’s the thing however, too often it’s not always our partner that creates the rifts that allow us to drift apart. Many times, we’re the ones getting in the way. Here are seven things to quit right now if you want to create and sustain a healthy, happy marriage.
1. Quit thinking love is enough. Love is powerful, but not usually enough to carry you through the long haul. Most happy couples that stay together truly like one another. Liking someone for all the right reasons is better than loving someone for the wrong reasons. Is this a person you'd choose as your friend even if you weren't married? Look for what you like in your partner, not just what you love.
2. Quit expecting them to make you happy. Happiness is an inside job. We can’t do it for someone else, nor can they do it for you. We can share happy experiences, but real happiness comes from within. It’s our own journey. The best marriage is between two people who know how to find their own joy and choose to share their lives with another person who does the same.
3. Quit arguing unfairly: manipulation, yelling, and hitting below the belt. And the king of unfair techniques—the silent treatment. How can any marriage survive all that? Stop attacking one another and start being accountable for your own part. Quit interrupting and start listening. Work toward solutions you can both live with.
4. Quit thinking your spouse can be everything to you. What a huge responsibility that would be. You need other friends, interests and activities. No one person can solve your all your problems. Laugh at all your jokes. Understand all your issues. Enjoy all your hobbies. A relationship shouldn't be the only thing in your life (except for the first few months when the rest of the world doesn’t exist). Branch out—then you can both bring those experiences, feelings, and excitement back home to share.
“We can share happy experiences, but real happiness comes from within.”
5. Quit expecting them to read your mind. Want or need something? Ask. Speak your mind. Share (without blame). Just because your husband or wife knows you doesn’t mean they are mind readers. Being open and honest is the only real way they can get to truly know the deeper you, and learn how to respond better to you throughout your lives.
6. Quit making assumptions. Stop placing intent on your partner’s actions. Forgetting to pick up the dry cleaning may not mean they don't love you anymore. Going to sleep while you are talking may not mean they aren't interested in you sexually ever again. Placing intent on their actions is asking for trouble. Rarely will you be right. Ask them to clarify. It's usually not at all what you assumed it to be.
7. Quit keeping score. This is a serious relationship killer. Here's how it goes: Our partner says or does something we don't like; but we don't tell them what's wrong, or discuss the problem. Instead, we choose to ignore it. Or do we? Ignoring means never thinking about it again. That's not what happens. Instead, we’re keeping a tally in our heads of all the infractions. Grow up! If you don't like something deal with it. If it's not important enough to deal with, then forget it forever. Keeping score creates tension. The kind of unhealthy competitive spirit that will tear a marriage apart.
Look, marriage isn't always easy, but we certainly can stop trying to make it as completely complicated as we do! Lighten up and learn to quit for the sake of your marriage and happiness.
Connie Podesta is a game-changing, idea-generating ball of fire whose rare blend of humor, substance, style and personality have made her one of the most memorable, in-demand speakers in the world today for the past 25 years. To learn more about her strategies, insights, and solutions visit her online today at www.conniepodesta.com. Check out the first chapter of her book, "Redefining Happiness: A Powerhouse Mindset for Success." Share your story with Connie on Facebook.