3 Tried and True Marriage Tips For Every Couple Like any great adventure, a little planning in your marriage can make the journey exponentially more exciting and fun. BY BRITTANY WREN
Having a fun marriage requires a little planning and attention.
“ ...Instead of investing all that time and mental space in something that may only happen 20 years from now, try investing in your best version of a normal day now.”
Well-wishers often bestow their marital advice on newlyweds, but statistics show most marriages, young or old, could use a little help. Even though divorce rates have been falling for decades, still between 40-50 percent of marriages in the U.S. still end in divorce.
Some practical tips can help couples happily stay together and take your marriage from surviving to thriving.
1. Create Traditions Together
Many researchers and child psychologists advocate for family traditions in terms of raising healthy kids, but the same benefits extend to keeping a healthy marriage. Traditions create a shared identity and sense of belonging, emphasize unity and togetherness, and reinforce the joy of celebration and support already present in your marriage.
So consider starting a few traditions of your own. Take an annual vacation together to a national park and stay in the same lodge every year. The great memories collected over time will cement your bond and give you something positive to associate with your spouse.
Or for something a little closer to home, start a family tradition that honors each other’s ancestry. For example if your spouse’s family immigrated from Germany, you could make traditional German molasses-ginger cookies called Lebkuchen every Christmas. This type of tradition connects you to your and your spouse’s past and, let’s all admit, cooking up something delicious together is always fun.
2. Pursue Your Ideal Normal Day
We all get caught up in dreaming of our ideal day, house or vacation. However, instead of investing all that time and mental space in something that may only happen 20 years from now, try investing in your best version of a normal day now. (Hint: it probably won’t involve conference calls or making a budget.)
When you come home from work, do a five minute check-in with each other before starting all of the house chores. Ask about the other person’s day while gently massaging his or her neck. Listening and touching each other will communicate love and respect. That is money in the bank which, added up over time, can help your marriage withstand a lot of stress.
Elevating your normal routine could also include candles and jazz at dinner instead of a blaring TV in the background or smartphones at the table. Or you might consider taking an evening walk together with the dog before bed just to reconnect.
3. Do the Money Stuff Together
Couples should definitely communicate about a budget. Maybe not everyday (see ‘Ideal Normal Day’ above), but at least once a month to check your collective financial health. Try an app like Honeydue to track your bills, banks accounts and spending. Then draft regular goals together to cast a vision for your future and have honest conversations about what you each want or expect.
Besides budgeting, you should also set up precautions to protect yourselves from financial liabilities. An identity theft protection service can help you monitor your credit and personal information, reducing the risk of an additional marriage stressor: identity fraud and theft.
Most importantly, to prevent long-term resentment, make sure you are both on the same page financially. For example, you should both have access to a joint checking and savings account, and to avoid unwelcome surprises, fees, shortfalls, etc., set expectations for spending and investing far in advance.
Bonus Tip: Make a Deliberate Effort
Marriage can be a challenging road for many, but with a few practical tips, you can make yours last. This takes your attention and concerted effort to make it happen. Incorporating traditions, happy daily routines, and financial togetherness will add stability and longevity to your marriage so that in 20 years, you’ll get to be the one doling out the marriage advice.
Brittany Wren is a freelance writer living in Nebraska. She’s all about travel, coffee, board games, and good poems.