10 solid tips for a happy married life

A happy married life takes sincere effort and commitment on the part of both partners. Here are 10 suggestions that will help

Happy couple silhouette on beach | concept for a happy married life

Falling in love is easy. It is staying in love that needs great effort. And if the two people in love are married, this is doubly true. Marriage is a commitment we make to love and respect one another for life and yet, once married, couples often start drifting apart, each blaming the other for changing, for becoming a different person.

This happens because before marriage, you relate to one another consciously. However once your relationship settles into a monotony, your subconscious mind takes over and your relationship goes into an autopilot. You then begin to take your spouse for granted to a greater or lesser degree. This attitude gives rise to all kinds of issues and the marriage becomes lackluster and dreary. The reasons are often petty but as the distance between the partners grows and the bond they share weakens, unhappiness and discontent becomes the hallmark of the relationship.

Also read » Why do relationships fall apart?

Martin Luther King said, “There is no more lovely, friendly, and charming relationship, communion or company than a good marriage.” A happy married life is not difficult to achieve. But it does take sincere effort and commitment on the part of both partners. If your marriage is in need of some repair and maintenance,  I am sharing 10 tips that can get the process started. Even if your married life isn’t in any imminent danger, following these tips can strengthen your bond with your spouse and add some zing to your lives. Here you go…

10 solid tips for a happy married life

1. Acknowledge and appreciate

As I mentioned above, we often tend to take our partner for granted and it’s the little things left unsaid that could make them feel unappreciated. But these are the small things that make a huge difference. For instance, telling your wife that the food she’s cooked for you tastes good, or thanking your husband for running an errand for you, or telling your partner that she’s looking beautiful. Small gestures of appreciation are the building blocks of a happy married life.

2. Respect differences

It is not possible that you and your partner be the same in every aspect. There are bound to be differences and it is foolish to be disrespectful or contemptuous towards them. Whatever the differences, accept and respect them instead of trying to impose your way on the other person. Whenever there is a difference of opinion, resist jumping to any conclusion. Instead, try and see things from the other person’s perspective. “Why does he believe what he does?”, “Is her perspective equally valid?” “What is I am wrong about my assumptions?” — such introspective questions help you understand him or her and avoid needless friction. In fact, this will strengthen the bond between the two.

3. Keep your fights private

One of the worst things you can do for your relationship is bring out your fights in public. Whatever the issue might be, it’s important that it is addressed in private. A happy married life requires that you have a pact between the two of you that if delicate issues do come up in public then you have a pre-decided way in which you will conduct yourselves so as to avoid embarrassment or awkwardness to either of you.

4. Listen – Just don’t hear the words

Listening with all your attention is perhaps the most underrated quality of being human and it is especially important for happy relationships. Whenever you are discussing any issue, understand the feelings your partner is trying to convey, notice their body language and the expressions they are using. Give your 100 per cent attention to the words spoken. Often we just hear what the other person has said and interpret it in our own way, which leads to distortion and misunderstandings.

5. Focus on the positives

After a while of being together we tend to crib about the apparent shortcomings in our partner and this makes us just grow apart. It’s important at such times to jolt yourself out of this state and look at the larger picture—which has to include the positives. In fact, the more you can make a determined effort to focus on the positives of your partner, the smoother your relationship will be. Each night, before sleeping, make it a point to tell each other a few good things about the other. Doing so will shift your attentions from what is missing in your partner to the gifts he or she brings to your life together.

6. Make time to be together

This has to be a conscious effort. Just living under the same roof doesn’t mean that you are spending time with each other. You could take a brief post-dinner walk together or have your morning tea in each other’s presence. Even 15 minutes is good enough but let it be a time that is totally reserved for being together. If you can’t spend time daily due to any compulsion, you could work out a way to spend leisurely time with one another once or twice a week for slightly longer duration.

7. Avoid confrontation when angry

If there’s one thing that you must do when you are angry is—stay silent. Arguing when angry only makes you say things in a way that increases damage. It’s okay to sleep over a fight and discuss it the next morning when you both are calmer. But make sure you tell your partner that you are staying silent because you’re too angry to speak and you believe your words may cause more harm. When you feel anger surging within you, make an exit from the situation.

8. Have shared goals

Having shared goals is one terrific way to keep your bond strong. The shared goal could be anything — raising your children consciously, building your dream home, or a social cause that you both feel strongly about. Sharing goals gives a higher purpose to your relationship and also helps you connect with the larger dimension of your partner.

9. Open your hearts to one another

Communicating your hopes, wishes, dreams and desires with your partner enriches your bond and inspires one another. Likewise, revealing your fears, concerns and anxieties to your spouse brings you closer as you recognize that you are both vulnerable human beings who need understanding, support and encouragement from time to time.

10. Say sorry, and mean it

We all make make mistakes from time to time. However, owning up doesn’t come easily, especially if you are emotionally invested in being “right”. But if you wish to have a healthy and happy marriage you ought to prioritize peace and love over wanting to be right or protecting your pride. When you realize your mistake, apologizing to your partner can often stop the conflict in its tracks and also convey to your partner that you value truth and facts over false pride. For a happy married life, say sorry whenever you are in the wrong — and mean it!

A version of this article first appeared in the October 2012 issue of Complete Wellbeing magazine.

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Sanjay Chugh
Dr Sanjay Chugh is a neuro psychiatrist based in Delhi. He specialises in stress management, relationship counselling, adolescent issues, de-addiction, psychotherapy and analysis. He is also the author of Sexuality and Human Relationships.


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