When you open up any Cosmo magazine there’s always an article on “How to keep him interested.” Every advice column will have one question everyday (generally) on “How to make a relationship work.” There are a million and one articles that talk about what makes a good relationship and there will be a million and one more. People are always reading books, going to counselors, asking advice, and trying to make marriages and relationships in general work. So instead of reading these articles, I asked for advice from the one person I can always turn to: my husband.
My Husband and I
A little background here, first. David and I have known each since high school. I was a senior when he was a sophomore and we went to prom together as friends, since we had broken up by that point. We stayed in touch a little bit afterwards, but didn’t really reconnect until four years later, when I came home from college. Ironically, he was about to leave the state to go to college, so we tried our hands at a long-distance relationship, which didn’t work well. He knew we were going to get married and I wasn’t sure at all. So I broke up with him and yet after a year, we started dating again. He was home and we had both matured enough to realize what we both wanted.
So asking David for marriage advice is a good idea. This man knew, well before I did, that we were going to get married. He kept the faith and love. And it worked. So his advice for a happy marriage: laughter and communication.
Share a Laugh
Laughter and humor: we do laugh a lot in our house. We have our inside jokes, as all couples do. Early on in our marriage, we decided that any time we fight, we will have Kit Kat™ bars near us or as an apology, because it’s hard to stay mad at someone when there is chocolate involved. So it’s led to a lot of laughter when we’re supposed to be fighting about serious issues: which way the toilet paper faces, why we don’t know what we’re eating at 7pm at night when we’re flat broke, and which parent is in charge of the crazy four year old at 5am.
Have to Communicate
Communication is also key. We aren’t experts on this of course and we struggle like everyone else, but we talk. We are getting better at talking about big items (we call them red light items) and small issues (green lights). These cover everything from our family (yellow lights-proceed with caution), to money, to what we’re having for dinner that night. It also covers when we’re having issues with each other. Some of the hardest conversations are the ones you NEED to have. One year, shortly after David came back from a month away for work, we had a huge sit down where I told him that there had to be changes. We were doing ok, but none of us were thriving; we were going through the motions of a happy family.
Talk about breaking someone’s heart. That was an extremely hard conversation to have, especially just before Christmas with family coming up. But it has made us better. We now have a much stronger relationship due to that conversation. We now take some time to ourselves every few months to evaluate where we are and what we want to see improve: our relationship with each other and with ourselves. We try to make a date night happen, but with a little one and very little family nearby, it can be difficult, so this is one of our more flexible ideas.
But we have goals that we want to reach and want to see the other one reach and we’re more encouraging of “me time” so long as we have “we time.” And that’s when we begin to laugh again. I’d even say that by finding a better way to communicate brought us better intimacy as well. By that, I’m not just talking about sex, but intimacy as in being closer to each other. We know more about each other now, than we did at the beginning, and we also know how the other is changing. This is bringing our souls and our hearts closer together and making it easier to face the challenges of everyday life.
Intimacy is making sure nobody goes to bed angry at each other, but rather are talking and holding hands as they work through the problems in their life. Even if it means that they are staying up till 4am to work it out or if one of them is sleeping on the couch. Intimacy is laughter and crying together and making it through regardless of what the world throws at them. That is the true key to a happy marriage.
Guest Writer, Megan Jackson
Megan Jackson works in the hospitality industry in San Antonio, where she lives with her husband and their son. When she’s not working, she likes to pretend to use her History and English degree by reading and writing. She’s currently in the process of writing some children’s books, which has so far taken her at least four years to begin to edit. She enjoys astronomy, being sarcastic, and trivia, with hopes to eventually be on Jeopardy. In the little spare time she has, Megan spends her days talking to doctors and therapists about the numerous health issues her family has, which makes her realize, she’d rather be editing those children’s books.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Kari Poulsen from Ohio on October 30, 2017:
Communication and laughter, very good advice. :)