White dresses. Flower arrangements. The first kiss as husband and wife, the first dance, the dinner and celebration with family and friends.
These are the things that come to your mind when you think about marriage. As a little kid, you dreamed of your wedding day and just knew it would be super magical.
You couldn’t imagine it any other way. You would look beautiful, your hair would be pulled back in a gorgeous veil, and the weather would never think to be anything other than sunny and perfect.
Then you actually get married and realize that it’s not all flowers and steak or salmon. You have to put in the effort on a daily basis and if you don’t, your relationship is going to be over faster than you even know it.
Read on to find out the keys to a successful marriage.
1) Be friends first
Yes, of course, you’re no longer boyfriend and girlfriend – now you’re husband and wife. That’s a big deal and it’s a pretty massive change. There’s no way that you wouldn’t notice this.
But if you don’t act like the two of you are friends, you’re going to let all the ups and downs of life get in the way. Things won’t always be super great and you won’t be happy all the time. You’re going to have long, exhausting weeks at work. You’re going to have an epic cold that won’t go away for six weeks. You’re going to struggle to balance everything in your life, from your marriage to your best friends to your career and hobbies.
If you and your now husband stop being friends first, you might not be super compassionate toward each other when life doesn’t go as planned. And that would be a real shame since it would basically mean forgetting that whole “in sickness and in health” thing.
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2) Be your own person
You can’t magically get rid of your life just because you’re married now. You need to still be your own person. If you don’t, you’re going to resent your husband for making your entire life about him… and that’s not fair since it will be your decision and your doing.
Think about what matters to you the most in your life. That Saturday morning barre cardio class? Spending a quiet Sunday afternoon baking chocolate chip cookies? Girls night out and trips with your friends and seeing your parents and sister on a regular basis?
Don’t get rid of your interests and hobbies or stop seeing the people that mean the most to you. It’s unhealthy to be laser focused on your relationship, and your husband probably doesn’t want to give up everything and everyone that he loves, either.
3) Have new experiences
You’ve probably seen tons of stereotypical married couples in movies or read about them in books. Or maybe you’ve experienced this firsthand with married couples in your life.
A lot of couples refuse to try anything new or get out of their comfort zones. They spend every single night of the week eating take-out and watching TV. They rarely go out, even to dinner at that pub around the corner, and they definitely don’t travel or take classes or get new interests.
And they wonder why they start to hate and resent each other. They’re super confused about why they think their married life is so boring.
Don’t be like those people. Chances are, you don’t want to be. You want to have new experiences with your husband and try new things. Follow your instincts and you will have a super successful marriage.
4) Enjoy every day
Part of long-term happiness is making the most of each and every day. It might seem like it won’t make a difference, but if you’re in a bad mood most of the time, those days are going to add up. And soon you’ll forget to be grateful for this guy in your life and you’ll never appreciate him.
Enjoy every day of your life and truly make the most of this time that you and your husband have together. After all, isn’t that why you’re here on this earth, and why you’re even together in the first place?
5) Compromise (but actually)
Okay, so you of course know that compromise is a part of any successful relationship… and especially in any successful marriage.
But are you really prepared to do this? Are you really going to do something for your partner without resenting them or getting mad at them or secretly hating them for months and months?
That’s a lot easier said than done.
If you can figure out how to actually compromise, whether it’s about a little thing like whether or order pizza or Chinese for dinner or a larger issue like what neighborhood to move to, you’re going to be much better off.
6) Make your life as easy as possible
It’s definitely no secret that life is tough sometimes. You don’t get the promotion that you wanted… or even the job that you had your eye on. You lose friends and family along the way, whether because they get sick or because you have to cut them out of your life because they’re pretty toxic.
But just because life is hard doesn’t mean that you have to make it even more difficult. And of course you do this because everyone does at one point or another. But don’t make mountains out of molehills or think that something is an issue when it’s actually totally fine. Talk to your husband about everything that’s going on, and help each other fix problems, whether they’re issues in your relationship or in your own lives.
Making your life as easy as possible also means not sweating the small stuff. So what if he wants to spend Sunday afternoons watching baseball and hockey? Is that going to ruin your life and your marriage? Probably not. Actually, definitely not.
7) Lean on each other
The whole point of marriage is to lean on each other and have a true partner in everything. If you forget that and don’t go to your husband in good times and bad, you’re not living up to your promise of being a wife… and you’re not letting him be a real husband, either.
When you’re in pain or worried about something, talk to your husband. That’s what he’s there for. Don’t suffer in silence or let things become a bigger problem than they have to be. And remind him that you will do the same for him when he’s going through something.
8) Grow together
It’s impossible to be in a long-term relationship and not change. While some people hate change because they think it’s a negative thing and they love the comfort of the status quo, if you reframe change as positive growth, it’s much easier to deal with.
Of course, a marriage is pretty much the most long-term relationship you can possibly imagine. So that means that you and your husband are going to grow. A lot.
But as long as you grow together, that’s going to be just fine. That’s another key to marital bliss because if one of you starts acting differently or changes careers, the other one needs to adapt and basically get on board.
This means truly understanding what changes your partner is making in their life and why… and always making sure to keep them in the loop as you grow as a person or in your business. You just can’t get away with not sharing this.
9) Don’t be too independent
The final key to a successful marriage? That would be understanding that yes, you need to be your own person, and yes, you need your own life. But you can’t be too independent.
If you want to act like you’re still super single, then guess what? You might as well get divorced right now and be on your own. You’re not alone. So don’t act like it. You have a partner in this life and that’s a good thing. That means being a part of each other’s worlds, from dinner dates with each other’s friends to bringing each other along to work events and family gatherings.
Be a team and you’ll win in the end. No one ever said that marriage was simple, but it’s a journey that is definitely worth it if you’re willing to put the work in.
As long as you can remember the entire point of being married – so you can help each other through the highs and lows of life, and oh yeah, have some fun along the way – you should have a totally successful marriage.
Are you married or engaged? Have you figured out the key to a successful marriage? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!