I found this little gem (12 Habits of a Happy relationship) on the internets (I know there is only one. I was just trying to be funny.) the other day. These were little reminders of what can make a happy relationship and they were attached to some gorgeous pics. I thought I'd share them along with some of the things I've learned along the way of my almost (tomorrow!) 31 years of marriage.#12 Settle disputes peacefully
Speak nicely to each other. I know when emotions are running high, usually in frustration, voices can become raised in anger. That a tough enough thing to deal with. What can make it worse is name calling (usually body part or animal names). Try super hard not to do that. If you don't like being yelled at or called names, most likely your spouse doesn't like it either. And if children are present, it can be even worse. Breathe before you speak. Breathe deeply and slowly. It'll be worth it.
Make time to be with each other. Find time to date each other every week. This doesn't have to be a "going out" date (but that would be nice). Carve out time each week to check in with each other and find out how your spouse is doing. If you get a response that is short and terse, you aren't spending enough quality time together.
#10 Appreciate and Help each other Grow
Be your spouse's biggest encourager. The world is far to eager to tell each of us that we aren't good enough or we will fail. Be your spouse's cheerleader in whatever they are doing to improve themselves. I know whenever I go on another diet I appreciate my spouse's words of encouragement much more than if he would say, "Oh, ANOTHER diet." Nobody knows my failures better than I do. I don't need to hear about them from my honey.
#9 Live with Integrity
Tell each other the truth. Lies are so damaging and trust is so hard to rebuild. Be respectful. Be kind. Be that person that can be counted on. Don't let your spouse down, if at all possible.
#8 Be Loyal and Devoted
Be faithful. Be faithful when you are together and when you are apart. Honor your committment to each other. My husband and I were separated so much in our marriage. There is nothing attractive about jealousy. The love I felt from my husband by his faithfulness was the love that sustained me while I was on my own.
#7 Love and Respect each Other as Individuals
You are responsible for your own happiness. Nobody can make you happy. If I have learned nothing else by writing this blog, it is that I am as happy as I decide to be. I have learned that my happiness never comes at the expense of someone else. If I hurt someone in order to pursue my happiness, I'm actually being selfish and I will not be happy.
#6 Lend Support during the Good Times and Bad
There will be Better and there will be Worse. I've learned two things that have helped me to understand and to be there for my spouse in both of these situations. What I learned was this; bad times don't last and good times don't last, either.
#5 Understand: Every Relationship is Different
Nobody really knows what goes on behind closed doors. Also, everybody lies. I'm sorry to be the one to tell you this, but they do. There is nothing wrong with picking up good ideas from marriages you admire, but don't compare your marriage to another couple's marriage. Appreciate your marriage and make it the best it can be.
#4 An Emphasis on Communication and Listening
Unspoken expectations are disasters waiting to happen. Don't expect your spouse to be a mind reader. Ask for what you want. And remember, just because you ask doesn't mean you will get what you want, but you have a much better chance than if you say nothing at all. So often we think our "soul mates" should just know what to do for us. That is disappointment waiting to happen.
#3 Turn Negatives into Positives
Be a team. There are going to be problems that arise almost every day. Work together to turn those difficulties into successes. The bible say that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. If you believe you can persevere, you can turn things around.
#2 Work on Thoughtfulness Every Day
Take time each day to put your spouse first. Take time each day to say to yourself, what can I do to make my love happy? Being thoughtful can be a learned activity. It is so easy to be self-involved. Making the effort to put someone else first is an act of love.
#1 Realistic Expectations
Marriage is real life. There are going to be good days and bad days. There are going to be days when you don't feel the passion. There are going to be days you do! When my husband and I married we had one expectation for each other and that was that we didn't ever want to be divorced. My husband came from divorce and I came from a long marriage. Together we took the realities and ideals we had about what marriage could be and made them our marriage. We made it our real life.
352. My son
353. My marriage
354. My relationship with God
355. My savior, Jesus Christ
356. My access to God's word
357. My opportunity to communicate to God through prayer
358. My husband's faith in God and me when my faith in God and me gets shakey
359. The gift of enough tenderness of heart to have gratitude for all the blessings I've been given
360. The desire to know God better