· Dolores Smyth
1. Make Your House a Home. When you’re first married, decorating your house so that it feels like a home can be daunting. When decorating, one thing to keep in mind is that your home should reflect the things that make both you and your partner happy. This may include specific colors and scents or certain furniture and styles. Agreeing on how to make your house a home may be a bit tricky if you and your other half have wildly different tastes and behaviors. This is where a compromise is in order.
2. Share At Least One Meal Daily. Throughout your marriage, you may find that sharing a daily meal with your spouse becomes inconvenient. You may have different job schedules and, therefore, different sleep schedules. You may already have children who constantly keep you on the go, or you may have responsibilities outside the home that make it easier for you or your spouse to eat on the run.
If any of this sounds familiar, consider the following. Eventually, eating a meal together daily may be the only time you and your spouse are fully present and focused on one another throughout the day. Sharing and enjoying food together makes you slow down and have meaningful interactions. Our Lord Jesus Christ understood the importance of a shared meal when He ate with His Apostles and with sinners alike. In fact, making time for meals was of such significance to Jesus that He instituted the New Covenant during His last meal with His Apostles, the Last Supper (Luke 22:20).
3. Maintain Realistic Expectations of One Another
It’s normal for couples to enter into a marriage with certain expectations of what they want married life to look like. One person may envision a 50/50 split of household chores, while the other may not intend to pick up after themselves. Likewise, one person may want to have a boatload of children, while their partner may want to have a much smaller family.
While it’s easy to say that these things should have been agreed upon before the nuptials, there is not a single married couple out there who had every aspect of married life figured out prior to their wedding day or who didn’t change their mind about something later. In reality, couples in healthy marriages embrace a more mature understanding of what a good relationship looks like. That includes accepting each other’s quirks and shortcomings.
For example, you may have married someone with no cooking or other domestic skills and very little interest in developing any. Rather than getting miffed at your significant other for this, learn how to cook and do things around the house yourself, pay someone else to do it, or find fair ways for both of you to tackle the household responsibilities that must be done and learn to live with those that don’t.
4.Refuse to Play the Comparison Game
Just as every individual is unique, every couple is unique too. Thriving couples know that comparing your marriage to someone else’s overlooks that uniqueness and tempts you to make changes to your marriage that might suit someone else’s relationship but that may be a poor fit in yours.
Successful pairs also know that idealizing someone else’s marriage is dangerous because it distracts you from nurturing your own marriage with what it needs to flourish. Since no one is perfect, it stands to reason that no marriage is perfect either, no matter how it looks from the outside or on social media. Frankly, you don’t know what goes on behind closed doors. You may very well be green with envy over a couple who claims that they never fight only to find out that, in reality, one of those spouses routinely bullies the other out of having their own opinion.
People in good marriages understand the importance of doing what’s best for their relationship instead of getting hung up on “keeping up” with other couples.
Every newlywed wants nothing more than to have a happy and long marriage. In working toward that goal, consider heeding the advice of successful, longtime couples who have learned how to enjoy each other’s company and keep their marital bond strong.