How to have a happy marriage
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Married couple

Is your marriage everything you ever hoped it could be - or has it been pushed down your list of priorities since having children? Let’s face it, parenthood is a full-time job, and it dramatically changes your marriage relationship. But marriage is the foundation upon which your entire family is structured. If your marriage is strong, your whole family will be strong; your life will be more peaceful, you’ll be a better parent, and you’ll, quite simply, have more fun in your life.

Make a commitment

To create or maintain a strong marriage you must be willing to put time, effort and thought into nurturing your marriage. When you make a commitment to your marriage, your children will feel the difference. No, they won’t suffer from neglect! They’ll blossom when your marriage—and their homelife—is thriving.

The surprising secret is that this doesn’t have to take any extra time in your already busy schedule. Just a change in attitude plus a committed focus can yield a stronger, happier marriage.

Read the following suggestions and apply them in your marriage for the next 30 days. Then evaluate your marriage. I guarantee you’ll both be happier.

Look for the good, overlook the bad

You married this person for many good reasons. Your partner has many wonderful qualities. Your first step in adding sizzle to your marriage is to look for the good and overlook the bad.

Make it a habit to ignore the little annoying things — dirty socks on the floor, a day-old coffee cup on the counter, an inelegant burp at the dinner table — and choose instead to search for those things that make you smile: the way he rolls on the floor with the baby; the fact that she made your favorite cookies.

Give 2 compliments every day

Now that you’ve committed to seeing the good in your partner, it’s time to say it! This is a golden key to your mate’s heart. Think about it. When your honey says, “You’re the best. I’m so glad I married you.” It not only makes you feel loved, it makes you feel more loving.

Play nice

That may sound funny to you, but think about it. How many times do you see - or experience - partners treating each other in impolite, harsh ways that they’d never even treat a friend? Sometimes we take our partners for granted and unintentionally display rudeness.  Or to put this in the wise words of Bambi’s friend Thumper, the bunny rabbit – “If you can’t say somethin’ nice don’t say nothin’ at all.”

Pick your battles

How often have you heard this advice about parenting? This is great advice for child-rearing—and it’s great advice to follow in your marriage as well. In any human relationship there will be disagreement and conflict. The key here is to decide which issues are worth pursuing and which are better off ignored.

The 60-second cuddle

You can often identify a newly married couple just by how much they touch each other — holding hands, sitting close, touching arms, kissing — just as you can spot an “oldly-married” couple by how little they touch. Mothers, in particular, often have less need for physical contact with their partners because their babies and young children provide so much opportunity for touch and cuddling that day’s end finds them “touch fulfilled”.

So here’s a simple reminder: make the effort to touch your spouse more often. A pat, a hug, a kiss, a shoulder massage – the good feeling it produces for both of you far outweighs the effort.

Spend more time talking to and listening to your partner

I don’t mean, “Remember to pick up Jimmy’s soccer uniform.” Or “I have a PTA meeting tonight.” Rather, get into the habit of sharing your thoughts about what you read in the paper, what you watch on TV, your hopes, your dreams, your concerns. Take a special interest in those things that your spouse is interested in and ask questions. And then listen to the answers.

It can be very difficult for your marriage to thrive if you spend all your time being “Mommy” and “Daddy”. You need to spend regular time as “Husband” and “Wife”. This doesn’t mean you have to take a two-week vacation in Hawaii. (Although that might be nice, too!) Just take small daily snippets of time when you can enjoy uninterrupted conversation, or even just quiet companionship, without a baby on your hip, a child tugging your shirtsleeve or a teenager begging for the car keys.

A daily morning walk around the block or a shared cup of tea after all the children are in bed might work wonders to re-connect you to each other. And yes, it’s quite fine to talk about your children when you’re spending your time together, because, after all, your children are one of the most important connections you have in your relationship.

When you and your spouse regularly connect in a way that nurtures your relationship, you may find a renewed love between you, as well as a refreshed vigor that will allow you to be a better, more loving parent. You owe it to yourself — and to your kids — to nurture your relationship.

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