General Question

AllyMay's avatar

Happily Married? How?

Asked by AllyMay (239points) October 6th, 2008

Have you been happily married for along time? Whats the best advice you can give to a newbie of marriage??

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22 Answers

charliecompany34's avatar

been married twice. it took me 7 years to find out the first one was a mistake. second marriage didnt take much thought because there was a certain chemistry there. it has now been 14 years since we said “i do.” the secret? do not avoid counsel from a pastor or priest who respects marriage as a holy institution. be fruitful and multiply and always keep the romance. whatever romantic thing swept you off your feet, should always be in the marriage game plan to perpetuate long wedded bliss.

i used to always write my wife love letters and poems. i’d cook dinner for her after a long day at work because i always got off earlier. love is “ACTION” and not words. your actions must be the same, but always improved year after year. marriage is hard work. you have to work at it, trust each other and always communicate. text him/her that you love them right now.

marinelife's avatar

Welcome to the collective. I am in the 26th year of marriage (my second, his first). Here is what I have learned:

1. You have to commit (and later recommit) to stay in the marriage consciously. Example: many years ago I worked in a very stressful software start-up where a 60-hour work week was light. We were all together all the time including socializing after work. There were several affairs and several marriage break-ups. Because I was working so much, it was a strain on my marriage. I made a conscious choice to work on my marriage and not let it fail. My husband and I talked about it too.

2. Be aware that marriages have cycles. There are great times, there will be tough times. When times are tough, you need to consciously choose to turn toward each other rather than away. In between those times, are the everyday times of companionship, working toward shared goals and quiet contentment, which have a lot to be said for them.

Finally, I would say hold tight to the knowledge that marriage provides a level of intimacy: physical and emotional (if you work at it and commit to it) that is so wonderful and so much more lasting that it transcends even the juice of new infatuation.

Put on your bookshelf “Getting the Love You Want” by Harville Hendrix.

I wish you a long and happy marriage.

Judi's avatar

Been happily married for 18 years.
The best advice is to decide at the beginning that divorce is not an option. Murder maybe, but not divorce.
The next bit of advice is to know that you will eventually see your spouses ugliest side and you will not like it. Love is a decision to act loving even when you are not feeling loving. There are times when your kids do stupid aggravating things but you still love them and they’re still your kids, even when you don’t like them very much. You should afford your spouse the same courtesy.
Appreciate each others differences and lean on them.
Hang around with people who celebrate and revere marriage, which leads to the most important aspect to the success of our marriage. We are in sync on the issue of our higher power. I don’t want to turn this into a sermon, but without the support of our faith community there were times we wouldn’t have made it.
I adore my husband now more than I did when I married him. I was looking at him the other night and was just in awe of the wonderful gift he has been to me.

charliecompany34's avatar

@judi: wow, wish i knew when my wife secretly looks at me like that. some things we dudes will never figure out. but it’s good to know women have those appreciative moments when we have no clue.

Judi's avatar

I try to make sure I tell him ;-)

princessvince's avatar

I’ve been happily married for three years so far. The most important bit of advice that I can give you is this: marriage is about commitment, not love. Love is an important element of marriage, but it’s also fickle and it won’t hold your marriage together if commitment is lacking. Promising to be committed means sticking with each other no matter good and bad, whether you meet someone better, whether your spouse becomes overweight, whether one of you loses your job, etc. And when you have commitment, you will not only have a lasting marriage, but you will have love.

wundayatta's avatar

I’ve been married 18 years. We’ve been going through some troubles recently, and our therapists are amazed at my wife. Any other woman would have been ranting and raving about me. And letting me know it in no uncertain terms.

So we’ve been reading a lot of books. Well, ok, my wife has, and she shares the juicy stuff with me.

Like, stay positive about each other. Remember fondly the way you met, and the big things you’ve done together. Romance is a way of staying positive. It rebuilds the googly-eye feeling.

There are lots of exercises to do. The books are full of them. They can help you rekindle your appreciation of each other.

I’d had three relationships before I got married, and I knew that with my wife, I had to continue to think of her nicely, adn never let myself slip. Well, we had a rocky time after our second child. And as a result, we stopped seeing each other in that positive light. We no longer connected. Sex? Well that pretty much disappeared.

I suppose it didn’t help that I became manic during the end of this time. I had no idea I was bipolar, and that may have made me act more impulsively than I would have without the disorder.

Well, it was a sign that things were bad. But neither of us really wanted to separate. We both love our kids enormously. So we’re working really hard to rebuild. It’s not easy. Nothing in relationships seems to be easy. But we both have a positive attitude about us, despite the fact that both of us get depressed.

Are we happily married? More happy than not, I think. Personally, for me, happiness is just too high a goal. But that’s because of my disorder. Still, I really appreciate my wife. I appreciate our marriage. I think we make an excellent team. I value many of her characterstics. Physically, I’m as attracted to her as I was when we met.

The bottom line? Staying happily married takes a lot of hard work. You can have that one for free!

googlybear's avatar

I work the night shift…she works the day shift….we never see each other which means no time to talk (aka no time to argue) :-)

augustlan's avatar

Love each other as you are, warts and all.

cyndyh's avatar

I’ve been happily married for more than 10 years. We lived together for a few years before that, and it’s not the first go-round for either of us. If you’re in it with the right partner and you keep talking to each other through good and bad times, you’ll be fine.

The right partner means a lot, though. As bad as you can possibly imagine things ever getting in your life, multiply that by ten and imagine. Is this the sort of person who’s likely to behave honorably even when faced with an awful situation? Can you trust him to be there for you? If not, then you have to do some rethinking sooner rather than later. If so, then do everything you can to be the person he can rely on, too.

As for talking, I don’t just mean to talk out problems. Talk about the good stuff, too. Talk about hopes and dreams and plans for the future. Voice preferences and listen to his. Don’t just talk about the house, the bills, the kids, the jobs, and everyday chores. Talk about things that are going on in your head. Share more than the day-to-day stuff with each other.

Do something every day to show your partner you love him and appreciate him.

@Judi: No sermon here either, but a couple of atheists can make it work happily, too. Cheers!

Judi's avatar

I think being in sync about what you believe (or don’t believe) is very helpful. If one person has a spiritual center that drives them and the other doesn’t it can be difficult. Sharing those core beliefs can be a source of strength in a marriage, especially during those inevitable hard times.

cyndyh's avatar

@Judi: Agreed. :^>

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

been married twenty years. First marriage for us both. If people would put as much effort into their marriage as they do their job, then we’d have more marriages and less divorces. That said, I find that a lot of the advice you’ve gotten here is very good. Right on target. I think Communication, Compassion, and Complete Trust are what makes it work. Losing the tendency to be jealous of our mates, selfish with ouselves, and just plain retarded in how we relate to each other will go a long way to keeping a marriage strong.

Best advice, don’t have kids. Kids will ruin a marriage. We didn’t have kids and we still have the passion. Your results may vary, but I think that having kids hurts a marriage. some scientific studies suggest as much as well. I’m sure I’ll be beat about the head and neck with baby bottles and toddler toys for saying that about offspring, but that’s the way I see it.

augustlan's avatar

@Evelyn: No beating from me, but I do have to say that children don’t ruin a good marriage. They change the marriage, but they don’t ruin it.

jlm11f's avatar

I just have one thing to say about marriage and kids. If your marriage can’t handle the change that kids bring, then their’s something wrong with the foundations of that marriage. To clarify, I do not think that every married couple should have kids. My point is that every sound marriage should be able to take the additional stress that kids bring, if the marriage is based on good principles.

jellyfish's avatar

I have been married twice and divorced twice. have four great children. I have had time to learn about me and now I like myself and am truly confident so marriage might work. So really deeply truly madly like yourself and all will flow I reckon.

VS's avatar

@evelyns_pet_zebra: I applaude your decision to not have children. Not everyone can open themselves to that kind of pressure from parenting enthusiasts!

I’m twice widowed and once divorced and happily together with the ex. I have no secret recipe to a great marriage. I’m not sure I’m even qualified to make a statement about this question much less offer advice in it! But as with any relationship, a sense of humor makes the inevitable tough times much easier!

YARNLADY's avatar

Hubby and I are going to have our 35th anniversary this year. I had one child when we married, and we had one together. What has kept us together, in addition to the fact we genuinely like each other, is the mutual respect we have for each other. When there is a difference of opinion, we try to resolve it right away, because we realize that each one has a good reason for it.

We also have the same requirements when it comes to personal space. I was married previously, and when there is a mismatch, it makes the marriage impossible to maintain. (He died before our divorce, after 10 years of trying to make it work.)

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Luck and high standards

bunnygrl's avatar

Hubby and I have been married 25 years, only marriage for each of us. Remember that your spouse is your best friend. Laugh together, cry together, hug a LOT and never leave each other (even to go to work) without saying “I love you”. My dear Grandmother always told me that I should never let the sun set on an argument, don’t go to bed mad, stay up and talk. Good luck for your future, I wish you both so many good things. Hugs always xx

captainsmooth's avatar

just got divorced two months ago. this question made me cry. I miss the life I had and worked hard to create, and so do my kids. My ex, well, she just misses how easy she had it. Good luck and love, make sure that you can listen to each other.

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