Divorced Girl Smiling can give endless tips and advice and opinions on being newly separated, dating, the divorce process, co-parenting, dealing with the ex and life after divorce. What I really don’t have the authority to tell you is how to have a successful marriage.
Although I have written blogs that include marriage advice at times, I have a feeling people roll their eyes and say, “Why is SHE trying to give me advice when I’m still married and SHE’s the “divorced girl smiling?!”
But, I have some successful marriage tips to share that were given to me by someone who DOES have the authority to give them: a guy who as been married for almost two decades, has three children, and who says that although marriage is not always easy, overall, he’s very happy and “it works.”
Keep in mind, this entire conversation took place on a stair machine, and oh, what a great workout it was! I was so inspired, so hopeful, and so happy to know there are marriages out there that are really great!
Here are “the married guy’s” five tips for a successful marriage
After I asked him the question, “What makes your marriage successful?,” communication was his was his first answer, and it came out very quickly, as if he didn’t even have to think about it.
This very much made sense to me, as any marriage therapist will stress the importance of communication till we are blue in the face. When couples argue, they often fail to listen to each other, they forget how to talk to each other with respect, regardless of how angry or hurt they might be. They say things without thinking and they struggle with words like “I’m sorry,” and “I was wrong.”
Furthermore, I think unhappy couples harbor their feelings. In other words, if something bothers them, they hold it inside and start resenting the other person instead of coming out and telling the other person how they feel.
2. Like is as important as love
“There’s a fine line between like and love,” said the married guy. “It’s easier to love someone than to like them.” If you like someone, you will get along better, and you will enjoy that person more.
Something I can say with authority is, a lack of trust can lead to divorce. So, when the married guy named “trust” as a key factor in a successful marriage, I knew he was the real deal.
One thing I found interesting is that the married guy’s wife is a stay at home mom, and I think that can make things difficult in some ways. Here’s why. Looking back to when I was a stay at home mom, it was the time in my life when I had the least self esteem I’ve ever had. Why? Because the stay at home mom never gets to interact in any professional sense. She doesn’t get to use her college education, doesn’t wear work clothes, doesn’t get recognition, doesn’t get raises, awards or praise for her hard work, and doesn’t feel like she accomplished anything impressive.
What is ironic to me is that when the kids are grown, that’s probably when the stay at home mom sits back and sees the fruits of her work.
Here’s the thing. I have nothing against stay at home moms. In fact, I truly respect them. The problem is, they don’t always respect themselves, (unjustifiably) and I think that bleeds over into the whole trust issue.
They might see their husband going out for dinner with clients, or going to company functions or even just running into people and they might get suspicious. Not because the husband cheated, but because of their own insecurity and lack of “playing field.” By the way, women who have full time jobs can also get jealous and lose trust. And, so can men when it comes to their wife, who is a stay at home mom.
I think the solution to the problem of the stay at home mom is for the husband to show appreciation as much as possible, for the stay at home mom to have interests that go beyond the kids, i.e. volunteer work, exercise, a good social life, and of course, a healthy self-esteem, realizing that even though she isn’t wearing a skirt, heels and lipstick every day, and even if she isn’t bringing home huge paychecks and receiving company trophies, her job is meaningful and important.
Lastly on trust, I think the married guy meant more than just fidelity when he talked about trust. I think he meant trust for EVERYTHING. In a marriage, trust is the ground you stand on. It’s the foundation for everything else. If you don’t have it, you don’t have solid ground, and you can’t build anything from there.
How do you treat your best friend? That’s how you should treat your spouse because your spouse should be your best friend. If he or she isn’t, ask yourself why. That’s kind of a big deal.
5. Date nights
The married guy has date nights once a month, but said he tries to have more. We talked about how far it goes when you bring home a dozen roses for your wife and tell her it’s for nothing. Just because. That shows a person that you appreciate her, that you deeply care, and that she matters. That will make her return the gesture in some way at some point. You’ll see!
Romance and love and sex are very important in the success of a marriage. I have seen too many people get divorced because they said their spouse turned into their roommate. What people tend not to realize is that the sex and romance part of the relationship is the easy part! Think about it. It just takes a little effort—kind acts, romantic gestures, saying nice things—to get someone to fall in love with you over and over again.