Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Tuesday: Improve Your Marriage (Part 1)

As I tried to write a simple article on how to improve marriage, I realized that marriages are truly a complex beast and no one simple solution to improve marriage really exists (at least to my knowledge). The only things that have helped me surmount problems in my marriage have taken time, patience, and hard work. Because of that:

This April is my unofficial “Improve Your Marriage” month.

Meaning, that every Tuesday this month, I will put a small article on improving marriage. One tip each week. Take that tip, apply it during the week, and check back the following Tuesday for another article. Apply that tip, and, well, hopefully things are a bit smoother for you by the time May rolls along! These tips can help the best marriages AND the not-so-blissful ones improve.

This week:
Your spouse is an adult.

This can truly be a hard concept to internalize. Before you were married, you managed your money, you bought your food, you chose your job- really, you did it all on your own. Once married, it is all too easy to think of your spouse as an extension of yourself, meaning you still want to decide how you as a couple will do everything. You may still want to decide what money goes where, what restaurants to go to, what clothes should be worn, when and how the cleaning needs to be done:  the list continues. If one spouse is a little more forceful or dominant (I certainly can be), it is hard to let them make their own choices, since you may want to STOP them from wearing that AWFUL shirt, or NEVER allow them to let the baby touch the kitchen floor.

Because, well, that’s how you do things.

Remember, though, that your spouse is an adult. While some things need to be compromised on (you can only put the baby on the kitchen floor right after I mop or we can only spend $_ on entertainment each month, etc.) there are many other things that you need to just let go.

So, maybe your spouse eats those horribly fattening french fries? Or always spends their blow money on video games? Or loooooves that TV show that you just can’t stand? Let it go. While you ARE a married unit and DO need to make decisions as a couple, there are many things that you can just let your spouse do on their own. Maybe your spouse won’t choose what you do, but as long as it is a decision that won’t cause long-term issues in your relationship, just take a breath and let them choose.

Remember high school? Remember how you and your friends all wanted independence to choose for yourselves without the ‘tyranny’ of your parent’s rule? And how you couldn’t wait to move out and do things all for yourselves? It’s the same concept. No spouse wants to be treated like a high school teenager.

Try it out, if just for a week. When your husband comes home with that DVD that you can’t stand or you catch him wearing tube socks with Birkenstocks, just let it be.

Your spouse will appreciate it. Reply to this post with your results!
Doing great so far on Part 1? Check out Improve Your Marriage (Part 2), Improve Your Marriage (Part 3), and Improve Your Marriage (Part 4)! Good luck and best of luck!

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