Making a Happy Marriage

Genevieve West is trying to collect #AllTheTips for how to make marriages #AllTheAwesome. (Her words.) And she asked me to link my tips.

Before I share my “wisdom” gleaned from experience, let me encourage you to check out happywivesclub.com and the Happy Wives Club Facebook page. You’ll find loads of tips and encouragement for us women who have (or want to have) happy marriages.

photo of Robert and Revka Stearns on their wedding day

one of my favorite shots from our wedding

I would say I have a happy marriage.

It’s not 100%, all-the-time sunshine and roses, but overall, Robert and I make a great team in every way. We not only love each, but we also like each other. Our marriage is literally a dream come true for me. We’ll be hitting the fifteen year mark this summer. Doesn’t seem possible. I’d have to give Robert credit as being much of the reason we’re still HAPPILY together.

Robert StearnsIf you think I have this marriage thing all figured out, I can decidedly assure you I don’t.

Robert and I are both humans. (Thankfully. I’m not sure I’m up for marriage to an alien. 😉 ) We’re both sinners – to put it bluntly.

Sometimes one or both of us are selfish. And get tired or cranky. Or both.

Sometimes we’re impatient.

Sometimes, our personality differences mean that we see the same event in different ways. And not necessarily in a good way.

We’ve both made some very big mistakes. Really, really big. Mistakes so big that we weren’t sure how our marriage would ever be happy again.

But we’re both committed to this marriage ’til death do us part. Divorce is not an option. (Murder? That’s another story. Just joking. But still…)

photo of Robert and Revka Stearns - 2012

Robert and I, June 2012; photo by Smiles and Memories

In the nearly fifteen years we’ve been married, I’ve learned many lessons.

  1. As you think about your marriage, so it is. If you focus on the negatives, you’re going to see your marriage in a negative light. If you focus on the positives, you’re going to see your marriage in a positive light. Don’t ignore stuff that needs to be dealt with, but don’t dwell on the flaws in your mate and in your marriage.
  2. Refusing to acknowledge hurts does not make them go away. I don’t like conflict and tend to stuff hurts and negative emotions, hoping they’ll go away on their own without my having to deal with them. Yeah, that doesn’t work. Instead, all those negatives festered in my heart, eventually coloring my perception of my marriage and my husband. See #1 above.
  3. Assume the best of your mate. Better yet, don’t assume. If you’re not sure what an action or statement means, ask. Many times I have thought Robert was trying to squash me when instead he was trying to protect me. He could see when I needed to sleep instead of staying up all night working. He saw when I was already overloaded and did not need to take on yet another responsibility. He sees me much more clearly than I see myself. He strongly desires to take care of me, and it hurts him when I fight against his care or refuse to accept it.
  4. Extend grace. Everyone messes up. Including me. When Robert messes up, it’s a chance for me to treat him the way I’d want to be treated if I were in his place. And no one wants to be treated harshly, even if they deserve it.
  5. Be loyal. Don’t share with others what is intended to stay safe within the bounds of your relationship. Your intimate relations, your fights, your spouse’s failures and weaknesses – none of these are meant to be shared with a third party. Keep the private things private.

We’re still working to build a better marriage. It’s a life-long job, after all. But it’s a fun, exciting, and rewarding one. And I’m happy, grateful, contented, and blessed to be building a marriage with Robert.

What are your best tips for creating a happy marriage?

This post is part of Genevieve West’s Red Hot Matrimony Blog Party. Click the button below for more contributions.
GenevieveWest.me

Comments

  1. You are so blessed, Revka! Thank you for sharing your wonderful testimony!

  2. I enjoyed your piece so much I shared it. Thank you. I’m on Genevieve’s Red Hot Matrimony Hop, too, and my subject, ‘Happily Ever After?’ is similar to yours.

    • Thank you, Bobbie, for taking the time to read and leave your kind comment. Thank you, too, for sharing it. I’m stopping by to read your post.

  3. Love this! One I would add is to “Define happiness for yourself.” So often, our marriages are wonderful but we miss that because we are comparing them to others. If you define it for yourself, and set the goals to achieve it, you can and will succeed at creating the marriage of your dreams.

    • Great addition, Fawn. I’ve learned that every marriage is unique, and what works for one couple would be horrible for another.

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