It’s well-known that more than a third of all marriages end in divorce. Often, however, the decision to part ways isn’t mutual, and one party is left grieving for what could have been. So if you’re just taking your first steps into marriage, or if you’re just contemplating popping the question, it’s worth bearing this sage advice in mind. And it comes straight from the divorcee’s mouth…
20. It depends on what you put in each day
Marriage isn’t just about the broad strokes – it’s about the little things, too. And that means putting the effort in each and every day. After all, like everything in life, you only get out of it what you put into it.
19. The roots of love must run deep
Surface-level attraction is important, of course, but it’s not something you can build an entire marriage around. For that, you need a strong bond of love and trust that runs deeper. Otherwise, there’s no way that the marriage will stand the test of time.
18. You need patience to ride out the lows and enjoy the highs
Naturally, no marriage is going to be a constant stream of eternal joy. Indeed, there are always going to be hard times you’re going to need to work through – and knowing that in advance is something that could have saved many a marriage. After all, it’s always best to be prepared.
17. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side
No matter how much you may daydream about what life might be like if things were different, it’s important to cherish what you have. After all, people search their entire lives for the right person to share theirs with: so if you’ve already found that person, you’re luckier than most.
16. Before you propose, imagine growing old or being sick with them
A marriage proposal is about more than just the ring, or even the wedding planning. Indeed, don’t forget that when you pop the question, you’re asking that person to spend the rest of their lives with you – for better or worse. So it’s a good idea to think it through properly.
15. If you’re having an argument, take some time to cool off alone
Arguing in relationships is entirely natural, and can often be a healthy way to blow off steam. After all, communication is paramount. But don’t let things get unnecessarily out of hand – take some time alone to cool down if you need to, and have the patience to let your partner do the same.
14. Take turns steering the wheel
Relationships, and marriage in particular, can’t be entirely one-sided – you’re in it together. That means you should both support each other, share responsibilities where possible (both domestically and financially) and always be prepared to pick up the slack when your partner’s having a tough time.
13. It’s not always exciting
There’s no two ways about it – that glorious honeymoon period is going to fade with time. It’s important, then, that you’re able to find the joy in the day-to-day minutiae of married life. And thankfully, it never usually takes much effort to do so, assuming you’re with the right person.
12. Don’t expect perfection every day
Remember: nobody’s perfect. At least, they aren’t going to be perfect every day for the rest of their lives. And neither is a marriage. So when you do come to tie the knot, just bear in mind that it’s important to have the right expectations for you and them.
11. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty
A successful marriage isn’t always clean, so to speak. You need to be prepared to muck in and get your hands dirty sometimes – whatever it takes. After all, nothing in life is smooth sailing forever.
10. We’re all works in progress
We spend our entire lives learning and growing as people. So whatever tiny flaws your partner may have, it’s always best to be accepting and considerate of them – as long as they’re working on them. If they’re not, then they’re just stagnating.
9. Nurture the intimacy
We all need some alone time every now and then, but it’s important to remember that intimacy is what sets your marriage apart from your relationships with your friends and family. So don’t let it go – nurture it, and make sure it grows with both of you.
8. A good marriage requires two people who are both still learning about life and each other
It’s important that you’re both still growing as people. And even after decades of being betrothed, there’s still new things you can learn about each other – at least, there should be if you’re both growing. New experiences are fundamental to life, so don’t shy away from them in marriage.
7. Sometimes, marriage requires you to bend down and tie your partner’s shoes when they just can’t do it
Sure, it may not be something you’re particularly keen to do. But a marriage is about being there for the other person, whatever’s going on in their lives. So no matter how tumultuous things get, always remember that you’re that person’s rock.
6. You can expect storms in your marriage – you’ve just got to weather them
If every married couple split up when they had an argument, the divorce rate would be around 100 percent. Indeed, it’s important to remember not to let things get out of hand – but while marriage occasionally gets tough, it should really feel easy most of the time, if you’re well suited to each other.
5. If it feels like your partner is controlling you, it’s not love – it’s toxic
Control can take many forms. In fact, you might not even realize it’s happening, but it’s important to be able to identify it. It could even be something as small and indirect as your partner making you feel guilty about going out without them. Either way, it’s toxic.
4. Accept your partner for being themselves
Alas, as much as we’d all like to be, we can’t actually be our best selves 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Indeed, there are plenty of times when we’ll want to just curl up on the couch in front of Netflix, no make-up, scruffy clothes, et al. And that’s absolutely fine.
3. The little gestures add up
You may not think volunteering to do the dishes or tidy the house really makes that much of a difference, but it’s important to remember that the little things really add up. Even if it’s not quite as grand a romantic gesture as whisking them away on a surprise holiday or taking them out for a meal, it’ll always be appreciated.
2. Make your marriage a priority
Putting the effort into your marriage shouldn’t end after the ceremony. In fact, it’s something you should always be working on – whatever happens in life, your marriage and your partner should always be a priority.
1. Make sure you’re always growing together as people
Stagnation is a recipe for disaster, whether in your home, work or personal life. And marriage is no different. Growth, then, is paramount to a successful marriage: but it can’t be one-sided. Both partners need to be constantly growing and maturing together, to ensure they’re still on the same level.