How to have a happy marriage

I've been married for ALMOST 2 years. It has been such an amazing time. I used to feel a teensy bit silly when I told people my marital advice, however, I think it's pretty darn accurate to say what I have learned and to say what I believe you must do to succeed in your marriage and to happy. So I made a list. A list that incorporates what I like to do to feel like I have succeeded in making my husband happy. A list that also incorporates on fixing things that have to do with what I've seen destroy some of my friends marriages. I think when it boils down to it, I will always be a firm believer that marriage is hard. It really is. No matter what people tell you, there are quite a bit of responsibilities, changes, alterations, and lessons you must learn. When we have kids, I know my list will probably drastically change. However, for now, this list pretty much sums up what makes me such a happy girl to be married to my best friend and partner in crime.

• Be selfless. 
You have got to be selfless. It's a requirement. Before marriage, I was constantly worried about myself. What am I going to do for college? What am I going to make myself for dinner? What city am I going to end up living in? All decisions I thought I would make for myself. When you get married, you have got to change this perspective. It was hard for me at first. It was hard to accept the fact that I must pause my education and move across the country in order for my husband to support us. I firmly believe that if you consistently serve your spouse and worry about what their best interest is before your own, your marriage will be 10 times more likely to succeed. Don't believe me? Read this story. Want ideas? Read this blog post. 

• Step out of your comfort zone. 
For the majority, my husband and I like the same stuff. But let's think of an example here. If Trevor's life was motocross racing, and I hated every aspect of that, I should step out of my comfort zone, support him in what he loves to do, and learn to like it. I'm not saying you should never do what you love, but if you're only participating in things YOU love and not what your spouse loves, they're never going to be the happiest they can be. You have to find a happy medium. A few weeks ago, I mentioned to Trevor that I needed a concert buddy because none of my friends have my same music taste. He told me he would go with me. Did he like that particular band? No! Are concerts his thing? Absolutely not. But he wanted to go with me to make me happy & step out of his comfort zone. True love, people. 

•Have date night. 
I can't stress this enough. Once a week, do something with your spouse. If you have kids, grab a babysitter or plan for something at home after they go to bed. There are always options -- I'm sure of it. Date nights don't have to be dinner and a movie every week. They don't require spending money. Get creative. Get romantic. Get silly. Just be absolutely sure to get that time with your spouse that you may not get any day throughout the week. Click here to get some ideas for date nights.

Though we've only been married for almost 2 years, it seems like we've had quite a few struggles already. We have learned to laugh through it. A little while ago, Trevor's transmission on his truck went out and it costs us around $3,000. We got home, looked at each other, and just laughed. We have medical bills. We have lots of potentially stressful things in our lives, but we must learn to laugh through it. Because there's always something! It's like that quote by Marjorie Hinckley. "The only way to get through life is to laugh your way through it. You either have to laugh or cry. I prefer to laugh. Crying gives me a headache." Make each other laugh. Have tickle fights. Do silly things. Laughter is the BEST medicine.

Whether you are just needing to vent, or your spouse is, just listen. I've found myself, at times, receiving a text while Trevor is talking to me and reading it. Put your dang phone down. Be a good FRIEND to your spouse and listen to them. I know that sometimes, that is all Trevor wants at that moment, to be heard and completely listened to.

•Choose your love. Love your choice. 
When I was considering marrying a boy (that surprisingly wasn't Trevor), my bishop told me that I must be ready to close one chapter and open another one up. At that point in my life, I wasn't ready. When I met Trevor, I was, simply because he was the love of my life. My life before him didn't seem to have half as purpose as it did with him in it. You have to realize that when you get married, things change. Friends will leave. You won't go to crazy college frat boy parties anymore, and if you're like me, the changes might be hard on you right at first. Accept the fact that you have chosen your love And when times get hard, when changes are hard to face or confront, pause and think about loving your choice.

•Be Honest.
You have to be honest. With yourself and with your spouse. Without complete honesty, your marriage could suffer so much, and yes, even the little white lies. Be honest about where you were. Be honest about your feelings. Be honest about what money you spent that day, and if that shirt really was on sale. Lying about the little things will turn into big things. So if you're not being utterly and completely honest with your spouse, start now.

•Work. And understand that you must work.
I have watched people I love get their heart broken and have their marriage completely destroyed due to this particular key point. There are women who only think about marriage their whole life. It's something to be excited about, absolutely. But they view marriage as this wonderfully perfect union between two people who solely cuddle, have sex, laugh, tickle, and look at each other beautifully. Though that exists in marriage, that is not the definition of marriage. Marriage is work. If you get married with the wrong hopes and expecting every facade most newlyweds put on, you could be in trouble. What are you going to do after the wedding?  Let me just tell you that there are hardships. There are rough times. There are struggles and there are times where you feel like you can't go on any longer. Learn to hug your spouse, and let hard experiences bring you closer. Because if you don't, your marriage will deteriorate.

•Pray for your spouse.
The only marital advice I remember receiving from a church leader was to pray for your spouse. Pray for your spouse during great times! But also soften your heart to be able to pray for them during rough times. If you're in a fight with your spouse, pray for them. How can you be angry anymore when you are down on your knees, sacrificing your natural oriented man, and humbling yourself on a level as to simply ask. for. help? It helps. I promise.

•Forgive. Forgive. Forgive.
Your spouse is not perfect. When I married Trevor, I was certain that he was perfect. I never saw the quirks or the flaws. But you will see them. Your spouse will drive you nuts sometimes. And sometimes, they make mistakes. But forgive them. Because it will set you free and make your marriage so much stronger. I once heard a quote that said, "A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers." If you both forgive & move on, it'll help you establish a happy marriage.

Though we don't have kids yet, I know these particular topics will be good in our lives forever. I am so incredibly grateful for the union of marriage. Marriage is WORK. But marriage is beautiful. And it is wonderful, if you work at it every single day. Now, go out and do something sweet for your spouse, would ya?
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