How to Have a Happy Marriage?
I will be 100% Responsible for my Marriage
Couples cannot resolve their marital problems by merely reasoning. Understanding is more important. Reasoning without understanding only creates more problems. Some key principles for a happy marriage:
Principle 1 : I am the Cause of the Problems in Our Marriage
To have a happy marriage we must be prepared to be 100% responsible: admit that I am the cause of the problems. I’m not saying that the problems are due to my faults but I choose to admit that I caused them. I can take responsibility for my spouse’s response because I am part of the interaction.
No matter how tough we appear our inner self is like a baby that needs tender loving care. One way to appease your spouse is to show understanding. She is likely to calm down when you express what is in her heart.
Principle 2 : What is Important is not My Motive but my Feelings
Most wives speak from emotions and husbands from their rational faculty. Emotions often overwhelm rationality and affect thinking. It’s important to deal first with emotions. Listen actively when emotions are described. This is not a time to quibble.
Principle 3 : Is it a Major or Minor Issue?
The wife is upset as the husband has bought the wrong shampoo. This is apparently a minor issue. However, the principle of “100% responsible” means that it’s major if it matters so much to the spouse. The husband will go and get the right shampoo. Applying the principle means that I’ll do it because you matter to me.
Principle 4 : I Make My Decisions Willingly
Whatever is done in a marital relationship is done willingly. If it’s not, we are leaving room for complaints. The principle in doing it willingly is that in making the choice I regain my sovereignty.
Principle 5 : I Speak Up for My Need
We often wish that our spouse can guess our needs but she’s no god. Although you may not get what you want even if you speak up, it is self-accountability to meet your basic need. You may be feeling lonely and you tell your wife, “I need someone to talk to. Will you be my listener?” If you do not express this need you may blame your spouse for not meeting it.
Clear Boundaries Marked to Preserve the Spousal Relationship
Two boundaries need to be clearly marked in any marriage: 1) friends of the opposite sex and 2) parents.
Mutual trust and accountability are required to preserve a marriage. Accountability implies discipline and vigilance, otherwise we’ll be lax and there is no restraint.
Our spouse is the most important person in our life. If she feels uncomfortable about my relationship with members of the opposite sex, then I will draw the line and not have individual outings with them. Clear boundaries are also needed with our parents. God says the two shall be one and spousal relationships take priority. If spouses are loving, and the wife loves her mother-in-law, there will not be any tug-of-war in the relationship.