1. „Your stuff”, „my stuff” and „our stuff” – If you want your marriage to work, it’s important to share a considerable amount of stuff, including dreams and hobbies with your spouse. Otherwise, the daily routine will destroy your relationship and, as the years pass, you will grow apart. However, it is also important to keep your individuality intact and cherish each others self, their interests, hobbies and so on. While you grow together as a team, you should also evolve independent according to your own personality. Respect the differences and embrace your similarities.
2. Spend time together – We are all tired from work, we are constantly under stress and pressure and barely manage to make time for ourselves, not to mention our significant others. As hard it may be however, it is imperative to spend time together as much as you can. From time to time, put your daily duties and errands aside and enjoy each other. Cuddle, talk, watch a movie, discuss something that is not work or household related. And make sure you dine together as frequently as you can.
3. Take care of yourself – Spend some time in the morning to take care of your looks. Always dress according to the occasion and never let go your daily exercise routine just because you have found your significant other and you don’t have to put yourself out there on the “dating market”. Take care of your body and mind and feel always good about yourself and especially with yourself.
4. Communication and dialogue – Many relationships and especially marriages fail due to lack of good communication and dialogue between the two partners. Communication lets you solve most of the issues that appear during time while the lack of it only widens the gap that separates the both of you. It’s a gap that starts along with comfort and routine only to became the abyss that separates two individuals who grow apart by evolving separately and unilaterally.
5. Train your impulses – Mistakes are inevitable in a human being. Both of you will make mistakes, some of them bigger, some of them insignificant. You cannot be perfect and you cannot pretend your spouse to be perfect either. Nobody is. As a consequence, train the way you react to different types of mistakes and train yourself to ignore the not-so-big ones. Learn to compromise and to empathize with your partner and of course, learn to forgive. Do not jump at his throat just because he “forgot to take out the trash”. Listen to his side of the story and if he apologizes, accept his apology.
6. Kids – Along with the first child, the whole relationship dynamic changes and not always for the better. A new kid means a whole new responsability, new problems, new issues, less time for yourselves and for each other and many other problems. Don’t let kids ruin your relationship! make time for each other. If you cannot do it daily, do it once or twice a week. You need time apart from the kid and the daily routine, you need time to talk, to reconnect, to enjoy being together. Also, it is important to get on the same page in how to raise a child. And learn to compromise when you have no other alternatives.
7. Continue to court each other– Gifts, compliments, romantic gestures. They all should integrate in your daily routine even though you are married from a decade or two. Date each other like you did in the beginning and you will never have to suffer, face serious issues or grow apart from each other.
8. The romance– Cuddle, kiss, hold hands. Never forget that a relationship is not only about responsibilities and compromises but about romance and love as well. You will have problems, you will have rainy days and sorrows but you should never forget to be romantic.
9. The terms of the agreement – Maybe it doesn’t sound to good but it’s true: Marriage is a social contract signed by two parties that have to understand it and respect it according to the initial agreement and of course, all the amendments made as the time passes by, and the two partners evolve and change. You both need to be honest starting from the beginning and up to the end, to speak when you have something to say and shut up when you need to listen. You need to know each others dreams and wishes, to have a vision and a plan together, to be honest about your intentions and what you want from a spouse in particular and life in general.
10. Renegotiation of the contract – We’ve already reach an agreement about the marriage being a social contract. However, we cannot view it as a legal contract that once signed, it is impossible to change. Marriage is a contract between two individuals that are subject to evolution. An individual evolution and evolution as a couple. Tastes change, dreams change, hopes change. Some of them are fulfilled while others become obsolete or irrelevant. Therefore, the initial contract should always be subject to change and it should be discussed and reanalyzed every time one of the two spouses feels that way.