Getting married is easy. Staying married is the real challenge.
If you're starting to feel that your marriage is turning south, don't worry—you're not alone in your feelings. Most couples experience rough patches in their relationship at one point or another. Some couples survive and conquer unhappiness, while others fail or, worse, quit.
If you're still head-over-heels for your spouse, then your marriage is worth the effort! After all, this article is about preventing unhappiness, not saving an already toxic marriage. First, let's talk about why some marriages fail to live up to their happily-ever-after ending.
Why Marriages Turn Sour
There are plenty of reasons why many marriages become unhappy unions:
- Expectations aren't met
- Tension in the relationship
- Disappointment at how things are shaping up
Depending on where you are in your marriage, your circumstances may be different. There could be a little pride here and some ego there. Sprinkle these with both parties being stubborn, and you have an explosive cocktail called unhappiness.
The good news is that all this friction is preventable, as long as you're both willing to put in the work. If you have the usual ups and downs, here are a few tips to keep the love alive and stay happy.
How to Prevent an Unhappy Marriage
Preventing unhappiness in your marriage is the key to a lasting relationship. Here are a few steps on how to stay true to your vows and live a happy, fulfilled life with your significant other.
1. Know Who You're Marrying
Benjamin Franklin once said that "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," and the same holds true for any marriage. To tip the odds in favor of a happy marriage, you need to know everything about the person you plan on sharing your life with.
Before signing on the dotted line of a marriage contract, you owe it to yourself to know the history of the person you plan to marry. It doesn't matter if you're crazy about the person—a little background check wouldn't hurt. Do your sleuthing as discreetly as possible.
2. Leave Your Ego at The Door
The need to always be right and win every argument is your ego talking, and it is killing your marriage. The urge to project power or domination over a loved one often leads to regret, resentment, and guilt. There are no winners when it comes to clashing egos, only losers with deep emotional scars.
Even if you "win" a fight, your victory will be short-lived and comes at a cost. In relationships, it's more important to keep the happiness going than to always be right.
3. Active Communication
Talking and sharing your feelings is one of the essential steps to keeping your marriage happy. No one can read thoughts, and if you think your spouse should know (by default) what's on your mind or how you feel, that's unfair. Have a conversation. Talk about taking and sharing responsibilities, rather than silently blaming each other.
Talk about taking and sharing responsibilities, rather than silently blaming each other.
Another part of communication is being able to express the seriousness of the issues. Don't forget to ask your partner what his/her needs are and how s/he feels about your marriage.
Be sure to express your needs clearly so your spouse understands precisely what you want to happen. Always begin with "I need." For instance, you can say, "I need more help with the kids." or "I need to spend more time with you."
4. Don't Act on Negative Emotions
Negative emotions are a great source of unhappiness in a marriage. These feelings give birth to resentment, disappointment, tension, and miscommunication. The keys to a happy marriage are stopping negativity in its tracks and dealing with any that's already present. It's not pleasant to talk about, but anger and insecurity can ruin relationships.
Everyone has a breaking point, and no one wants to stay married to a person who's always angry. If you're feeling negative or upset, don't feel sorry for yourself. Use this opportunity to develop a method to deal with your emotions without acting out.
5. Know When to Call in The Cavalry
If you feel that you're suffering from depression, talk to your partner and seek professional help. Depression is a serious matter and has a profound effect on the quality of your life and relationships.
If you feel you need to talk to someone other than your spouse, confide in a best friend, sibling, or parent. Having a trusted confidant who you can ask for support anytime you need it is like rainwater in the desert. Learning when to reach out and ask for help can prevent an unhappy marriage.
Are You the Cause of All the Unhappiness?
Some people fail to realize that they are the root cause of all the marital problems they face. Take stock of these common mistakes, and assess if you're guilty of doing them.
Ask yourself if you are:
- The Initiator who initiates needless arguments and conflicts that make no sense
- The Victim who assumes the role of the injured party
- The Blamer who accuses or blames their partner
- The Manipulator who uses emotional blackmail to guilt-trip or control their spouse
- The Mouth who bad-mouths their partner either face-to-face or behind his or her back
If any of this is familiar, you must scale it down or stop it thoroughly to avoid further damaging your marriage.
One of the most important keys to not ending up stuck in an unhappy marriage is recognizing the potential reasons for unhappiness. Remember, there's no such thing as a perfect marriage. Every relationship has its fair share of ups and downs that affect both parties. If you want to prevent an unhappy marriage, use the steps outlined above, and stay positive.
Author’s Bio: Patrick Peterson is a writer and editor at AutoDetective.