A lifelong commitment requiring effort, sacrifice and... sometimes...teeth-gritting patience. Not to mention a whole lot of love. Here some of tips I got online to make our marriage work and succeed.
1. Complain constructively. Deal with problems immediately using clear and specific language. Keep your cool and describe the issue as you see it, but avoid sweeping statements. "Before you say anything, visualize holding your partner's hand, then talk about the things that are difficult.
2. Share your concerns."Don't be secretive about how you feel. Set aside time to discuss the problem and lay some ground rules. One talks; the other listens. Practice telling each other what you are feeling and what she/he needs, even if such expression brings conflicts to the surface."
3. Be a little selfish. Just say no... say yes often enough that your yes carries weight. It may sound crazy to people who value hard work and devotion to family, our advice is this: You need to be a little more selfish," says Gottman. Schedule "me" time for your interests and "us" time to reconnect. "When responsibilities mount, such 'indulgences' are usually the first to go. "But outlets like these...provide you with the energy you need to navigate hard times."
4. Break the cycle. Criticism is a lonely creature, but sometimes it shares a bed with defensiveness and contempt. Before long, you've got a problem of biblical proportions. "With so much criticism and contempt in the air, neither partner feels like talking about things that really matter to either of them. State your problem neutrally, without criticizing, insulting or digging up old bones. Tell your partner what you need ("I want to feel respected") rather than what you don't ("Don't call me names!"). When he responds, don't be defensive but listen carefully and ask open-ended questions ("How can we achieve this?"). Lastly, thank him for listening to you.
5. Fulfill your dreams. Take turns talking intimately about your dreams, hopes and aspirations, then think of ways to be flexible about investigating them. It may be your deepest desire to slap on a Tilley hat and take an Indiana Jones vacation. But rather than circumnavigating the globe on a raft, consider a compromise, such as short, exciting trips that accommodate your spouse. In short, find ways to foster the spirit of each other's dreams.
6. Support each other. First, there was a little black cloud. Then, the taciturn stranger moved in. Where did your happy spouse go? According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, he may have joined the eight per cent of adults who face major depression in their lifetimes. Or maybe it's temporary: setbacks at work, a death in the family or unrelenting stress has made him moody and harder to read than Sanskrit. Either way, if you're on the receiving end, his frustration and resentment can be frightening because it feels like an attack on you, says Johnson. Listen compassionately, find support wth each other.
7. Communicate with clarity. Get his focused attention, then let him know in neutral language what you need ("Could you clean out the garage?" rather than "Oh my gosh! What an unholy disaster!") and when you need it done ("By tomorrow"). Each of you should try to remain open to each other's ideas and to compromise. If he can't do as you ask immediately, for example, at least secure his good intentions for the future. "If he can tell you he's on side with you, it's not a confrontation anymore.
8. Calm your anger. Annoyance, irritation or fury -- call it what you will. Regardless of whether anger is directed at you or you've got your own issues to burn, it can be painful, nerve-racking and disruptive for all involved. Calm down, take a step back and recast your indignant anger ("You're so selfish! You never think of me!") into personal frustration ("I'm hurt and upset that my needs aren't being met"). Anger is natural, but it can be damaging if it eclipses love. Talking about frustration instead of anger "doesn't imply blame and resentment, and so will be better received. "Express how something upset you, how it didn't work for you."
9. Take time together. Forget Happy Families. These days, it's more like Busy Kids and Exhausted Parents. "Once the kids arrive, it feels as if your entire life is booked. "Problems arise, however, when couples use their parenting obligations as an excuse for neglecting their relationship with each other." Start with a date night, such as a walk through the park or a beer at the pub. Practice turning toward your partner when he makes a bid for connection. If you're feeling out of sorts after a bad day and he brings you a glass of wine, for example, don't stay silent (turning away) or point out that you didn't want it (turning against). Accept the gesture, smile graciously and say thanks.
10. Appreciate the differences. You wait for sales; he buys on impulse. You tidy-as-you-go; he prefers the science-experiment approach to housekeeping. Both are ongoing issues that, despite efforts to renovate each other, just won't go away. Happy couples openly discuss their ongoing points of dispute, thereby making them more manageable, according to Gottman's studies. Make dialogue rather than problem-solving your goal, remembering that the issue -- not your partner... is the problem. There are no right and wrong solutions. Above all, accept that the problem may never go away, but you can still be happy together.
Keep a mental list of qualities you admire in your spouse, whether it's his goofy sense of humour, his integrity or his manly forearms. "Fondness and admiration are the perfect antidotes to contempt," says Gottman. If you're tempted to find fault during an argument, "Look for evidence that your partner is getting it right." Ask him to do the same for you.