Do You Have a Happy Marriage? (and Where Mine Failed)
Posted on October 26, 2015
I do not have a happy marriage. Shocking, right? In fact, my husband and I decided to hit the reset button on our marriage after 15 years of growing in opposite directions.
Writing about this is a “bit” of a stretch for me. I don’t like to air my dirty laundry or admit I’ve failed, especially in an area I have been passionate about. I want my marriage to be better, but I also have to enforce boundaries at times. It’s not pretty when it comes to that.
We are talking more and realizing not only how unhappy we are, but what is making us unhappy. My friend Nick has a great post on his site 10 Habits of Happy Couples? I Fail #2 Miserably.
Guess what? We failed pretty much all of them, and I found a few to be hot spots. My husband and I have been having some pretty good conversations about these over the last few days, and I hope you will too.
Go to bed at the same time.
This is a sore subject for me. I’m tired by 10:30, and he’s up until 1 or 2 in the morning. I hate sleeping by myself. For one thing, it’s cold. Second, I want to feel like he wants to be near me. Sometimes, I’ll even fall asleep next to him on the couch just to be close. Unfortunately, it usually comes across as annoying, because I’m sleeping in the middle of his television program, and he feels like he has to be quiet. Maybe a topic for counseling. Check.
Cultivate common interests.
Hmmm…We do have some common interests. I would like to see him doing more things I like to do, but I also have to speak up about them. I usually default to whatever he wants to do, because it creates less argument. Not healthy, I know. Counseling topic #2? Check.
Walk hand in hand or side by side.
We actually had a discussion about this the other day. He walks more quickly than I do, and sometimes I feel left behind. He didn’t realize, and it wasn’t intentional, so this really isn’t an issue for us anymore. (Thank goodness, we finally got one right).
Make trust and forgiveness your default mode.
I’m good at forgiveness, but horrible at trusting. My husband, however, can hold a grudge with the best of them. It’s something we both need to work on, and it’s hard to trust when you’ve been let down.
I think this is where boundaries come in to play. We can set the boundaries, but not necessarily harp on them (which I am very good at), and let trust be broken when it’s broken instead of before.
Focus more on what your partner does right than wrong.
We’re usually good at this…until an argument starts. Dirty socks on the floor look like gigantic mounds of dirt. I must leave 5 million pairs of shoes around the house, because, you know, I actually own 5 million pairs of shoes (don’t worry, I really don’t. Just splashing a little sarcasm to make myself look slightly better).
Instead, I should be appreciative I don’t have to mow the grass. This morning, I noticed the trash cans were sitting by the road waiting for the garbage truck. When your spouse is not there anymore, you realize all the little stuff is really just little stuff.
Hug each other as soon as you see each other after work.
When I come home from work, my 3 dogs are ridiculous. You would think I had died, never to return again, but here I am! In the flesh, baby! Woohoo! Let me wag my tail some more!
I told my husband once, “I wish you’d wag your tail for me.” The next day, he wagged his tail. Be careful what you ask for.
I’ll just take the hug next time.
Say “I love you” and “Have a good day” every morning.
I can actually say, we’re pretty good at this. Even though when we’re mad, we still at least say, “Have a good day.”
Sometimes saying “I love you,” gets a little cliche for me. Still say it anyway. I would also say to pray for your spouse. It’s about thinking good thoughts toward the other person. When I say, “I love you,” or “have a good day,” or if I’m praying for someone, I genuinely want good things for them instead of focusing on the negative.
Say “Good night,” every night regardless of how you feel.
Once again, we win. (Thank goodness, I was beginning to get a little nervous.)
Do a weather check during the day to check in with your spouse and see how their day is going.
We are so/so about this one. By nature, we are texters, but I do usually call my husband on my way home from work. There’s the occasional “I love you. Hope you’re having a good day” text on the mornings I have to be at work early. I think we’re pretty good here.
Be proud to be seen with your partner.
Usually, I’m pretty good about this one. Right now, I’m feeling a little damaged and raw. I’m sure this will come back soon. At least I hope it does for me and for him as well.
It’s pretty obvious my husband and I have a lot to work on. As I mentioned before, marriage counseling starts today. I’m working on my own self identity and self worth and keeping close with my girlfriends. Most importantly, I’m constantly reminding my children they are loved and trying to keep peace within our home as we deal with our adulting issues.
If you are the praying type, I would love for you to pray for us and our family as we navigate during a difficult time. My hope in sharing a little snippet of our story is to help prevent someone else from going through what seems to have “blindsided” us over the last several years.
Which of these on the list are you succeeding or failing at? Join the conversation at http://amandasnodgrass.com.
Originally published at www.amandasnodgrass.com on October 26, 2015.