How to Keep Your Relationship Healthy Through the Ages and Stages of Marriage
Without a doubt most people would agree that marriage is more like a long distance marathon than a hundred meter sprint. It’s all about the long haul, and it helps if you can hunker down, pace yourself and be prepared for whatever the years ahead may bring along. The ages and stages of married life can be as different and distinct as the seasons, from winter to spring, summer and fall. First it’s just the two of you, starry eyed honeymooners, still getting to know each other and figuring out how best to live together. Then you may decide to start a family and the next two decades will be filled with the demands of the baby, toddler, youngster and teenage years. After that they’re off to college and work and you find yourselves alone together again. And by now a few gray hairs may be setting in, and then its retirement and the golden oldie years!
The question is how to keep your relationship healthy throughout all these different ages and stages of marriage? This article will explore a few tips which can help you to stay fresh as a couple and enjoy your special relationship, no matter what season or challenge you may be facing together.
Set a Firm Foundation
Building a marriage is like building a house, or a castle. A solid foundation is imperative if the building is to remain strong for a long time and withstand the winds and storms. So it is in a marriage, where a firm foundation can be laid through understanding and commitment. Talking through your values and beliefs will help you to understand each other better, and to reach a place of mutuality and unity. The process of grafting two separate lives into one whole marriage is a lifelong mission which needs to be tackled with hopefulness and determination. When you disagree about something, talk it through until you reach a place of understanding. Constant communication is vital at all stages of a healthy marriage. Don’t take things for granted or assume that you know how your spouse feels about certain topics and issues. Rather talk about it — you might be in for some surprises and certainly it will keep your relationship interesting.
Agree About the Finances
Money, money, money! We love it and hate it… Undoubtedly, finances are the cause of many marriage problems, and endless tension can result from disagreements about finances. Maybe one of you is very careful and economical while your partner tends to be spontaneous and lavish with money. Or perhaps you are both careful, but you don’t see eye to eye on how to allocate the budget. Or maybe you are both spontaneous and then you find your money has run out way before month end!
Whatever your situation may be, it is very important that you settle your money matters as early in your marriage as possible. Decide who will keep track of your finances and get the bills paid. Discuss what would be a reasonable amount that you each could spend without necessarily consulting the other. You also need to agree on your goals and the things that you are saving up for.
Keep Fit Together
Some couples tend to let fitness and exercise go out the window once they are married. This is a mistake that will catch up with you once the pounds start piling up. Rather take advantage of your relationship and spur each other on to keep fit together. You can be a great encouragement and motivation to each other. If you stick it out together you can celebrate together when you start reaching your fitness and weight loss goals. And while you are about it, have fun planning your menus and preparing healthy meals together. Fitness and health can be fun, especially when you are doing it together with your favourite person.
Cherish Your Intimacy
Intimacy is much more than having sex and making love, although that is definitely a big part of it. Learn to cherish one another in an intimate way throughout the day and throughout all the stages of your marriage. For every couple this will be unique and that’s the beauty of finding out what exactly makes your beloved feel special, secure and contented. It may be simply holding hands (with interlocking fingers, or not), or back rubs, or snuggles on the couch. Remember it’s the little things that count the most. If you find yourselves rushing too much to spare a loving word or touch for each other, it may be a sign that you need to slow down a bit and refocus on your relationship. This is especially true during the hectic years when you have a young family. Always remember who is your one-and-only beloved spouse, partner and best friend.
Be Ready to Re-evaluate
Every living thing grows and changes over time, and it’s no different with marriage. When your marriage relationship is alive and growing it will constantly be changing and developing. So you need to be flexible and re-evaluate as you go along. Your financial situation may change, your career or job may change, your family size may change as the children come along, you may face health challenges, or any number of other possibilities and circumstances. Choose to see all of these changes as growth and progress as you move along your journey of life together in marriage. As you stay flexible and adjust accordingly, you will help each other to stay fresh and healthy in your marriage, no matter what age or stage you are facing. As long as you face it together you will have many happy memories to share.