Living Happily Ever After
● By Sandy Kauten
At some time in our lives, many of us have met Bridezilla. She is the bride who demands perfection, issues unreasonable requests and expects the wedding guests to focus on her and her selections. I often wonder how that selfish bride and her new husband are going to make it past the honeymoon. Seasoned couples will tell you that planning the wedding and having it all come together is the easy part. The real work comes in trying to navigate the journey of life as a married couple. While we all get stuck along the way, these tips will get us back on the road to living happily ever after.
Be in the moment. Today, it is easy to unintentionally ignore the people around us by escaping into the digital world. Limit your use of phones and computers when you are with your family.
Listen more, talk less. Instead of jumping in with the events of your day, ask him about his meeting, the upcoming merger or his new boss. Sometimes, men like to vent, too.
Say, “I love you” every time you leave. We never know what fate has in store.
Continue to dream together. Your dreams may be postponed while your kids are small, but that doesn’t mean they are gone. Talk about them, do research and keep that fire burning until it becomes a reality.
Have your own interests. While part of a couple, it is important to remain an individual. Make time to do the things you enjoy and support your husband when he does the same.
Let the little stuff go. Does it really matter how the dishwasher is loaded or if the tools are put in the wrong spot on the peg board? Choose peace over being perfect.
Show gratitude. We all work hard at our day job, whether we are taking home a paycheck or not. We often forget our partner in parenting is working hard on their end, too. A simple, “I couldn’t do it without you” goes a long way.
Don’t wait to celebrate. Open a good bottle of wine when you complete a big project. Buy a new outfit when you lose five pounds. Applaud the moments as well as the milestones.
Schedule a regular date night and don’t cancel it. Your time alone together is just as important as a work function or a friend’s 40th birthday party.
Keep fit. Being married and having a family is not an excuse to let yourself go. Make healthy choices, exercise daily and visit your doctor regularly.
Fight fair. Don’t bring up past fights. Leave the family and friends out of it. Stick to the issue at hand and resolve it. If you can’t do it on your own, get professional help.
Talk about money, even when it is tight. Hiding money problems or ignoring them won’t make them go away. Get it out in the open and tackle it together instead of waiting until it’s out of control.
Make sex a priority. Yes, you may be tired from work, kids and everyday life, but a marriage needs intimacy. Put down the computer, set the DVR and put the kids to bed early. You will be glad you did.
Say what is on your mind. While you don’t want to complain about every little thing, don’t ignore your feelings to spare his. Find a non-confrontational way to voice your concerns.
Act silly. Dance around the room, have a pillow fight, or chase each other with the threat of an ice cube down the back. Let your kids see you laughing together.
Connect throughout the day. Kiss hello and goodbye. Share the high points as your day moves forward with a call or text. If traveling, check in using Facetime or Skype after a long day away from each other.
Admire your man. Let him know how good he looks in that new shirt. Praise him for a job well done fixing the sink. Watch him playing with your children and tell him how lucky the kids are to have such a great dad.
And lastly, apologize when you are wrong. It’s as simple as that.
Pam Molnar is a freelance writer and mother of three. She and her husband have been married for 25 years.