There’s a huge difference between just being married and being happily married. It all comes down to habits.
Negative habits, even small ones, can chip away at the happiness in your marriage over time. On the flip side, positive habits can build a strong foundation for lasting happiness in your marriage. The trick is knowing which habits to ditch and which to keep.
In this article, we’ll delve into some of those detrimental habits that could be holding back your marital bliss. Say goodbye to these, and you’re well on your way to a happier marriage.
1) Criticizing your partner
It’s common in relationships to point out our partner’s flaws. We all do it from time to time. But when criticism becomes a habit, it can be detrimental to our relationship.
Repeated criticism can create a negative cycle in your relationship. It makes your partner feel undervalued and unappreciated and often leads to them retaliating with criticism of their own.
It’s important to remember that no one is perfect. We all have our flaws and make mistakes. Instead of criticizing, try understanding and accepting your partner for who they are.
If there’s a need to point out something, make sure it’s done constructively. Speak about the issue without attacking the person.
Saying goodbye to this habit of constant criticism can help improve the happiness level in your marriage. But remember, progress takes time and patience.
2) Keeping score
I’ve been there myself, in the habit of keeping score in my relationship. It’s an easy trap to fall into – tallying up the chores, the sacrifices, the times one person has done more than the other.
In my case, it was things like who took out the garbage more often, or who woke up earliest to take care of our young child. The scorecard in my mind kept growing and it began to breed resentment.
But the truth is, marriage isn’t a competition. It’s a partnership.
Once I realized this and made a conscious effort to let go of keeping score, I found a marked improvement in my happiness within my marriage. I focused more on how we could work as a team instead of who was doing more.
It’s not an easy habit to break, but saying goodbye to keeping score can be a game changer for your marital happiness.
3) Neglecting quality time
In our fast-paced world, it’s easy to let our schedules take control. Between work, chores, and maybe even kids, couples often find themselves in the same room without really being together. How do we make time for each other?
“One of the main issues with communication is being flooded by electronics, planning time where you both ditch the devices will allow you to be more engaged with one another,” said psychologist and couples therapist Andreas Narum. “Sit with your partner and plan your relationship time every week. Find times which work for the both of you, whether that’s every evening at a particular time or one day a week.”
It doesn’t mean you have to go on expensive date nights or vacations all the time. It can be as simple as taking a 30-minute walk together in the morning or embarking on a weekend getaway for a change of scenery.
Truth is: it’s not about the quantity of time spent together, but the quality. If you want a quality marriage, set aside more quality time for your significant other.
4) Avoiding difficult conversations
It’s natural to steer clear of difficult conversations. No one really wants to dive into discussions that might lead to conflict or discomfort. But avoiding these talks can lead to bigger problems in the future.
Unresolved issues tend to pile up over time, creating a wall of resentment and misunderstanding between partners. It’s like sweeping dust under the rug – it doesn’t really go away, it just accumulates.
Breaking this habit might be challenging because it means stepping out of your comfort zone. But remember, open communication is key in a relationship. It’s better to address issues as they come, rather than letting them fester.
So, say goodbye to avoiding difficult conversations and welcome open, honest communication. It’s one of the secrets to a happier marriage.
5) Taking each other for granted
One of the beautiful aspects of marriage is the comfort and familiarity that develops over time. However, this can sometimes lead to taking each other for granted.
When we stop appreciating the little things our partner does, or forget to express our love and gratitude regularly, it can make them feel undervalued. This habit can slowly erode the happiness in your marriage.
Make a conscious effort to show appreciation for your partner. It doesn’t have to be grand gestures – a simple ‘thank you’, a warm hug or even just acknowledging their efforts can go a long way.
So, bid farewell to taking your partner for granted and bring back the gratitude. You’ll be surprised at how much this can boost the happiness quotient in your marriage.
6) Forgetting to nurture your friendship
In the whirlwind of life, amidst responsibilities and routines, couples often forget that at the heart of their relationship is a deep friendship. This is the foundation upon which their love was built, and it needs nurturing too.
When you lose sight of this friendship, you lose the fun, the laughter, the shared secrets, and the mutual understanding that brought you together in the first place. Your relationship becomes more about fulfilling duties than sharing lives.
Remember to nurture that friendship. Spend time together not just as a couple, but as best friends. Laugh together, share your dreams and fears, support each other’s interests and remember why you fell in love in the first place.
So let’s say goodbye to forgetting our friendship with our partners. By keeping this bond alive, we can add more warmth, more love and more happiness to our marriage.
7) Trying to change your partner
The truth is, we all have our own unique traits and quirks that make us who we are. Trying to change your partner is not only unfair to them, but it also creates dissatisfaction in the relationship.
“Starting from a place of appreciation is always of benefit, and can help solve more difficult conversations,” said relationship therapist Sarah Calvert. “It’s easy to focus on what is lacking, so I invite people to think about what they appreciate about the other person on a daily basis. Find one thing each day and tell them.”
So, let’s bid farewell to trying to change our partners. After all, that’s why we chose them in the first place, isn’t it?
8) Overlooking self-care
It’s easy to forget about self-care when you’re in a relationship. The focus often shifts to taking care of the other person, or the relationship itself. But neglecting self-care can lead to burnout, resentment, and unhappiness.
Self-care is not just about spa days or indulging in your favorite hobbies. It’s also about maintaining your mental health, setting boundaries, and ensuring your own needs are met.
Remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup. Taking care of yourself helps you to be more present, patient, and loving in your relationship.
So let’s say goodbye to neglecting self-care. Prioritize it. The happier and healthier you are, the more happiness and health you bring into your marriage.
9) Holding onto grudges
Holding onto grudges is like carrying a heavy weight around your neck. It’s exhausting, it’s painful, and it only hurts you.
Forgiveness is not about letting the other person off the hook, it’s about setting yourself free from the burden of resentment. It’s about choosing love and happiness over anger and resentment.
“Forgiveness is a grace for the couple,” says Jesuit priest Fr. Patrick Langue. According to Fr. Langue, forgiveness is the only key to preserving love and a future for married couples.
At the end of the day, to err is human and to forgive – divine. Letting go of grudges and embracing forgiveness is key to a happier marriage.
Final thoughts: Embrace the journey
Marriage, like any relationship, is a journey of growth and discovery. It’s about two unique individuals coming together to share their lives, to learn from each other and to grow together.
Each marriage is unique, but there’s one universal truth that applies to all – happiness in a marriage is not a destination, it’s a continuous journey.
As you reflect on these habits discussed in this article, remember that change is a process. It takes time, patience, and commitment. But every step you take towards breaking negative habits and nurturing positive ones brings you closer to a happier marriage.