Married couples face a lot of trials along the way. Hardships test our capacities, and problems challenge us both as individuals and as a couple. What eventually makes a difference between those who will grow and thrive together, and those who will grow resentful and miserable instead is the way the couple communicates. Here are some habits of happily married people that all of us can incorporate into the way we talk to our spouses on a daily basis as well as during difficult times:
1. Happily married people are honest to each other
This is by far the most important thing for those who are happy with their lives. Being completely frank about the things we might be ashamed of or we think would hurt our spouses is hard. But no one said it would be easy, right? The key is in making an effort to always say what’s on our mind, even when it seems like the most difficult thing in the world. But you also need to do so in a tactful, considerate, respectful, and kind way. And this goes for both small and potentially devastating truths. Whether you don’t like your wife’s new recipe or you were unfaithful, you owe it to her and to yourself to be honest about it. It’s the person you will spend your life with and with whom you already share so much – so how could you not be who you really are and lie?
2. Happily married people are flexible
One thing is certain – there is only one way to have it all your way, and that is to spend your life alone. Which might not be worth it. Happily married people constantly adapt to their spouses and family, and they all grow together through this process. This doesn’t mean being passive and accepting whatever your husband of wife proposes without expressing your opinion on (and your disagreement with) it. It does, however, mean that, if you wish to have a healthy conversation with your spouse, you will need to make special effort to step into their shoes and rethink about your attitude. By being assertive, a compromise won’t feel like caving in to unreasonable demands, but you will also allow your significant other to share their point of view with you.
3. Happily married people know how to listen
Apart from using the right language, which means not being disrespectful, hurtful, and not casting blame, knowing how to listen is key to healthy communication, and, indirectly, to a fulfilling relationship. You might think that there can’t be anything problematic about listening, but it’s also a competence. Which means that you can be lousy at it and you can also improve your listening skills with some practice. What it is to know how to listen, then? First, the next time your spouse says something, try hearing it without becoming defensive. We get so accustomed to our small fights in marriage that we often forget how to hear objectively, without coming up with a defense. A good listener also remains focused and listens carefully to everything the other person is saying. Then, after your husband or wife shares their point of view, try making sure that you understood them well. Rephrase their thoughts and check with them if that’s what they meant. For example, you might try saying something like: “If I understood you correctly, you think that we should (do this or that)…” or “Did I get you right, you feel that…” and similar. In that way, you’ll have a chance to clarify what you just heard and get corrected if you interpreted it wrong, and to support your spouse in sharing their thoughts, feelings, and plans.
4. Happily married people talk
What this means is that those who are happy in their marriages devote time and energy into making small talk and serious discussions with their partners. And this often sets apart couples who will last for a long time from those whose marriage will soon be in serious need for professional help. Marriage comes with a lot of duties that add to our individual responsibilities and commitments, and conversation often gets lost in all that chaos. Yet, all happily married people report that they talk to their spouses whenever they can, about things that happened to them during the day, about their plans, about their fears and feelings, about their passions and new interests. Just because you’re married, that doesn’t mean you know everything about your life partner, and the magic is to discover and rediscover yourself together!