Singaporebrides | Weddings 101

February 2012

10 Tips On How To Stay Lovingly Married

Now that you’ve said your vows, it’s time to embark on the toughest life journey of all – marriage. And yes, that means being faithful to one partner, living with him under one roof, and embracing him (and his flaws!) till death do you part. But the happily-ever-after is not a myth, if you know how to navigate your marriage right, that is. SingaporeBrides lists 10 tips and tricks to staying married – forever.

#1: Realise that he’s not Mr. Perfect

As a girl, you have probably wished for a modern-day Prince Charming to sweep you off your feet. But as a married woman, understand that there is a difference between fantasy and reality. Your husband is not – and never will be – Mr. Perfect. Every one of us has our flaws and weaknesses – and it’s only going to get more apparent when you start living together. He can’t be suave, sensitive and yet also be the same man who remembers to take out the trash every evening. So you’ll be in for some squabbles if you expect the impossible. Instead, make a conscious effort to be more accepting of your husband – simply because you love the man he is.

#2: Talk about everything under the sun

So you used to chat on the phone for hours. That’s definitely going to change after you’ve walked down the aisle. In fact, it won’t be long before the harsher realities of marriage set in. And it’s only natural that both of you start talking more about bread-and-butter issues like household bills and running errands for the in-laws. Before such daily tedium overwhelms your marriage, make it a point to connect with each other regularly as individuals. Talk about your day or listen to him share his thoughts about that book he’s been reading. Remember that your conversations shouldn’t always be about the house, work, the in-laws or the children.

#3: Be generous

When you’ve been together for a while, you might take your partner for granted without even realising it. But the key to a blissful marriage is to be generous to your spouse. It could be little courtesies like “Thanks for taking the kids to tuition tonight” or supportive phrases like “I know you can do it”. Or it could be surprising him with a nice dinner every now and then. And you shouldn’t need to wait till Valentine’s Day to do that. Such sweet gestures will serve to build a stronger, more loving marriage.

#4: Compromise, but don’t be calculative

Compromises can go a long way when it comes to making a marriage last. Like how he washes the dishes while you mop the floor. Or how he cleans up the dog poo while you do the laundry. But fights can arise even with such neat arrangements. If, for instance, he piles the dishes in the sink for a tad longer while he takes a shower first, cut him some slack (read: don’t start screaming about how inefficient he is). A long-lasting marriage is all about give and take. But at times, focus on the giving. If you know he’s tired from a stressful day at work (while you’ve been on leave), why not offer to do the dishes for a change? It’s all about showing your appreciation for your partner.

#5: Fight fair

It’s absolutely normal for a couple – married or otherwise – to bicker. The trick is to know how to argue effectively. For a start, never get physical (that means no plate-throwing, please). If there’s something you’re not happy about, attack the problem, never the person. Blaming your partner will not help matters. So avoid saying accusatory things like “You got us into this!” Instead, target the problem at hand. Try scheduling a “time out” when emotions run high. That way, you can resolve the conflict after calming down. And remember: You don’t always have to win every single fight. Many happily married couples actually make a pact not to go to bed if they’re still angry at each other.

#6: Have date nights

Many married couples get so burdened by the responsibilities of work and home that they neglect to keep the romance alive. If this continues, you will start seeing each other more as partners than lovers. And when the daily grind gets overwhelming, it’s only too easy for cracks to appear in the marriage. Consider scheduling date nights into your weekly routine. Commit to them no matter how busy you get. And remember that it’s not about which swanky restaurant you go to – it’s about spending quality time together.

#7: Keep your individuality

Just because you’re married doesn’t mean you should live like conjoined twins. It is still important to maintain a strong sense of self. There’s no need to do everything together. Take a closer look at the happy couples out there, and you might find that most continue to cultivate close friendships and lead active lives out of their marriages. When you have your own close friends and your own hobbies, you won’t cling onto his ankles (or have him constantly depend on you). Most crucially, you won’t ever feel that you’re being “trapped” within the confines of your marriage.

#8: Travel separately

Chances are: You will also be hankering for some time apart from each other at some point in your marriage. So if you’ve been dreaming of that spa holiday in Bali and he’s looking forward to a backpacking trip through Indochina, you don’t always have to compromise. Instead, why not travel separately? You can call those high-school girlfriends of yours, while he can go solo. And after weeks apart, you will realise that absence does make the heart grow fonder.

#9: Stay affectionate

As the years go by, you might shudder at how you used to indulge in Public Displays of Affection (PDA) on shopping mall escalators during your courtship days. But touch can still do wonders for your relationship – it can help the both of you achieve a deeper level of intimacy. So hold hands while you’re taking a walk or snuggle up to each other when you’re watching prime-time television. Tender, loving actions like a supportive hand on his shoulder when he’s rushing that work report on the computer can help to bring you closer.

#10: Grow together

One of the most beautiful things about marriage is that the both of you can grow old together. You will both change with time, through the highs and lows of life – whether it’s celebrating a work promotion, welcoming the arrival of a new child, or coping with the loss of a parent. It’s important to anticipate these life changes as a couple, and adapt accordingly. But more significantly, continue to create new experiences (pick up a new hobby, perhaps?) and build memories together. Growing as a couple can be the real secret to a happy and healthy marriage.