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What is the secret to a happy marriage?
Are you married, engaged, divorced, or single? Whatever your situation may be, you know how trying a relationship is. The truth is, every relationship is different, and how it will succeed or fail will almost different.
I have only been married for three years, but it almost feels like a decade. We have overcome contentious co-parenting relationships with my stepchildren's mothers, court battles, hospital visits, loss of a loved ones, sickness, health, financial struggles, to name a few obstacles. Each situation has brought us closer together, yet in that moment in time, it felt like it would tear us apart.
So, what is my secret?
Love. Love is my secret. Now, I don't mean the sappy, romantic love you hear about in the movies or read about in the best-selling novels. I am talking about the love that brings commitment, devotion, faithfulness, and patience.
Perhaps you say you love your spouse, but is it enough? Well, let me break it down for you, and maybe, after you're done reading this article, you will find the secret to a happy marriage.
If you truly love your spouse, you will show it. Everyone's love language is different, but there are many similarities in how we all communicate. (If you don't know what your love language is or what your partner's is this book really helped me: The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts. You can find the link below.)
1. Communicate daily.
When I say communicate, I don't mean via text or phone. You need to have face to face conversations with your spouse. While you're laying in bed before falling asleep, ask them what they are thinking, ask them what they want out of life, or you can also go as far as asking them what their greatest fear is. Try to ask open-ended questions, so that the conversation really flows.
Don't be afraid to open up to your spouse. Let the conversation take its course. Tell them what your deepest thoughts are and what your greatest fears are.
Sometimes my husband and I have stayed up for a couple of hours just talking, and crying together, and those are the moments that have brought happiness to our marriage. We have instilled trust in each other throughout those conversations.
This is its own category on its own. There will be times when you need to really listen or read in between the lines to know what is going on with your significant other.
It's not always easy to listen. There have been moments when it hurts to listen to the words being said, because the words point out our greatest faults. If we truly take the time to listen, we will also be able to understand our spouse better.
My husband is not one to beat around the bush when handing out criticism, and he rarely feels like he is wrong for being so blunt. Yet, that is what has helped us grow. I have had to learn how he communicates and embrace it, while also, taking his advice and putting in play. He, too, has had to listen to me many times. There are days when I unintentionally make him feel like he's doing everything wrong, but he has taken that criticism and made himself a better man.
After being with someone for so long, it can become almost awkward to flirt with each other. It can be overwhelming to try to feel "sexy," especially after having children, but just know that what you are insecure about, is most likely what your significant other loves about you.
Touch each other. Hold hands. Kiss passionately. Remind your spouse they are sexy and attractive. Keep that flame burning between the two of you.
There was a time that I was extremely insecure. After having experienced an abusive relationship in my past, my confidence was lacking greatly. Slowly, I built myself back up, and of the things that I will always carry with that my husband told me was that "confidence is sexy." It's true and it goes for everyone. You rarely will feel attracted to someone who is constantly insecure. In contrast, we typically gravitate towards individuals that are sure of themselves.
So go home and communicate with, listen to, and flirt with your spouse. Remember to not take yourself too seriously and that life is gone in a fleeting blink of eye. Embrace the little moments and enjoy your marriage.