In approaching this Babywise Network "Tips and Tricks" day on marriage, I felt a little silly. I mean, we've been married for just about 5.5 years, so we're still very much in the beginnings of this whole thing. While offering advice on marriage would feel weird, telling you some small things that have worked for us doesn't. We know what keeps things flowing smoothly in our home and what causes immediate misunderstanding, miscommunication, and frustration. (Clarification: This doesn't mean we always DO what we know works.)
This is certainly not an exhaustive list of everything we've learned while being married to each other. However, these were the things that came to the forefront of my mind.
1. LOOK EACH OTHER IN THE EYES
This may seem kind of "Duh!" but it's really not. With TVs and iPhones sucking our focus away from each other, we have to be really careful when one of us starts to talk. The speaker feels most valued when the other has his/her full attention. And that includes eye contact.
2. GREET WHEN COMING HOME
This one is mainly important to Colt simply because I am pretty much always at home. When he walks in the door, it's important for me to stand up/stop what I'm doing, say hi, and give him a hug. This isn't like a weird 1950's housewife thing. It's just an easy way I can express to Colt, "Hey, I see you and I appreciate you. Thanks for your hard work today and I'm really glad you're home."
3. ASK GOOD QUESTIONS
I loved this post by Momastery about this very thing. Asking good questions about each others' days is really important. "How was your day?" is basically begging for a boring, one or two word response. "What was the best part of your day?" is way better. We learn more about each other by doing this.
4. DON'T BE A FIXER
I feel like this is more of a girl thing, but Colt has learned that I do NOT want a fix to my problems. Sometimes I just want to vent. I want someone to listen and say, "Man, that's terrible!" not, "Well, here's what you can do ..." Holding off on all things advice-related is probably always a good idea unless the other person asks for it.
5. DON'T BE PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE
If I want help or want Colt to do something, I need to ask. No passive aggressive stuff. Colt immediately sees through comments like, "Man, it'd be nice if we could get such-and-such done tonight." He'd much rather me just flat out ask for help rather than make him guess.
6. FOCUS ON SERVING, NOT ON BEING SERVED
This is the hardest one. When we least expect it, we suddenly hit the I-just-can't-serve-you-anymore-because-you're-not-serving-me wall. This results in a conversation about why we feel this way and how we feel we could better serve/be served. It's not a fun thing to work on because someone has to go first. Someone has to serve first. But working through it and talking about it is always worth it.
What about you married folks out there? What makes your marriage a success?
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