It seems that for many people, the key to greater happiness in marriage is dependent on things or situations. Do you ever think to yourself, "Our marriage will be happier when we have a bigger home; when his job pays more; when we pay off some bills; when the kids get older; when my spouse stops ... "? The possibilities for more happiness later seem endless. But there is a way to have a happier marriage now — you just have to be willing to think a little differently.
A lot of things in life just are what they are, and you can get rid of a lot of unhappiness if you stop giving them the power to make you either happy or unhappy. Most of us don't own our dream home, drive our dream car or have perfectly behaved children. Jobs are full of problems, people can hurt each other and everyone has challenges of some form. The trick is to be happy in spite of those things. One approach is to tell yourself, "It is what it is," and then deal with it without allowing it to dictate your happiness level. Your happiness has a lot to do with the way you think and react to situations. It is always better to spend time thinking about what's right with your life and with your spouse than it is to dwell on the negative. Optimism within marriage, and in every facet of life, will always lead to more happiness.
Reset your expectations
People are not perfect, but sometimes we fall in love, get married and then forget what made us fall in love in the first place. Sooner or later, we all get to see our spouse on a bad day. You may not like the way your spouse eats certain foods or the way he or she leaves dirty laundry lying around. You might not like his messes or favorite pastime. Your spouse might gain weight. You won't always agree with her choice of words or actions. It's certain that at some point, your spouse will annoy you. Realize that neither one of you is perfect, and you both make mistakes. Do your best to see those qualities you have always loved in your spouse.
Practice acceptance and forgiveness
We all want acceptance in life. We want to believe that others will continue to love us even when we make mistakes. Refusing to accept others as they are, and even refusing to accept ourselves, only leads to unhappiness. In marriage, being willing to accept the other person, whole-heartedly, as they are, and extend forgiveness when you've been hurt is a powerful force for good. If you go into a marriage expecting to change the other person and somehow make them into what you want them to be, you should probably not be marrying that person.
Love is an action word. If you want to be happier in marriage, loving your spouse and then putting that love into action will bring more happiness to both of you. A simple thing is to be observant. Think about the little things that your spouse appreciates and try to do those things. Chances are, you will soon find your spouse doing the same for you.
Create more happiness in your marriage relationship, not by changing your spouse or your situation, but through shifting your thinking to include genuine acceptance and love in action.
Christine Sedlacek earned a bachelor of arts degree in English from the University of Utah. She has been writing professionally since 2008. Her articles have appeared in the Deseret News print and online, KSL.com, and other internet sites.