Finding someone and getting married is the easy part. Keeping that marriage going year after year, after year, is the hard part. However, doing so is not impossible if both parties are willing to work together at it.
Following the guidelines below can help any and every marriage move from stagnant and just coping into something exemplary and begrudged by others.
1. Let the past be the past, but…
Whatever lives you both lived in the past, especially before meeting your partner, let it remain in the past. Remember you both had lives before you met. However, if here are things from your past that can and will affect your marriage these MUST be discussed, preferably prior to saying “I do”. If you did not discuss this for one reason or another ensure you do so as soon as possible and certainly before your spouse finds out. This include having an outside child, having a long term shared loan with an ex, having a mortgage or cosigning for your ex’s home, car, etc. Having your wife or husband find these very important details out on their own will automatically kill the trust between the two of you no matter what the reasons for not disclosing are.
2. Adjust your Facebook profile to say Married – not single or complicated
If this is not done you are only leaving yourself open to advances from just about anyone and who knows… you may forget your status and encourage a fling or two!
3. If stepchildren are involved.
If stepchildren are involved ensure that all the plans you make with their biological mom or dad are discussed with your partner to eliminate any doubt. If you are meeting your child’s mother/father either take your spouse along or explain in detail the reason for such a meeting. If this is not done it can result in serious suspicions, which again can lead to mistrust and disaster.
4. Stick to the plan.
If you have made plans together to do something that will affect the family, for example deciding on the type of vehicle you will purchase, stick with the plan. If you return with a Ford station wagon rather than a Lexus sedan, your partner will believe you do not value their opinion. If you have reasons to change your mind even while at the dealership, call your partner and let him/her in on the decision while asking their opinion.
5. Don’t be friends with your ex.
If it makes your spouse uncomfortable, don’t be friends with your exes. It is important to remember who you are married to and why your exes are just that – exes. No one else should be placed above your partner, especially if he /she has legitimate reasons to question your relationship with your ex.
6. Discuss important matters.
Important plans like finances and how both your money should be spent must be discussed with each other. A number of marriages have fallen apart because of selfish greed and one or both persons deciding to do what they wanted to do with ‘my money’ rather than agreeing together. If you are supporting an outside child, every cent given to that child’s parent must be discussed with your partner.
7. Leave no room for suspicions.
Suspicions can kill a marriage. This is especially true if your relationship is recovering from cheating or lies. Therefore, you must ensure that you are transparent with your partner at ALL times. Example, never have secret discussions on your cell phones. Always ensure that your tone is loud enough for your partner to hear your end of the conversation. Answering in one syllable does not help! Also, do not under any circumstances lock yourself away in the bathroom with your cell phone, even if it is your comfort to browse the internet while doing number 2. Your partner may not believe your explanation. Trust must be reestablished first and foremost.
8. Be transparent.
If your ex texts or calls, be transparent with your spouse. Tell or show your spouse what the discussion was about. This will help to rebuild lost trust.
9. Do everything together.
Let the world see you as a couple. So go out together lots! Post pictures of both of you on your Facebook page. Spend time to comment on a few of his/her pictures. Watch movies together, play together lots, etc. This will not only pull the two of you closer but will make cheating or the temptation to do so less likely.
10. Place no one else above your partner.
Remember marriage is about ‘forsaking all else’. Let your partner feel that you have their back at all times and in all situations – no matter what.
11. Do not cheat.
If you cheated and your partner decides to forgive and continue with you, you have to be open and honest at all times in order to rebuild broken trust and a damaged relationship. Do not make the same mistake twice. There may not be any coming back.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of BUZZ or its employees.