Our (not exactly scientific, but trusted) keys to marriage success

Billy and I have been married for over four years now, and together for seven. It’s tough to really define success in marriage, but having met several single people with misophonia and other couples too, I think maintaining a relationship for nearly a decade (well, I guess we still have a way to go yet) is sort of the definition for us. While this doesn’t mean we’re experts, we’ve learned a lot about what it means to be happy in a marriage where there are more trials than we have fingers and toes to count. I know we have a lot to learn still, but here are some of the things we try to practice regularly that do make a real difference in the progress of our marriage.

Openness

Being truthful and honest with your mate is a given, but telling the truth and being open are two different things. For me, being open means sharing how I feel when I feel it. It means not bottling things up, even if I know they may be hurtful in the moment. It also means sharing constructive criticism rather than hoping something will change and, above all else, never hiding misophonia. Don’t get me wrong, I tried. But after seeing what misophonia had done to my other relationships, and knowing how much better Billy and I already were compared to those, I decided to let him in on my struggles only a month after we starting dating. I’m so glad I did.

It’s also been ridiculously hard these last two years together now that we’re officially infertile, and this means I share my breakdowns too. I can’t control my breakdowns or my depression, and if I tried I know I’d be a worse person to my husband. Sharing means never having to hide from your spouse, and the comfort I find in that makes being married so worth it.

Share responsibilities

If you’ve read through any of Billy’s other posts, you’ve probably concluded that I’m a lucky girl. He truly has a servant heart and always puts my needs and wants over his. When we were dating and first married, I took advantage of this treatment. It strained Billy, and I realized it wasn’t fair for me to pull my own weight. I realized that if I were in his shoes, I would eventually become resentful—so we’ve worked out a compromise that allows us to share household chores.

Now, this isn’t easy. If you’re a normal person, daily life gets in the way all the time. But, knowing you have a partner and that you are a partner in getting the small things done can really add up in a good way.

Validating

Sometimes, I feel like the way I act when I’m depressed or angry makes me a crazy person. Even so, I really can’t control the way I feel. Billy’s not perfect, but he tries hard to make sure he respects the way I feel, even if he struggles to understand why I feel the way I do. In a relationships, it’s really important to make sure to remember that each partner has a right to feel how they feel. It’s also okay to talk about those feelings when everyone has calmed down—doing so will help you understand one another better.

Willingness to say sorry

I get angry a lot. 80 percent of the time it’s because I’m already irritated by certain triggers. When I get upset, I just blow up and it’s not pretty. Of course, as soon as I’ve let it all out I immediately regret all the things I said and the way I said them. And while the best solution is to just not get upset (which I’m working on), I have to accept that I make mistakes. And I have to admit I made those mistakes. Being able to say you’re sorry isn’t easy, and it’s even harder to be the first one to do it. But I always try to tell Billy as soon as I realize my mistake.

No grudges

I hold grudges with others—but I can’t do that with my husband. When a fight is over and resolved, we move on and don’t look back.

What advice do you have for finding success in your relationships?

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