In order to avoid having a wasband or waswife, you do actually have to work on your marriage, spend time together and negotiate issues. A marriage is like a garden. You have to weed, compost, plant, water, and fuss over it.
Many people think, “I love him” or “I love her” and get married. From there on out, many couples do not put effort into keeping their marriage as wonderful as their courting. Who is putting work into their marriage? Are your friends? Are your co-workers?
I recommend you put premarital counseling on your wedding gift list. Why not start out with a very strong foundation, where you learn tools, skills, more about each other, and make sure all the topics of life are discussed ahead of time. Maybe you think that’s not necessary; I would posit that many more couples would avoid divorce by doing premarital counseling.
In the past, when people married and had kids to have people to work the farm or worked in factories, the idea of working on your relationship was not even considered. Everyone had their job to make sure the family had a roof over their heads and food on the table.
Even in the last 50 years, roles were entrenched. Women have worked long and hard for equality, and there is still a long way to go. In many marriages, even when the husband and wife work full time, the wife still ends up doing much more of the childcare, housework, etc. This is a recipe for resentment, and not a recipe for a happy marriage.
What does working on a relationship look like?
- Having your primary emotional relationship with your beloved.
- Seeking each other out for support, love, intimacy, sex, fun, etc.
- Discussing issues that arise by bringing love, your best intentions and great listening skills to your talks.
- Having each others’ backs; being each others’ champions.
- Making sure your relationships with kids are a close second to your primary relationship. Your relationship is the roof over your lives together.
- Protecting your partner from your parents when they are not behaving respectfully to your partner. Having healthy boundaries with in-laws.
- Spending time together, taking turns doing things the other enjoys.
- Doing your own thing, apart, and supporting each others’ growth.
- Weekly dates where you don’t talk about work or kids (take turns planning a date you enjoy).
- Learning the language of feelings, and how to express them.
- Using I statement vs. You statements (I feel unheard vs. You never listen to me); you’ll get a better response.
- Doing things for your beloved just because it makes him/her happy.
- Giving in the others’ Love Language. Take the
quiz online. (The quiz is lame, but the answers are useful.) You can get results without giving your email address.
- Spending time with people who support your marriage.
I had a voicemail from my husband today: a love song. It gave me a big smile, and feelings of love for him welled up. This is a small, lovely gesture that is part of working on our marriage.
I realize that this seems like a lot to do. But I assure you, it is a lot less to do, be aware of, and practice than what leads to divorce, the divorce itself, and the after-effects of divorce on you and your kids. Steep cost, divorce.