Due to recent circumstances I am behind on my Finding Happiness Project, however, better late than never. 🙂 My Finding Happiness Project is based upon my experience with The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. Side note: if you have not read the book go order it now, it is great! Each month I write about how her principles either worked or did not work for me and the month of February is all about love! Here are 5 ways to bring happiness into your marriage.
Let me first say, nagging does NOT work. Any one who tries to tell you that nagging works is kidding themselves. Nagging creates tension, resentment, bitterness and a lot of other negative feelings that you really do not want to invite into your marriage. I personally have to constantly remind myself where the line is between nagging and accountability. It is very easy to convince myself that the 20 reminders a day to Michael about cleaning the kitchen is simply “accountability” however THAT is nagging. Because this is something I struggle with, Michael and I are open about it. I ask him to let me know ways I can help remind him of things and he gentle lets me know when I have gone too far.
DON’T EXPECT PRAISE/APPRECIATION
When I first read this section, I thought this one is not fun. I thought to myself, “Michael should be giving me words of affirmation all the time”. As I continued to read, I realized I missed Gretchen’s point all together. Her point was not to EXPECT it, whereas, words of affirmation is something that I NEED from Michael within our marriage. That would fall more into The Five Love Languages which is a completely different can of worms. If praise and appreciation is something that you need from your partner than that is a separate conversation that you need to have with him/her. What Gretchen was trying to say, was not to expect praise in terms of it being owed. When you have expectations that have not been communicated you will be disappointed.
Fighting right is very important. In marriage, fighting is inevitable. It WILL happen and if it has not happened yet…give it time. When fighting with your significant other it is so important to fight right. Do not bring up old stuff, once it has happened and is solved leave it be. Another one that makes fighting worse, is being the “one upper”. Do NOT be the person who has to have it worst. Arguing with someone who tries to one up you is not fun. Not only have I argued with someone like that but I have been that person. You cannot reason with someone like that and things do not get solved. When you fight right you are addressing the issue at hand, honestly listening to the other person, and extending grace.
I was very intentional about applying this principle this past month, and in result Michael and I have really listened to each other, WANTED to solve issues instead of avoiding, and have grown closer to each other.
This principle is so simple and yet I completely overlooked it. The example Gretchen uses in the book is she gets a letter from their credit card company informing them that their card has cancelled. After reading the letter she has two options, show it to her husband all upset therefore ruining his day OR calmly resolving the issue and then letting her husband know that they have a new credit card. The correct response is, of course, option two. If I was having one of the best days ever and Michael came up to me all flustered about a problem that was easy to fix I would then be upset at him for ruining my day. Now, when I have a problem, I take a deep breath and decide if it is something I can handle on my own or if I need to calmly ask Michael for his help. I love that this principle is an easy one to help encourage better days than bad!
GIVE PROOFS OF LOVE
I LOVE this one! Giving proofs of love is basically spoiling the one you love. That could be verbal, physical, gifts, etc. I really enjoy spoiling Michael so this one was easy for me. The more proofs I gave the better he felt which boosted his ego, and that is a GOOD thing. I have noticed with Michael the more I spoil him, the more “manly” he feels and the more “manly” he feels the more he wants to either impress me or spoil me! So really it is a WIN WIN!
My goal within my marriage is to always strive to be better and these principles have really helped me achieve that. Now, I am not saying that these five principles are the cure-all to a bad marriage. Marriage is complex and difficult and is not fixed with a few ideas, however, these concepts have the potential to help you become a better spouse.
How do you bring happiness into your marriage? Let me know in the comments below!
SAVE FOR LATER!