Marriage isn’t easy. You have to work at it. You’re not always going to see eye-to-eye. But there are some strategies you can employ to make it easier to succeed.
Housework has got to be done (unless you’re rich enough or have a robot), but it doesn’t have to be split 50/50. If it is, then there’s the risk of totting up scores, with consequent resentment.
It’s better if each of you chooses areas of competence. Usually in our house, my wife shops, does the school run and cooks; I tend to wash up, do the ironing and mow the lawn. Some weeks I probably do more than my wife; most weeks she does more.
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It’s not always the way that both of you are ready for sex at the same time. However, if one of you is, the other should make an effort to go along with it (of course, there can be exceptions). It may well be fun and even healthy; at the very least, your partner will not have to suffer frustration.
If this you regularly disagree on this, do discuss it (and, if necessary, seek counselling).
Rows are part and parcel of relationships. They are not pleasant, but they do help you to take stock of situations. As long as you can compromise and find suitable solutions, arguments can be healthy and even productive.
Try and respect your partner throughout, but, even though going to bed angry is not generally recommended, sometimes it is better to sleep on it, and then return to the fray refreshed (rather than tired and tetchy), and better able to find an acceptable solution.
One mistake that can put stress on a marriage is assuming that your partner knows what may be obvious to you. It may be clear to anyone with half a brain that the lawn needs mowing or the dog needs exercising or that you need a kiss; but your partner may have other preoccupations, and if you haven’t communicated what you want, it’s probably not really their fault.
Little gestures (such as a hug or suggesting your partner has an evening out with their friends, for example) can be valuable, but are easy to put off. Don’t – a little consideration and appreciation (which is what these things are) go a long way and can help cement a marriage.
Be prepared to make small changes
It can be surprising how beneficial it may be to make relatively small changes that can improve situations. Getting a dishwasher may make quite a difference; organizing a babysitter so you can both have an hour in the pub can constitute a valuable escape; exchanging domestic roles briefly may be refreshing (and help you realise what your partner actually contributes).
So something to think about – which is always worthwhile, if it improves your marriage.
Michael Gordon can help prepare and conduct a tailor-made civil ceremony in London, elsewhere in the UK or Europe.