Five keys to a happier marriage
- Make your marriage your #1 priority. Your marriage should be more important to you than advancing your career, increasing your wealth, beautifying your home, enjoying your pastimes, having fun with your friends or even volunteering at your church. The quality of your life is the quality of your relationships, and your most important relationship is the one with your spouse.
- Suffer well and regularly. Die to yourself, every day and unconditionally, that is, even if your spouse is not. Here’s one example: Never pass up a good opportunity to keep your mouth shut. However delicious the hurtful words on the tip of your tongue might taste, hold them back for the love of God and your spouse. Your marriage will be blessed. This doesn’t mean being a doormat. You might also need to …
- Learn how to communicate better. For some people, communicating effectively is easy. For the rest of us, help is available. Sometimes a therapist is needed, but in many cases it’s just a matter of relearning. Try reading a book such as The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate. Successful professionals never stop learning. Be a professional about your marriage.
- Ditch the porn. Jesus warned, “You have heard it said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Mt 5:27-28). Pornography has become normalized, but it remains a gravely sinful form of adultery. Moreover, it corrodes intimacy and destroys marriages. Getting rid of it will improve your marriage.
- Be grateful. Research in positive psychology shows that people are not so much grateful because they are happy as they are happy because they are grateful. Likewise, the happiest marriages are those in which the spouses, regardless of their fleeting feelings, habitually express gratitude to God and to one another. They live the wisdom of a prayer offered by every priest at every Mass: “We do well always and everywhere to give you thanks.”