5 Tips for a Happy Marriage

August 16, 2012

in Naked Girl Has Guests, Relationships

Guest Writer

Are there any blogs you visit and consistently find yourself laughing? Hollow Tree Ventures is a perfect example of a site where you will enjoy the writing and are guaranteed to leave with a smile on your face. The talent behind the blog is Robyn, the multi-talented mother of five kids. I am so grateful she accepted my invitation to bring her humor here today. Robyn gives the best advice on how to stay happily married. After you read this, go visit Robyn on her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page, and of course, stalk her at Studio30 Plus.

~~~~~~~~~~

If there’s one thing I’m great at, prior divorce notwithstanding, 
it’s being married.

I know a lot of people say marriage requires a lot of work, but
 I’m not one of them.  Maintenance, maybe, but “work” makes 
it sound like an endless stream of constant drudgery, when in fact
 research suggests that a solid marriage is actually only 5% drudgery
 and 80% awesomeness, with a 15% margin of error to allow for how I 
feel about it when I’m PMSing.

So, as a long-awaited public service, I’ve collected my top
 Maintenance Tips For A Happy Marriage.  Follow these five guidelines,
and chances are at least 50/50 (or some other fraction) that your 
relationship will never require any of that pesky “work.”

1. Marry the right person
This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s astonishing how many people 
skip this step.

2. Communication
It’s all too easy to lose touch with our loved ones, especially if 
they’re not on Twitter for some reason or if the kids are making so
much noise you can’t hear yourself think.  If you’re feeling distant
 from your spouse, even after checking their latest Facebook status
 updates, I encourage you to address the issue right away.

For example, my husband and I were sitting on the couch one day, 
each silently absorbed in our Smart Phone screens.  Suddenly my phone
 beeped, letting me know he’d added a photo to Facebook, which was
 news to me even though he was only about two inches from my hip.


Me: I don’t like it very much that my phone knows more
about you than I do.


Gerry: Like what? What does your phone know?


Me: It knows… what you’re doing on your phone.

Then he laughed at me.  But the important thing was that I let him
 know I felt we were drifting apart, and, if someone happened to be 
watching through the window, it would have appeared that we were 
engaged in a pleasant conversation.  That’s half the battle.

3. Body Language and Thoughtful Gestures
On the subject of communication, let’s face it – sometimes it can
be easy to get your feelings hurt if you listen to the actual words
 that someone says.  Or you might go through a dry spell where it seems 
like ages since your spouse last paid you a compliment.

At these times, remember that the love in your relationship is
 often unspoken.  When he comes home with four gallons of ice cream, 
it’s his way of saying, “Baby, I think those extra 20 pounds are
 super sexy – don’t you change a thing.”  When he plops down on 
the couch and unceremoniously changes the channel from HGTV to ESPN,
 he’s saying, “Honey, you don’t need these decorating tips – the
 house looks great!”  And when she subsequently cuts him the side
eyes and leaves the room in an apparent huff, what she’s really 
thinking is, “That’s okay, dearest, I’ll use this bit of free 
time to eat some ice cream. And then I’ll help you combine your 
passions for athletics and recycled mulch by tossing all your sports
 equipment in the chipper shredder.”

If you look for it, the love is there.

4. Say Thank You
Also, look for reasons to be grateful for your spouse, and make
 sure to let them know they’re appreciated.  This makes them feel good, 
and inspires them to do more of the things you appreciate, which
 creates a self-perpetuating cycle of positive vibes.

If your spouse isn’t doing anything particularly noteworthy, you 
might have to dig for things to be grateful for at first.  Try these
words of praise to get started:

  • 
Thanks a lot for mouth-breathing
 less than usual.
  • 
It’s impressive how high you can
 get the trash to pile up without toppling before you take it
 outside.
  • 
Your efforts to get your filthy
 clothes within a five-foot radius of the hamper make doing your
 laundry a real treat.
  • I appreciate how you only belched audibly twice while we were
 out to dinner with my parents.

With encouragement like this, it won’t take your spouse long to
 get an idea of how much you cherish his or her contribution to the
partnership.

5. Hygiene
Sadly, it’s common for people to let themselves go after the 
wedding vows are wrapped up, especially once children enter the
equation.  I urge you to avoid this if at all possible – being married 
doesn’t give you a free pass to become utterly repulsive.  Refrain
from clipping your toenails on the couch.  Take the time to spritz on 
some body spray when you hit day four of being too exhausted to take 
a shower.  Shaving is a nice touch – try not to leave the entire 
bathroom peppered with your stubble.  The extra effort will go a long 
way toward keeping the spark in your marriage alive, or should at
 least reduce your spouse’s urge to smother you in your sleep.

If you can manage to keep all five of these tips in mind, or at 
least one or two of them if you’re on an long car trip with the 
children or you’re working on a home improvement project together
 (nobody expects you to be a saint), you have an excellent chance* of 
still liking each other by the time the kids move out and you
 eventually get to spend time as a couple again.


*Actual results may vary. Please be advised that I have no idea
 what I’m talking about.


{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

GREEN MONKEY August 16, 2012 at 8:43 am

Tomorrow is my 10 year anniversary. This is marriage number 3 for me. I’ve never gone more than 7. Nor has any member of my family unless you count my sister who says she’s gay and yet denies she and her lover have sex – so, I don’t count them.

I don’t know how I got here but I’m glad I did. I too strive to make uncomfortable situations funny. sometimes I succeed, other times I’m the only one laughing at myself (which beats tears).

My man of 10 years is excellent at gestures but sadly, he lacks communication skills. I’ve tried, believe me, I’ve tried. We did therapy. I even gave him a list of things to say and when to say them. I hate it when he has to look for his glasses, then find the list, then pick something to say.

So… I now have a mr. communication lover. He’s tall, handsome, 15 years younger and gay. He tells me everything he’s thinking. He reads everything I write. He praises my words, my brilliance, my god given talent and this fills the void of my super patient, non-communicative, faithful husband. Year 10, here I come!

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hollow tree ventures August 16, 2012 at 12:12 pm

How clever of you to find a set-up that works for you guys! No one is perfect, but maybe TWO someones combined are perfect, eh? 10 years is a big deal, so you’re obviously doing something (or, I’m sure, a lot of somethings) right – congrats!
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hollow tree ventures August 16, 2012 at 8:47 am

Thank you so much for having me here today, Kelly! I hope your readers enjoy the post – if not, please delete the contact info at the top and let us never speak of it again.
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Amanda@Werdyab August 16, 2012 at 11:03 am

They will love it! Great post!

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hollow tree ventures August 17, 2012 at 12:43 pm

Thanks! :D
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Sue - The Spin Cycle August 16, 2012 at 9:14 am

First, I love that the two of you are hanging out over here together. Sort of a yin & yang vibe you’ve got going on.

Secondly, I got all hung up on Tip #2. You see, my groom has no social media accounts whatsoever. How in the sam hill are we supposed to communicate effectively? *hangs head in defeat*
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hollow tree ventures August 16, 2012 at 12:19 pm

Don’t worry, Sue – even if you’re both all over the social media, it doesn’t always help. Once I was stranded upstairs under a sleeping baby without my phone, so I got on facebook on the computer to tell my husband I was thirsty in a status update. He’s always on fb and it was the only (quiet) way to ask him to bring me a drink, yet he CLAIMS he never saw it. I could have DIED! Okay, not really, but still – thanks for nothin’, facebook.
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just keep swimming August 16, 2012 at 9:42 am

If my husband ever brought home a pint of Ben & Jerry’s for me then I could be sure of his love. Could you e-mail him for me? He doesn’t text, even if he is sitting on the couch right next to me.
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hollow tree ventures August 16, 2012 at 12:20 pm

I’ll give him the hint – or maybe you could pass him a note while you’re sitting together on the couch. That’s like an old timey text. ;)
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susan August 16, 2012 at 9:48 am

the lack of social media compatibility is an increasing issue in my marriage. my husband actually used the phone other day to *actually* talk to me – sound came out of my phone y’all. after i recovered from the shock, i actually SPOKE to him in response.

him: how was your day?
me: didn’t you see all my twitter updates? the kids were crazy. can you believe that whole “steak stick” thing?
him: i don’t tweet.
me: silence
him: fill me in later. what’s for dinner.
me: so you didn’t see the photo i instagramed AND crossposted to Facebook?
him: i’ll be home in 30 minutes to eat whatever it is i didn’t see.

see what i mean?
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hollow tree ventures August 16, 2012 at 12:34 pm

Hahahaha! I love that conversation! It makes me want to quiz my husband to see if he’s reading my tweets. :)
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The Husband August 16, 2012 at 12:43 pm

You always said you loved my mouth-breathing. I’m starting to think maybe that was facetious.

I love this article/post, Baby. One complaint: I had to click an extra link to get here. WTH!?

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hollow tree ventures August 17, 2012 at 12:46 pm

Of course I love your mouth breathing, honey… ::coughs, giggles nervously:: Sorry about the extra click – glad to see you found your way over here without stopping to ask for directions.
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Lisa Arends August 16, 2012 at 7:32 pm

My marriage of ten years took no work. We were easily compatible in every way. It was too perfect. In fact, it was a mirage that was washed away in a tsunami divorce. My relationship now isn’t work, but it takes more attention. More effort. And it has its moments of frustration. I cherish those times and the reality they imply.
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hollow tree ventures August 17, 2012 at 12:49 pm

That’s very well said. My first marriage wasn’t work either, partly because there was no conflict – which was indicative of a lack of communication, no doubt. Now I’m sure to get things out in the open and resolved right away, and like you, it feels good to be fully participating in the reality of the relationship – the good and bad alike.
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Tom What August 17, 2012 at 1:03 am

This is seriously all true. Hygiene plays a vital role all the time. My wife would kill me if the toilet seat is not in it’s right place. LOL
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Christian at Point Counter-Point Point Point August 17, 2012 at 1:12 am

I hear you on the body language tip. My wife often kicks me in the ribs while I’m sleeping. She says it’s because I’m snoring but I know it’s because she can’t keep her hands off of me. Or I guess in this case she can’t keep her feet off of me.
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hollow tree ventures August 17, 2012 at 1:00 pm

Sounds like you have a rare condition known as Body Language Deafness. Ask your wife – I’m willing to bet she’d back me up on this one.
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@bluenotebacker August 17, 2012 at 10:21 am

I’ve got 3, 4, and 5 nailed down. 1 and 2 not so much. I think that’s why I’m divorced and single! She wasn’t the right one, obviously, but I got a pretty cool kid out of the deal. Then I thought I found the right one, again, but she wasn’t it either. Funny how important that first thing is!
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Naked Girl in a Dress August 17, 2012 at 11:10 am

Without succeeding with #1, the rest is really irrelevant, isn’t it? I am stuck on #1 as well.

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hollow tree ventures August 17, 2012 at 1:05 pm

For sure, #1 is key. The trouble is that so many different people can wear that Right Person disguise for juuuust long enough to get us hooked. Maybe sometimes you don’t know until 50 years pass and you say, “Huh, looks like you were the right one after all.” I didn’t know my husband was the one until we’d already been friends for 10+ years – but once I fuigured it out, I was sure. :)
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Tracy August 17, 2012 at 10:38 am

Yeah, I always get confused when people say marriage is work. I already have a job, and I’m not interested in working a second job without pay, so any marriage of mine better not be work or it’s not going to last long.

I think the key is your number 1–marry the right person. I think a lot of people end up marrying the person who is willing to marry them. Happily, in my case, these two people were the same person.

Since I started my blog, our communication often consists of me writing and then his reading. So much easier than walking to the room he’s in and talking to him.
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hollow tree ventures August 17, 2012 at 1:08 pm

Too true – some people hit a certain age or stage of their life, and whoever they’re dating at the time becomes the spouse. Or, like you said, they marry whoever wants to marry *them* when the time comes – so glad to hear yours was the right one. :)

And I agree – a spouse reading your blog covers a whole lot of communication ground!
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Lonesome Jackalope August 17, 2012 at 11:50 am

Damn. Missed it on number one. Well, that about sums it up for me.

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Naked Girl in a Dress August 17, 2012 at 12:37 pm

Me too, Jack, me too. Seem to also not be able to get it right on the dating scene as well.

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hollow tree ventures August 17, 2012 at 1:10 pm

But if you can get that #1 right, it’s worth the wait…
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Brook L. Dame August 17, 2012 at 2:32 pm

Great post! It’s the simple stuff that slips first, and it’s the most difficult to re-establish. I agree; there’s a big difference between “working” at a relationship vs. “maintaining” it.
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