Ok, so this post is a little more personal than I would normally get, but I feel extremely fortunate to have such a great relationship with my wife, so I wanted to share some of the way’s we’ve been able to keep each other so happy. Every relationship is different, so all of these may not apply to everyone, but I think these are some of the most impactful reasons we’ve been able to keep each other happy over the last 11 years.
1. Don’t Try To Change Them
People can improve and people can change, but that’s only when the motivation to change comes from themselves. You need to let each other be who they naturally are. Lee and I are able to be our complete – sometimes I’m sure annoying – selves around each other, and it makes life so much easier. I’ve seen other couples who have tried to change each other, and I’ve seen the resentment that grows out of it. Just be yourself and let your partner be themselves to.
2. Let Them Follow Their Passion
My wife and I have followed fairly nontraditional paths in starting our own companies, and I think we’ve been happier for it. Starting new companies is never an instant success, sometimes it’s a complete failure. Through it all, Lee has stuck by my side and allowed me to follow my passion. I know I wouldn’t be the same person I am today without someone as supportive and positive as her by my side.
3. Don’t Be Jealous
When I was younger I fell into the trap of being protective and jealous. It took me a while to learn that if someone is not good for you and is going to break your trust, anything you do will only delay it, not stop it from happening. It’s much better to give people complete trust and see what they do with it. You get to see their true colors much faster and find out if they are someone you really want to stay with.
4. Spend Enough Time With Them
An important part of keeping our relationship as healthy as it is because we spend a lot of time together. I came very close to taking a consulting job in New York City, and I’m very thankful I didn’t. I’m not sure how well our relationship would have survived only seeing each other on the weekends.
There’s something about spending a lot of time together that lets you really know how each other are feeling and how certain things are impacting each other. You can’t fix something you’re not aware of, which brings me to my next point.
5. Bring It Out Into The Open
If you feel something dwelling beneath the surface that’s causing one of you to be unhappy, talk about it. I’ve found that when you let problems continue without talking about them, they grow exponentially. It’s much easier to blow off small amounts of steam than face an unexpected explosion.
6. Don’t Let Money Complicate Things
There are studies that claim that arguing about money is a top predictor of divorce and that finances are the leading cause of stress in a relationship. If you’re having money problems, make sure you’re able to separate your unhappiness about the money from how you feel about your partner. Money problems are usually a short-term situation, and if you can weather the storm with your partner, you’ll be that much stronger.
Lee and I have been through periods of financial success, and a period when we had to move back in with our parents. Having been through both extremes with Lee, it lets me know that we can make it through whatever else life throws at us.
Obviously there are many more factors that contribute to a happy marriage. Are there any that you’ve found have been helpful?