20 Key Ideas For a Happy Marriage
1. Keep your mind on your main goal, which is to have a happy marriage. Say and do what will enable you and your spouse to have a happy marriage. Avoid the opposite. Everything else is commentary.
2. Keep asking yourselves, What can we do to have a happy, loving atmosphere in our home?
3. Focus on giving, rather than taking. Say and do as many things as possible to meet your spouses needs.
4. Keep doing and saying things that will give your spouse a sense of importance.
5. Frequently ask yourself, What positive things can I say and do to put my (husband or wife) in a positive emotional state?
6. Before speaking, clarify the outcome you want. The meaning of your communication is the response you actually get. If the first thing you say is not achieving your goal, change your approach. Remember that mutual respect and happiness is your real goal. Do not needlessly argue. Silence is often the wisest choice. Constantly be mutually respectful.
7. Show appreciation and gratitude in as many ways as possible. Say something appreciative a few times a day.
8. Be a good listener. Understand your spouse from his or her point of view.
9. Be considerate of the feelings and needs of your spouse. Think of ways that you have lacked consideration and be resolved to increase your level of consideration.
10. Instead of blaming and complaining think of positive ways to motivate your spouse. If your first strategies are not effective, think of creative ways.
11. Give up unrealistic expectations. Do not expect your spouse to be perfect and do not make comparisons.
12. Do not cause pain with words. If your spouse speaks to you in ways that cause you pain, choose outcome wording, Lets speak to each other in ways that are mutually respectful.
13. Be willing to compromise. Be willing to do something you would rather not do in return for similar behavior from your spouse.
14. Write a list of ways that you have benefited from being married to your spouse. Keep adding to the list and reread it frequently.
15. Write a list of your spouses positive patterns and qualities. Keep adding to the list and read it frequently.
16. Keep thinking about what you can do to bring out the best qualities of your spouse. Reinforce those qualities with words and action.
17. Focus on finding solutions to any problems that arise. Be solution oriented. Do not just blame and complain. Do not focus on who is more wrong. For a happy marriage, work together to find mutually acceptable solutions.
18. Remember your finest moments. What did you say and do when you felt best about each other? Increase them.
19. Look for positive activities you can do together.
20. Live in the present. What went wrong in the past is the past. You create the present and future with your thoughts, words, and actions right now. Choose them wisely.
© Rabbi Zelig Pliskin [based on “Marriage” by Rabbi Z.Pliskin]