Secrets to a Happy Marriage

Happy July 12th! :mrgreen:

It’s our wedding anniversary today! Three years! Wahoo! We’ve made it longer than most celebrity couples!

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Back around the holidays, I stumbled upon a nice article in Real Simple about secrets to a happy marriage. In it, Real Simple readers share the little things that keep their marriages strong, many of which made me smile and really resonated with me. In fact, I even cut out a couple of them to hang on the bulletin board in my office. Here are my favorite secrets to a happy marriage:

Rules of the Game

Knowing the grass isn’t greener on the other side. My husband and I married a bit later than the average couple, and by then we had both had plenty of time to “sow our oats.” We truly love one another and never wonder “what if,” mainly because we’ve been there and done that. We know we want to be together, without question.

My father asked me this same question when I was in college. Full of know-it-all, psychology-major cockiness, I answered, “Love and trust.” “Wrong,” he said. Stumped, I followed up with “Communication.” Wrong again. His answer: sex and money. If a couple can’t get those two things right, then they’re not going to be happy. After eight years of marriage, my husband still chases me around the house, and courting expenses are built into the budget.

The Fun House

My husband and I have a strict rule: Never argue with your clothes on. If we are out and about to fight, we know that we have to wait until we’re home and undressed. By then we’ve usually forgotten what the trouble was about.

Something to Talk About

National Public Radio! My husband and I spend a lot of time during the week driving in separate cars. We both listen to NPR. At the end of the day, when we are done talking about work, one of us will say, “Did you hear the piece about”¦?” It’s nice to have so much to discuss.

The key to a happy marriage is speaking the same language. My husband and I both speak sarcasm fluently.

In Brief

Kissing every day, even when you don’t feel like it.

I once asked an elderly neighbor this very same question. He and his wife had been married more than 50 years. He replied, “Oh, my dear, it’s really very simple. My wife and I agreed long ago that I’d make all the big decisions and she’d make all the little decisions. And in all these years together, there just haven’t been any big decisions.”

Breakfast

Mmm”¦ really good oatmeal pancake this morning! I actually licked my plate clean. I added ground flaxseed meal to the mix and then topped my pancake with a thick layer of almond butter and maple syrup. Love.

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So, I finally figured out how to cook perfect oatmeal pancakes. I used to burn them all of the time, but I finally nailed down my technique. Here’s what you do: mix up the batter, turn the heat on your fry pan to medium (not high!), coat it with nonstick cooking spray, and then wait three or four minutes for it to heat up. Then, pour the batter in the pan, spread evenly with a spoon, and then wait for the pancake to fluff-up before you flip it. It swear, it works like a charm.

Ok, so maybe you guys already know how to cook. I guess I’m just not patient when it comes to cooking. Usually, I burn my oatmeal pancake and make a mess in my kitchen because I fly through each step. I’m just glad that I finally figured it out!

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BIC Bands

Remember when I blogged about BIC Bands last month? BIC Bands are fun headbands that stay in place and help others at the same time. (A portion of the proceeds go to organizations like Team In Training and Back on My Feet). Today, I’ve teamed up with BIC Bands and OpenSky to offer a sweet 3-pack bundle!

It’s been so hot and humid lately, I’ve been rocking BIC Bands day and night. They’re super cute for everyday wear and stay put on my runs”” even better than Bondi Bands! They really don’t slip at all. Maybe I just have a small head?

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Question of the Day

What are your secrets to a happy marriage/relationship?

P.S. I’m hosting a baseball-inspired giveaway on Trading Up Downtown!

158 Comments

  1. I love these tips! I’m getting married in September and we’ve already discussed our finance plan down to the last dollar. It feels so good to be on the same page about that.

    The older gentleman’s quote is awesome!

  2. I’m 30 and not married and don’t think of getting married in your late 20s as older! Maybe that’s just San Francisco for you, I literally have no close friends that are married either! Guess we marry later out here!

  3. Happy anniversary! Love the advice – I agree that sex and money are important to be on the same page about!

    I think it’s important to make your marriage your #1 priority above all else! Always put the other persons needs before your own too!

  4. Happy anniversary! Funny enough, my boyfriend and I have our dating anniversary (2 years) today as well! We keep it together by giggling a lot, having alone time when we need it, and always telling each other I love you when we go to sleep. 🙂

  5. Haha love the only arguing while undressed, that’s such a good idea, it would save so many silly fights about stuff like where to go for dinner. 🙂

  6. As a newlywed of 9 days 🙂 I appreciate the article. Very cute tips and will definitely keep some of them in mind 😉 On another note, I love these headbands. I think a purchase is in my future.

  7. I did a whole post on my thoughts about it for my 10 year anniversary. I love everything you wrote!

    “Never argue with your clothes on. “– ahh that is so good!

    Forgiveness, not sweating the small stuff, communication, letting each other have time/hobbies/stuff that doesnt pertain to coupledom, basically having some of your own interests, trust, respect, honesty…all of it is important.

    And I agree about sex and money. And throw in their religion and kids and inlaws. If something doesnt jive properly with all of those topics, it can make for a hard road!

  8. Happy anniversary! My husband and I recently celebrated three years of marriage, too. Such fun!

    I love your tips on maintaining a healthy marriage. My tip? Have fun together by getting out there and doing something… anything. My husband and I train for marathons and tris together; going through the same ups and downs of training really brings us closer.

  9. Love this post and agree with all the tips…definitely the sex and money, so true! I’ve been with my husband for 8 years, married 3, and we still got the hots for each other and are on the same page with money. I also think communication, laughter, and not sweating the small stuff are key 🙂

  10. Happy Anniversary! You’re both too adorable.

    My husband and I will be celebrating our 10th anniversary next month, which is crazy. It does not feel like it’s been that long.

    So I thought, surely I must have some wisdom on marriage?? But what I wanted to mention is the piece of advice I think couples should IGNORE. We heard it all the time, in the beginning of our marriage: “Never go to bed angry”. And over the years, I’ve come to realize that this is a crap piece of advice.

    When you’re disagreeing/fighting/arguing and it’s getting late, like close to bedtime or beyond, things have a way of spiralling downwards. You both get tired and increasingly frustrated, and all embroiled in whatever (usually silly or insignificant) thing that started it all in the first place. If you doggedly believe you have to resolve things before you go to bed, it could take all night, and it still might not happen! Better: go to bed, get a good night’s sleep…and in the clear light of morning, you’ll both have a fresh perspective. Whenever we do this, we both usually feel a little sheepish in the morning, that we got so angry over such a trivial thing, that the fight really wasn’t that important anyway….or, if it was an important issue, we now have clear heads to sort out a viable solution.

    Anyway, I’m not sure if that’s why we’ve made it to 10 years, but I’m sure it’s helped!

    Congrats, again!

  11. My tip? I borrowed it from my mom…she says marriage is “always looking forward in the same direction” and I think that applies to all of the above, on money, sex, dreams, life. My husband is a Marine, so we have to work really hard at communication, because there are some months where we don’t get to talk or see one another at all. However that is when we write letters, the old-fashioned cramp-the-hand sort of letters. We are each other’s best friend also. Whenever he returns from deployments (or even a day at work) I’ve missed him…romantically, but then also just as my fave buddy to hang out with. At the end of it all, he is my companion, and we are loving this journey of life together.

  12. I am not sure if I have any secrets as I am not married yet but have been dating the man of my dreams for 9 years and now we are getting married 🙂 I would say being patient with one another, being honest, and talking about things are important.

  13. I’m happily single, but have been in many relationships that, had my boyfriends and I not been so honest about our needs and wants, would have ended, easily in divorce, rather than break ups. I think – sex, money, communication, and similar values. If your boyfriend wants a girl who will give up everything for a family, and you’re the type of girl who never wants kids – you may be happily living together for a while – but trust, a happy marriage, you will not make!

    I also tend to think if you have opposing political views it could be a problem. Am not saying you need to agree on everything, I actually think some opposing views can be fun and lead to interesting conversation – but – if you are a die hard liberal – trust, you will not ultimately be happy with a Sarah Palin teabagger.

    Congrats on the anniversay – how fun! I think you and Mal seem like a great couple, very healthy and happy and fun.

  14. My boyfriend and I were friends first–for about 5 months before we started dating. That helped a lot!

    We’ve been together for 3 years now. Our secret: fight fair. That means no name calling, no blaming. Trying to communicate!

  15. Happy anniversary.. I don’t know the secret but I do know u have to be able to live together, love each other and stick with one another 🙂

  16. PICK YOUR BATTLES.

    And kind of related – if you’re about to lose it over something with your partner, consider whether what you’re arguing about will be important in a year’s time. Chances are it won’t.

    But fight like you’re at a Chanel sample sale if it is 😉

  17. BIC bands look just like Sweaty Bands which Ive been wearing day and night too! Can’t get enough of them!

    I think laughter is one of the keys to a happy marriage. If you can have fun together doing the simple things in life (like hitting the grocery store or a backyard picnic) then life is never going to be boring!

  18. I just purchased the BIC bands. I’m excited to get them. Hopefully when they come they will push me to get out and start running again!

  19. Haha.. love your post. I’m certainly no expert and I’m learning about marriage rules too. I think love, communication, sex are the key. In addition, being a YES person, meaning if your spouse wants to do something, just say YES. I will do things he’s into just to make him happy and he will return the favor in some way to me. Doing so helps us speak the same language.

  20. I love your bit on NPR! My husband and I do the same thing only with other news sources. Those are the best conversations after a long day:)

  21. Congratulations! You sound like you have a really sweet, but adult, relationship. I just made it to my first anniversary (whoohoo!) and couldn’t agree more with your dad! We both read the NY Times (our version of your NPR rule!)

  22. I’m not married yet, but am learning to live with my boyfriend and at times I think we get so frustrated with each other that we are having to work SO hard to make it work. It’s good practice for marriage.. so I love your tips from Real Simple 🙂

    Happy Anniversary!

  23. Communication….having fun…..& always making sure you have the same goals & are on the same path.

  24. We are not married and we don’t plan too either (It’s a little different here in Quebec). We’ve been together for 7 years, and it still feels like yesterday that we fell in love. Having fun in your relationship is key!

  25. So cute! I love this post!

    Being in a long distance relationship (6 years total, 2 long-distance), my biggest rule is communication. If something is bothering me, I have to say it right then, or it festers. He isn’t here to see me getting upset, so if I don’t tell him, he’ll never know!

  26. I love this post! Sharing with my husband right now. 🙂

    Happy (late) anniversary to you and Mal!

    I just got my shipping confirmation for my bic bands. So excited!

  27. Be friends as well as lovers and have fun together. My husband and I share everything together. That may not work for all couples but it works for us. He is my rock and the person I WANT to tell everything to. As for the have fun part, we have always made it a point each week to do something fun – just the two of us. Whether that was playing cards, playing board games, playing Rock Band or our own version of Name that Tune with a Cash Cab Twist we are spending time together, chatting and connecting!

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