Substance and Soul

The secrets to our happy marriage

LifeSamantha WetterholmComment

The lovely Joelle recently wrote about the four secrets to her happy marriage so I was inspired to reflect on my own marriage. What is so beautiful about marriage is that each one is unique and each is constantly evolving.

During this month of love, I am reminded of how grateful I am to have this special man in my life as my husband, partner, and friend and while our marriage is far from perfect, it is ours and it is special. So here are the five secrets to our happy marriage.

1 // HONEST COMMUNICATION. Nothing is off-limits, taboo, or too much. We can talk about anything without fear of judgement or abandonment. While we are free to communicate openly and honestly, we avoid below-the-belt or mean-spirited comments. Sometimes we lose our tempers and say things we don’t mean, but we are always able to talk it out and resolve our issues with a hug and a kiss. Sometimes we put tougher conversations on hold so we can clear our heads, regroup, and come back with calmer hearts. Although I don’t always like what I hear, Paul can always speak honestly with me and vice versa. We definitely are not the kind of couple to tip-toe around harder topics. We don’t let things simmer under the surface or let things build up. We dive right in, lay it all out on the table, and work it out. This style may not work for everyone, but it works for us. 

2 // UNDERSTANDING NEEDS. This one is connected to our open communication. We know the needs of the other because we are willing to share those needs in the first place. I know Paul’s needs and he knows mine and if things change, we talk about it. For example, I know that Paul needs a few moments in the morning to wake up before I bombard him. He gets overwhelmed without a little wake up time. I make sure I don’t start up with to-do lists or anything before he’s ready. He knows that I need things to be ordered and organized or I get anxious. He respects my need for things to be put back where they belong and to make sure rooms are tidy before we head out the door and before we go to bed. Sometimes we need space and we don’t take it personally when the other needs to decompress in another room or take a trip to a coffee shop or tennis court. 

3 // STAYING ACTIVE. Couples who play together, stay together, or so they say. While I’m not moving quite as fast as I once was {attributed to the tiny human growing inside me right now}, we have always been an active and playful couple. We have always enjoyed playing tennis and other games together. We enjoy running, hiking, tossing a football around, dancing, and taking walks. We play a lot of cards and board games together too. We encourage one another to have healthy lifestyles and we believe it’s important to get some fresh air together. 

4 // FAITH. Paul and I both have strong faiths. I am Catholic and he is non-denominational Christian and we both have a tremendous love for God and Jesus. We pray together, count our blessings together, and go to church together. We have both found churches we like in the city and alternate the places we go. He also agreed to get married in the Catholic church {which was very important to me}. We respect one another’s differences, but share an important foundation which strengthens our marriage. 

5 // SHARING RESPONSIBILITIES. Paul is an extremely active and involved husband. I like that we each have our strengths in the home. I usually do the cooking and he usually does the dishes. I clean the bathroom and he does the vacuuming and dusting. I keep track of appointments and engagements and he pays the bills. What is even more wonderful is that neither of us expects the other one to do these things, we do them to mutually take care of our home as a team. We also know when the other one just needs a break and we pick up the slack for the other. If Paul has had a long day at work, I will make dinner and clean up the kitchen afterwards. If I need a pick me up, he will make the bed, straighten up the house, and draw me a bath before starting on his own duties. We each participate in the running of our home actively and without resentment. I have no doubt that once the baby comes, he will be even more active in the household duties while I’m feeding the little one. 

These are our secrets {and they are not even really that secret}. It’s more like these are a few of our techniques to a happy marriage. This is what we actively do to foster partnership in our marriage. But we are always a work-in-progress and there is always room for growth and improvement. We are up to the challenge - the beautiful challenge and blessings of marriage. 

What are your secrets to your happy marriage?

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