Lori St-Germain, who wrote “How to Maintain a Happy Marriage”, offers advice for married couples who wish to keep their relationship with their spouse as enjoyable as possible. Fortunately, I stumbled on this article, not that my own marriage is in trouble, or even has any serious problems, but that it reinforced what we have been doing as a couple. I can happily state that I have been married to the same man for almost 25 years. As each year passes, I notice that our particular marriage tends to get easier. What I mean is that we are very comfortable in our relationship with each other. With this in mind, I read Ms. St-Germain’s article, discovering that the advice she offered was right on the mark.
The first piece of advice Ms. St-Germain offers is to “recognize what your partner does well and comment on those strengths.” Honestly, this piece of advice should not have to be spelled out for the married couple, it should just occur. For me, it is easy and I tend to praise my spouse for things he does well without thinking about it. He also does the same for me and I will have to say that it is nice to know that he notices things I do.
The next piece of advice is to “do something nice and unexpected for your spouse”. For the two of us this can range from something very small and uneventful such as writing a note and putting it in a lunchbox, to something big, such as when my husband surprised my with my own, brand new ATV. The very one I had picked out sometime before. To me it feels good to be on either side of this, to be doing the deed, or to be the recipient of the caring deed, done specifically for me and no one else.
The third piece of advice Ms. St-Germain mentions, is to “spend time together”. This is another piece of advice that I think should just happen, that couples in a healthy marriage should not have to be told to do. But, I do understand that arrangements may have to be made in order for the couple to find time to spend together. Even in today’s busy society, couples can find time for each other if they choose to. This piece of advice should be well heeded, because it is so important to sustaining a healthy relationship. If you do not spend time together, what kind of relationship do you actually have?
The fourth piece of advice offered by Ms. St-Germain is for the married couple to “review photos from happy time”. I can understand the theory behind this piece of advice, to remember the good times spent together. Unfortunately, we, as a couple, do not take the time to do follow this particular piece of advice. Our pictures are gone through regularly, but generally by our children. Considering this piece of advice, it may be time to drag out the photo albums and spend time with them.
Ms. St-Germain’s last piece of advice in this article is to “take pride in your relationship”. This particular piece of advice should also be easy to achieve, or it is for me. I am very proud of the fact that we were married in our teens and have been married for almost 25 years. I will be the first to admit though, that this journey has not always been easy and keeping a marriage going for this long takes work and determination from both partners.
I really enjoyed Ms. St-Germain’s article because she had different advice for a happy marriage. She did not go the usual route of “don’t go to be angry” or “it takes give and take to make a marriage work.” Everyone has heard these usual pieces of advice, and I am sure you have thought of others, repeatedly. I am not saying that the usual advice that is given is not important, I am just saying that there is so much more that can be done to keep a marriage healthy and happy for many, many years.
So, after almost 25 years of marriage to one honest, hard-working man who still loves me, I can honestly say, that for us, things are great. If someone were to ask me if I would take this same journey again, my answer would be “you bet, in a heartbeat”. We have encountered hard times along with our good times, but I feel like these combined is what got us to where we are today. With this being said, I believe that this article has a lot of merit or it does with this particular relationship.