The wedding is over, the rice has been thrown and now the question is How do you maintain a healthy relationship with your husband?
It’s a very good question and a very important one. One that many newlyweds don’t ask and should.
Marriage is wonderful but it lasts a long time and that time isn’t always, or even often, easy. So thinking ahead about how to maintain a healthy relationship with your husband is very important.
So how DO you maintain that relationship?
#1 – Create a good foundation.
A good foundation is important for every structure and a marriage especially.
The habits that you develop as newlyweds will carry you forth throughout your marriage. In fact, if there are things that you are hoping will change once you are married, forget it. We only become more of who we are the older we get.
What are important pieces of a good foundation?
On the most basic level, trust is essential for every marriage. If you can not trust your partner to be honest with you, to be there when you need them, to know that they will always look out for your best interests, then you may as well be alone. Because if you can’t trust your partner, who can you trust?
Another key piece of a good marriage foundation is mutual respect. It is impossible for two people to work well together if they don’t respect the other person. If they don’t respect their morals, their values and their work ethic. So make sure, early on, that you respect your partner and that he respects you back.
A third piece is knowing that you both recognize that you are a now a pair, that by getting married you have formed a new family.
Both of you come from individual families but now you are creating a new one. And that new one needs to be the priority. Sure, either mother-in-law might like things to be a certain way, but it’s important that you both realize that your new family is the priority and that it is clear to others.
So set a good foundation for your marriage. It will be important that you do so going forward.
#2 – Be aware that kids are going to change everything.
Getting married is often followed by having children and I often wonder, if people really knew what having children was like, would they reconsider?
There is nothing harder on marriage then the arrival of a child. Suddenly the woman’s priorities are totally redirected, away from the man who has been her life for years and towards this little helpless creature who she is biologically hard-wired to protect.
Right after my daughter was born my mother made us two sheet pans of lasagna. We froze them for when she went back to Virginia. I remember my husband coming home from work one day and, upon learning that we were having lasagna AGAIN, he stalked out of the room. I seriously thought I would never be able to cook and take care of a baby so I burst into tears.
And of course, as children grow, their demands on the family become greater and by their teen years their parents are exhausted and often estranged from each other. They live in the same house but that’s it. The couple is gone.
It is essential that parents take time to spend time with each other during the chaos of raising children. Do fun things together, talk about subjects outside of the family, laugh a lot. If you don’t you will completely lose who you are as a couple and be only Mom and Dad.
So don’t forget your husband in the fray of raising your amazing children. You will be glad you did.
#3 – Treat each other with respect.
Nothing is worse in a marriage than when respect is gone. When respect is gone it is replaced by contempt and no relationship can survive when there is contempt.
If you spend time with any couple who has been married awhile you will know what I mean. One person’s habits have become too much for the other person and it is very clear.
My ex-husband used to often come home late from work. At first I begged him to be home in time for dinner. He tried but most often failed. I got increasing frustrated and starting losing respect for him. I eventually stopped asking him and eventually started telling him that he was rendering himself irrelevant. That we didn’t need him home for dinner anyway.
How great did that make him feel? He is my ex-husband, you notice.
#4 – Make sure your sex life is working.
Sex is an essential piece of any healthy relationship. It is important that every couple maintain a certain amount of intimacy to keep connected.
What is very important about married people sex is that it works for both people in the relationship. If he wants to have sex 5 days a week and she doesn’t want to have sex more than once, then a compromise must be made so that you can both be satisfied.
If she has sex with him more than she might like he will be satisfied but she will not be because she will be resentful about what she feels forced to do. If they only have sex once he might get resentful that that is all he gets.
So have a discussion with your spouse. Make sure that both of you are happy with the amount and quality of the sex you share.
It could be the glue that holds you together.
#5 – Talk about money.
This is the holy grail of taboo subjects in a marriage and one of the top reasons that marriages fall apart. Many people can not talk about their finances without it descending into chaos.
Money is a difficult topic, whether there is too much or too little, and couples can rarely talk about it without fighting. How much a salary is, how much it costs to run a family and keep a house, spending money on self care, putting money away for savings. All are difficult topics and allocation for each of those areas is up for discussion at any given time.
The happiest couples I know are ones who have the tough talk regularly. Is the way the money being spent working for everyone? If not, what can be done to change that?
The key is working together, as a couple, to make the finances work for the whole family.
Try it. The conversation might be difficult but it could save your marriage.
So there are the 5 essential ways to maintain a healthy relationship with your husband.
I can not repeat enough how important it is to spend time early in your relationship setting a good foundation as a couple.
Learn how to talk about difficult things, like money and sex. Put yourselves first over your extended families. Make spending time together a priority. And never stop laughing.
Marriage can be wonderful. Do your best to keep it that way.
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I am a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. My writing has been published on The Huffington Post, Prevention, Psych Central, Pop Sugar, MSN and The Good Man Project, among others. I work with all kinds of people to help them go from depressed and overwhelmed to confident and happy in their relationships and in their world.