Marriage is so hard that even Nelson Mandela got divorced. So what does it actually take to stay married? Here’s how to make a marriage work.

You see people with these lengthy marriages. How do they do it? If you’re not married or if you’re only a few months or years in, it might seem near impossible.

You’ve already been fighting with your partner over somewhat trivial things like which way the toilet paper goes or whether you should tint your car windows. How are you expected to make it through “til death do us part?”

Take a minute. Calm yourself and continue reading this article as we talk about how to make a marriage work.

  1. Forget About Your Idea of an Ideal Marriage

We all come into our relationships with a certain idea about how things are supposed to go. He is supposed to do this, she is supposed to say that. We have it all figured out—before we get married, at least.

When the other person doesn’t hold up to what we think is part of the deal, things can go south pretty quickly. This is where resentment can build and you start to develop distance in the relationship.

  1. Don’t Try to Do It on Your Own

If you try to do everything on your own, you’re likely to spin your wheels. You aren’t growing your communication skills and your partner likely isn’t either, so it’s round and round you go.

Instead of continuing to grow the negative feelings in your relationship, look for help through marriage counseling or another method that works for you and your partner.

When you have an outsider help with your marriage, you may find it easier for you and your partner to see the other person’s perspective.

  1. Learn the Art of Forgiveness

Forgiving isn’t one of the easy things in life. Even when we try to forgive, sometimes those resentful feelings creep their way to the surface and we can tell that we haven’t fully forgiven our partner.

As we learn to trust ourselves, it becomes easier to forgive our partner. It does take practice and as the years go by, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to forgive each other.

  1. Learn & Grow Together

If you aren’t growing together, you’re growing apart. Many partners fail to think of things they can do together and bond over. It’s easy to get so caught up in work, kids and other things that we forget who we married and who we were when we fell in love with this person.

Finding things you can bond over is an essential part of a long-lasting relationship. No matter how big or small the activity is, keep it consistent and continue growing together.

  1. Don’t Neglect Your Own Interests

We are separate people, despite how much it can feel like we’ve merged into one person. People refer to us as “Dave & Sue” or “The Joneses.” Whatever happened to just Dave? Or just Sue?

If you had different interests before you got married, you shouldn’t neglect them. Continue to cultivate the things you love and you’ll find that your marriage is much more enjoyable. If you don’t do any of the things you love anymore, it’s easy to feel like you’re lost and to start resenting your partner.

  1. Don’t Rehash the Past

Men sometimes joke about women bringing up things from the past and building a case, but everyone does this. The truth is that no matter whether it’s a woman or man doing it, it’s not going to help the health of the marriage.

Let the past be the past. You’ve chosen to stay together despite it, so don’t keep bringing it into the present and messing up your future.

  1. Be Self-Aware

It’s easy to see your partner’s flaws. They do this, they don’t do that. It’s maddening, really!

But what about you? Have you stopped to think about the part you might be playing in this drama? Maybe you’ve done or said something that has hurt your partner and that’s part of why they’re lashing out?

When we practice self-awareness, we are much more likely to take a breath before we berate our loved one over something big or small. We know we aren’t perfect, so why should they be expected to be perfect?

  1. Be an Encourager

We all get opportunities each day to encourage our spouse. They get excited because they might get a promotion or maybe their sports team will be playing that day and they’re excited over that.

Whatever it is that your partner has coming up, encourage them. It’s easy to knock them down—even in jest. But if you want to build a longlasting marriage, be their biggest cheerleader.

  1. Come to the Table with Solutions

After a major disagreement, you’ll have a long list of things your partner has done wrong—and you mean to let them know. But instead of blasting your partner with this list of transgressions, why not come to the table with solutions?

You can’t stand how they flop around at night? Why not suggest getting a split sleep number bed? Or a memory foam bed where you won’t feel them floundering about?

When you come to the table with solutions, you can keep from prolonging the fight and you won’t emotionally wound your partner.

  1. Compliment Each Other

Who doesn’t love a good compliment? Keep your marriage fire burning bright by complimenting each other and giving them a reason to smile.

Tell your partner how much it means to you when they compliment you as well. It’s important to communicate this so it becomes a recurring happening.

Now You’re a Pro at How to Make a Marriage Work

Now that you know how to make a marriage work, don’t worry if you make a mistake now and again. It’s going to happen.

When you’re in the dog house or trying to stay out of it, come back here for more great reads. We’d love to have you.