Every married couple I talk with wants to know what is the key to making their marriage an incredible experience.
It too bad we can’t hang our hat on one single thing that makes for amazing and happy marriages.
Certainly, finding the right soul mate that is compatible with you in terms of the things you value is important.
Being kind to your spouse as a matter of practice is big in my book.
What else do you think is important?
I want you to think about the marriage and happiness correlation.
What allows you and your lover, whether it is your husband or wife, to have a completely satisfying marriage?
Well, consider this:
I believe you and your husband are better together when you spend time together with others.
That might sound kind of weird, but I believe it to be true. It can be easy to get trapped in a marriage in which everything revolves around how and what the two of you are doing.
By the way, if you are looking for ways to empower your marriage, be sure to also read my post on what makes for a great marriage….
It is a worthwhile goal to become one with each other thoughts and needs, seeking to satisfy your husband or wife in all respects.
But that does not mean you have to always to be thrown together.
Your measuring stick for happiness in life should not be based solely on what you and your husband or wife are doing together.
To be a successful and content as a couple you have to branch out and do things outside of all your routines that you have together.
Sometimes you should spread your wings and fly away from each other. When you come back, the marriage can be even more enriched.
Don’t Rely On Your Husband or Wife To Experience Happiness
I have always believed that happiness in marriage springs from your experiences and relationships.
And I think it works in two ways. The number and quality of experiences you have with each other matters much.
And the number and quality of experiences you have with yourself and other people in your life is also very meaningful.
In case I forget, let me also call your attention to one of my posts that offer some common sense ideas on how to navigate through any problems you and your spouse may be having. I cover many topics and reinforce the importance of ensuring that your life and relationship is filled with a diverse set of experiences.
Please take an opportunity to check out this guide….
A couple is bonded together by the fulfilling experiences they have together, but it cannot be at the expense of experiences each of you should have individually or with other people.
So an important aspect of every successful marriage is finding happiness not simply through your husband or wife, but also from the experiences you have in life as well as the other relationships you carve out during your life.
Now, I could spend a few minutes walking you through a bunch of marriage and happiness tips and statistics, but I have a better idea.
Let’s hear from women who have experience on both sides of the equation.
The clients I work with are advised to write down their thoughts. It is a form of therapy that allows you to channel your thoughts such that you can reinforce the important principles that enable your relationship to prosper.
I asked some of my married clients to weigh in on these two things (i.e. involving yourself in life’s experiences and enjoying relationships with other people than your spouse) and how it enabled them to have a satisfying marriage with their partner.
And I also asked some to talk about what happens when you don’t surround yourself and your marriage with fulfilling experiences and fun and interesting relationships.
Remember, it is not important that your husband or wife like your friends or these other activities you might wish to engage in. What is important is that your derive happiness from these things and that you invest quality time to participate in other experiences that are personally fulfilling.
If you are worried about what you husband (or wife) might think, then you already have a problem.
If, for example, your husband does not support your outside interests and gives you a hard time about you wanting to spending time with some of your special friends, then your husband is holding you back.
Here is a sample of what some of my clients learned:
“I know what makes for a happy marriage! It’s when you and your husband can get by without the other, but still want the other. When I find myself moving in the direction of those things that I enjoy as an individual, I feel empowered and when my husband supports me doing what makes me feel content, I love him ever so more. I hate it when an old boyfriend would tell me that I couldn’t do something. That is probably why I married this man. He appreciated my need for independence and encouraged me to strike out and do those things that made me feel good.”
“My husband is my best friend. But that doesn’t mean I should only have one friend. You can’t have a great marriage unless you have plenty of friends and can do things with other people. It enriches me life and I want the same thing for my husband. I want him to want me in his life, but I don’t want him obsessing about me. His circle of friends need not be the same as mine. Just so long as we both have other outside interests, that is the secret sauce! Otherwise the marriage is just doing the same things, over and over again and that gets old.”
“So are you looking for some helpful tips for a happy marriage? That is so funny because I was just thinking about why I love what has happened with us. I use to think of our marriage as a one way street and we had both better be going the same direction to be happy in love. If we were ever parted, one or both us would feel miserable. But I have learned that is not healthy in the long run. I don’t want my husband resenting me because I disapprove of his friends or the things he wants to do. I think it is important we each have our on individual lives that is just ours alone. I find that I start obsessing far too much about what my husband is doing and why he is not doing it with me and when my life centers around only him I am really miserably uptight. Your suggestion of adding many more enriching experiences into my life routines has made a huge difference with my attitude about our relationship.”
“You told me Chris that for our marriage to grow we needed to have more experiences of the happy kind. Doing things together that is challenging and exciting and memorable was what you preached. Well, let me tell we took your advice and have started recording the activities we are doing as a couple that is different and new. We write it down and then go seek out new experiences that allows us to bond together. We did this incredible hike and were exhausted but it was so memorable and we needed each other to pick up our energy level and it worked. We finished and felt so proud. It is amazing how just being outside, in the sun and away from all of the bustle can be such a picker upper. We are going to continue to add more exciting little adventures to our list and I have not forgotten, we are also going to do some stuff with other people too. I know we need to have our own lives, but right now I am loving all the new stuff we are trying out together!”
As you can see, these folks took the ball and ran with it.
Doing new things together and adding to your inventory of life experiences that you share with your husband or wife can create new connections and bonds. All of those little memories and things you learn about yourself and your spouse makes a difference.
They also understand that the best of outcomes that underscore the marriage and happiness correlation is through carving out your on set of interests, including having enriching friends and family intertwined throughout your life.
Sometimes I get questions from people who ask me if married couples are happier than unmarried couples.
My answer is generally, yes, except marriage does not bring happiness just for its own sake.
So what makes for a happy marriage?
By now, if you have been reading my website, I think you are starting to see that there are a lot of factors, but among the top ones are those couples who realize that they need to have new experiences with and without their husband or wife; and they need to continue to develop and enjoy relationships and experiences of all kinds.
I Learned The Hard Way To Not Rely on My Spouse
Now, for the other side of the coin, let’s hear from some folks who learned their marriage lessons the hard way. No worries though, I worked with these married individuals and things are looking up.
“I think you are right about getting a life outside your marriage world. For the first few years of our marriage, we did everything together. But we became dependent on each other and I particularly found my mood rising and falling on whether my husband was happy. But I have come to realize that my life needs to be more than what I have with my husband. I get out much more and do new things and have my hobbies and my friends. Since we were so close in the beginning with all that we did, at first my husband resented my outside activities and new relationships. But as you said, I kept telling him we are better together when we are together less.”
We use to be so reliant on each other that every time my husband’s mood came down, I felt myself sliding down. When he was doing something, I just felt compelled to be part of it and vice versa. We were like two peas in a pod. And I thought that was good. It was good for a while, but as you explained, no two people can continuously live in each other’s skin. It seems natural at first to be tied together with all the things we did, but I learned that there are diminishing returns after a while. I hate to say it but there is a stage in which you can just simply get sick of being around your husband all the time. I don’t think it is just me and the way I am. I think women out there have to have their own lives and hobbies and friends and do things that just make them happy. They can bring that back to their marriage and their husband can take it or leave it, but it doesn’t mean you love your spouse less or he will love you less. I am happier now that I weaned myself off of my husband. I know that sounds strange. We love each other, but we are not like totally dependent on each other and I think that is good for our marriage. We need independence and sometimes that means we do our own thing with our own friends. That means you have to be grown up enough not to let jealousy and resentment or petty feelings get in the way. If he wants to go out with his friends without me, I say yes, go. When I need to be alone with my friends, I expect him to encourage me to have my fun. It works with us. I don’t think it is natural to be thrown together and have to do things with the other all of the time to be happy.”
So Get Away From Your Husband or Wife
It does sound like odd advice.
But the happiest of couples I think are those who have learned to carve out their own little happy pockets in their life away from their husband or wife.
To shine as a couple, you need to find ways to shine as an individual.
You enable the marriage to grow and prosper when you can bring back new experiences and activities, sharing them with your lover and maybe even going out and trying them together for the first time.
That adventurous spirit you bring to the marriage by having new experiences by yourself can not only help you renew and realize your individual goals, but it can breathe some fresh life into your marriage.
You see, sometimes it hard for two people to agree to do something new and interesting or odd or scary or whatever together. Two people can get in each other way.
But if you turn one person loose and let them tackle something new, they can then return to their partner and share their experience.
In no way am I advocating you should not do things together as a couple.
But I believe it is critical that each of you have your own “thing” you can do for yourself.
Whatever it is, so long as it makes you happy or satisfies your curiosity or some interest you have. Perhaps it fulfills a yearning you have to check off those things that make you feel excited to simply be alive.
When you can be engaged with yourself or with friends away from your husband or wife, it can serve to rekindle the warmth and intensity of your love for your spouse and when you come back together again, it can really be special.