TunaCat29: First read any and all books by John Gottman. Seriously use that stuff every day and my marriage has not just survived but thrived after 3.5 years of TTC (1 MC, 5 IUIs and 2 IVFs, now moving to Egg Donor), FIL living with us, my unemployment for over a year, him falling off the wagon (and getting back on) and FIL getting really sick and being hospitalized for almost a week. So yeah, lots of stress…
So the things I’ve learned from John Gottman’s books– 75% of your problems will never be resolved. What you are fighting about today, you’ll be fighting about 20 years from now. Only thing you can do is accept it or negotiate something that works for both of you. To fight until it is “resolved” just destroys the marriage.
Accept that person for exactly who they are. The core of who they are will stay the same. So it drives me crazy that DH hates waiting for restaurants or large crowds. But I’ve accept that is who he is. I do my best not to put him in situations like that, but he also does his best to deal with it when we are.
It takes 5 good things (I’ve heard as low as 3 good things) for every 1 bad thing to keep a marriage in good standing. But those 5 good things are so easy to do if you make it part of your routine. I thank DH for everything he does around the house (even though it’s his ‘job’), I thank him for going to work (not all the time, but occasionally), I hug him when we pass in the kitchen, when we do some chore together point out what a great team we are, we say I Love You all the time, tell him he’s sexy (even though he has a middle age body, I still find him sexy and I tell him)–I show him gratitude every moment I can. Dr. Gottman calls it the Love Bank. The more deposits you put in, the more cushion you will have when things get tough.
Be kind to each other. When he does something that can either be interpreted as having some evil intent or just being careless, alway pick the kindest interpretation until you have strong evidence otherwise.
Learn about Gottman’s 4 Horsemen of the Apocolypse. Don’t do any of those things–ever!
He doesn’t say this outright, but what I’ve taken from it and from looking at all marriages around me is it’s more important to RESPECT your partner than LOVE him. Love is a feeling that comes a goes. Love is easy. I’ve loved men that were bad for me or I didn’t respect. But respect is the basis for all good relationships. If you don’t respect each other, the love dies. If you are at a place where the love is low, as long as you have respect, the love can grow back. But once you lose the respect, nothing can grow.
Relationships shouldn’t be hard work, but they do take effort. Put the effort in the small ways of being kind and showing gratititude (using their Love Language) and your marriage should be just fine.