I am about to cross a line here. But I feel I am qualified on the grounds of being an objective outsider. I am an impartial observer that only wants to share my findings. Hopefully, it will be helpful and not intrusive. Here is my advice to married couples for maintaining a happy union. This is only based on personal observation not personal experience so take from it what you will.
Don’t make your spouse choose between you and his/her family.
My sister often shares the example of our parents. Every Saturday dad would go to visit his mom. Our mom didn’t interfere or try to limit his contact with grandma. She knew this connection was important. This short example has set the standard for me when I watch couples interact with each other. Do what you can to help foster healthy familial connections with your spouse’s first family. Notice I phrased that as “healthy” connections. There needs to be a balance in all things. But if your spouse feels like he has to choose between you and his family on a regular basis you might be disappointed by his choice one day.
Be careful who you vent to.
This is a short and fast rule. Don’t ever vent to co-workers. There is no reason to ever talk about your spouse at work. At least, not in a complaining mode. Refrain. In general, be careful who you vent to at all. Be your spouse’s biggest fan and supporter and save the criticism to one or two close confidants chosen wisely. Preferably, do not vent to your family members. You will taint their view on your spouse. The two of you may make up and move on but your family members may not move on so willingly. Just don’t go to work and give your co-workers an earful. If you are in physical or emotional danger find someone who can help you make the necessary changes to ensure your safety and well-being.
Communication is sexy.
The devil works in secrets. If you can’t share something with your spouse then maybe you shouldn’t be sharing it at all. Sound too simplistic? Maybe. But as an impartial observer I have noticed secrecy has destroyed foundations. In your spouse sphere honesty should be expected because without it how will there be any trust? If your spouse isn’t your best friend then who is he to you? Why would you want to spend so much time with someone who isn’t your closest friend and ally?
These are just a few of my observations I have noticed from a few examples.
What helps you maintain a healthy relationship? What guidelines do you follow?