Cape Gazette
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Drool:  Be a better spouse

By Rachel Swick Mavity | May 21, 2012
Source: images What does 'family' mean to you?

Creating and raising children impacts not only your self-esteem, weight and skincare regimen, it also affects your relationship.

A marriage is many things, but most of all, a marriage is tons of work.

In America, couples jump in and out of marriage in the same way they jump in and out of pools. Today, they feel like swimming in the marriage pool, but tomorrow they don't, so they get a divorce.

Both men and women actively participate in the act of getting married. One proposes; one says yes. A wedding is planned, executed and sealed with a certificate.

Often those marriages end in heartache. It's a sad state in America when more than half of all marriages end in divorce.

It is a very easy thing to say the marriage isn't working, let's just end it and go our separate ways. It's easy to just walk away. It's much harder to stick out the hard times and work to make the relationship better.

That says something about Americans, I think.

So, how do you make a marriage work?

First - and maybe most importantly - you must really love that person you choose to marry. You better be committed to the whole person - mind, body and soul.

Second - work at it. Some people will tell you to never go to bed angry. In some situations, going to bed and sleeping on an argument can make it all more clear in the morning. Or in the middle of the night, you might realize how silly it all is, and roll over to snuggle up to the person you married.

In most cases, snuggling solves a lot of issues.

Third - don't create unnecessary evils. If you know that your partner hates it when you fold his socks a certain way. Just don't do it. If he gets upset every time you mention his mother's birthday coming up, why not just leave that up to him. Put it on the calendar and shrug; there are somethings you will never change about your spouse. Deal with it and move on.

If your husband likes to take out the trash while listening to ridiculously loud music in his headphones, rendering it impossible to communicate with him while he is doing said activity - well, just realize your comment will have to wait. Understand that for whatever reason, he needs to take out the trash in this fashion. Shrug and smile, knowing you married into this.

Fourth - talk about it. If something bothers you, don't expect the other person to realize it is an issue. Say something. This seems like the easiest thing, but often we let things snowball in our relationships. The argument tends to start weeks ago when one little thing upset us and we didn't mention it.

In my experience, if I mention the annoyance, it often goes away or is dealt with immediately. When things fester, small arguments can turn into all-night brawls - and no one wants that!

And, finally, realize that no one is perfect. That small, screaming bundle of joy that you brought home from the hospital will inevitably prove that relationships that start hard, turn even harder when parenting is involved.

Lay the groundwork of parenting early - before the child arrives. Then stick with a plan. Outline how you want to deal with common issues and discuss unexpected issues that arise in the course of parenting. Be a partner to your partner.

I try every day. I ask myself how I can be better - how my actions affect the relationship and the people around me. Often when I am cranky, it comes out and affects my family. Try to deal with your issues, so you can then be a smiley, happy person with the family.

Being a parent is fun. Being a spouse is fun. Just remember that the next time you are about to lose your marbles because he left the refrigerator door open yet again.

Best wishes for a great week in the kingdom of drool!

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