What if you could protect your marriage from all the most common mistakes married couples make, just by agreeing to a simple 'contract'?
You don't have to draw up and sign an actual contract, unless that's something that seems fun or motivating for you and your spouse. You could simply make a verbal agreement, or print these 15 points out on a poster to pin somewhere obvious in your house. However you do it, sticking to these 15 agreements will help bulletproof your marriage.
Marriage is hard enough when you're just answering for the things you did wrong. You can't expect answer for things the ex-boyfriend or girlfriend did as well. Forget what's happened in previous relationships and focus 100% on this one.
The marriage vows are clear on this one. You're in this for better and for worse. The transition into a marriage is generally bumpy. Often the "better" comes after the "worse".
During a long and healthy marriage, you will sometimes fight. Just remember to fight fair. No bringing up your spouse's insecurities just to hurt or belittle them. No blaming them for things you know aren't really their fault. Focus on the actual issue that's causing the fight.
Sort it out, or stick a pin in it. No-one needs to go to bed angry.
Just because it doesn't matter to you doesn't mean it shouldn't be resolved. If it matters to your spouse, address it. In some cases, if it matters to your spouse, but you don't care, take the opportunity to graciously give in and let them have their way.
Sometimes we put the one we love most far down our list of priorities, just because we know they love us and they'll wait. This is how resentments can start. If you catch yourself putting someone else's needs or opinions ahead of your partner's, it's time to re-evaluate.
Most people don't find it easy to ask for help, so if they're asking, they need it. When a wife tells a husband she needs help, he should start paying attention. And vice versa. Extreme selflessness may well be the key to a healthy marriage.
It's easy to focus on big-picture stuff when you're trying to run a complicated life together. Take some time to show gratitude for all the small, seemingly unimportant things your spouse does for you.
Get into the habit of paying your spouse a compliment every day. Daily compliments without too much repetition will require some creativity, which is a good thing. Get specific and tell your spouse exactly what you love about them.
Some things really should stay behind closed doors. Your fights and your sex life are two of the obvious ones, but everyone is different. What you can share depends on what you're both comfortable with, so make sure you know what your spouse would like to keep private.
Building plans for the future together is great (and necessary) but you're both still individuals. Talk about your own dreams as well as dreams for your joint future. Be your spouse's biggest cheerleader. If you're not, somebody else will be. When your spouse reaches a goal, wouldn't you like to be the one he or she thanks and gives credit to?
Marriage isn't a game. If one of you is 'winning', the other is 'losing', which can't be a good thing. Sometimes the mutual support needed in any marriage doesn't happen all at the same time. You may have to put a lot into your marriage before you get to take anything out. Just remember you're on the same team; you should be sharing the glory and the defeats.
Even through the exhausted and emotional baby-and-toddler years, no matter how little time you have, find a few minutes to talk every day. A lack of communication leads to countless issues.
There are arguments for always putting your kids first, and arguments for putting your marriage first. Get around it by resolving to always put your family first. Sometimes that will mean prioritizing your kids' needs. Sometimes it means working on your relationship. Use your family's well-being as a compass to help you decide what to focus on at any given time.
Success in marriage is no different from success in other area — it rarely happens without a lot of hard work. Neither one of you can do that work alone. Maintaining a relationship is a two-person job.
These 15 agreements are fairly straightforward, but they're not easy to follow consistently. You'll both break the contract from time to time, but having it pinned up in your home may help get you (and your spouse) back on track.