You’ve done it. Despite your best intentions, and all the warnings from your friends, you have fallen madly in love with a woman that you think will be with you for the rest of your life. You decided to marry her. Shortly after you take the vows, attend the party, and go on the honeymoon, you take your bride to your (now the both of yours) apartment for the first time. Now what?
I write this because I see the see discontent in people around me. Satisfaction in marriage has been in a decline. The breakdown of the family has serious consequences for the community and the nation as a whole. While there are no magic pills to keep her happy, there are things you can do to create an environment where she is more likely to be happy, and you will reap the benefits.
Continue to be the Alpha
First off, you need to be a man. Many in modern society think that being more subservient is the way to keep your wife happy. Not only is this wrong, but in doing so, you lose the respect of your wife and her discontent will arise due to her hypergamous nature. As odd as it sounds, you cannot live for the approval of your wife and expect her to be happy. Of course you should help out when appropriate, but if you are pulling far more than your share, you are becoming a servant, and losing her respect. As much as she says she wants the deed or gift, she would rather have someone she can respect.
In addition, choose your fights wisely. Some “men” let women have their way on everything, if you do that, doing so discredits you as a man. But at the same time, you cannot be a tyrant and have your way every time. Anyone who has worked for a boss that micromanages knows how tiring that can be, and there comes a point that you actually lose respect by demanding your way. A woman will not be happy being married to a tyrant, and you will not be happy being a tyrant. My thinking is anything that is unimportant or if the choice is ambiguous, then let her choose. If not, we discuss the matter. If no opinion is swayed, my decision overrides. My wife and I have disagreements on occasion, even arguments at times. Rarely, if ever, you we have fights. Fights happen when both let anger and pride take precedent over finding a common solution. Letting your anger take control is a sign of weakness, rather than a sign of strength.
Continue to be attractive. Stay in shape, dress nicely, and take her out at least monthly. If she sees you are attractive, she will respect you more, follow suit and keep herself attractive.
Be a Man of Conviction
A good woman will expect you to be a good man. You cannot live an immoral life and expect your wife to be moral. Even if you manage to marry a virtuous woman, she will not remain so if your house is not in order. Much of the reason couples struggle with marriage is a lack in morality. That morality needs to be taught on a regular basis.
According to these statistics, divorce rates in the United States are as follows: irreligious 40%, Catholic 28%, Protestant 34%, Muslim 31%, Jewish 30%, Mormon (non-temple marriage as per lds.org) 28%, Mormon (Temple marriage) 6%. I broke the last part into two parts because there is a stark difference in the level of conviction between Mormons who attend the temple and those who don’t. (You are interviewed by the bishop about personal worthiness to enter.) I suspect that you would find a similar dichotomy in other religions between those who are strong in their faith and those who aren’t.
There is a direct correlation in how dedicated a person is to their religion and happiness in married life.
Understand that there are consequences to your actions. We are never truly free in this life. The question is how is our freedom restricted, internally, or externally?
Maintain a House of Order
Throw away your TV set. Network TV is a time waster, but more importantly, it poisons the mind of yourself and your family. We have a computer at home which we are restrictive on what we do watch, maybe 3 or 4 hours a week. The hours of mindless drivel is not worth it. There are plenty of other better things to do.
Have children. Your wife needs fulfillment, the daily grind of work at the office will not bring it to her. Naturally, she wants to be a wife and a mother. Bring progeny to your home, it is worth it.
If possible, be the sole breadwinner of the family. Do your best to make it so your wife can stay home and take care of the kids. She will respect you more, and depend on you more. I see so many couples living parallel marriages because both work and still have the chores at home. You may have to downscale, but it is nice to come home to dinner waiting for you and the house clean.
Set up a routine that is right for you. We have family scripture study and prayer at 5:30 AM before I go to work. Dinner when I get home, play, then at 8:30 the bedtime routine. 9:00 is bedtime, after which my wife and I will go for walks, or other personal activities (cough).
Keep the Magic Alive
Marriage is a wonderful thing, if done right. You develop a relationship that far surpasses any other you will have in life. My wife is my partner, my friend, my lover. I enjoy the time I spend with her. We will leave the kids with a babysitter at least once a month and go out to dinner and dancing, or some museum or something. I will flirt with her throughout the day, and she will return the favor. I often hear the old adage “You got to work at your marriage”. I call BS on that. Work is not the right attitude. Yes, there are things you need to get done, but in all seriousness, you got to play in your marriage. Keep it fun, keep it an adventure. Be spontaneous. Smack her on the butt and treat her like an object. Open the door for her at times (not all times), and throw water balloons at her at other times (not all times). Do it, and not will your marriage be stronger, you (and your wife and children) will be happier.