‘Happy marriages’ are a part of everyone’s wish list. But do they truly remain happy and joyous? 

Whether you have been married for years or just tied the knot, here are 10 practical tips for a happy married life that will help you live happily ever after! 

1. Remember that marriage is a commitment to walk together

Marriage is an institution of patience, sacrifice, caring for each other, and sharing. Our ancient people spoke about saptapadi– the seven vows of marriage one takes in life. The hallmarks of a happy marriage are a sense of commitment, cooperation, compassion, caring, and less ego. If you hold each other’s necks, it will feel like bondage. If you walk together, shoulder-to-shoulder with each other, it will serve as a support. So be a support to each other, be a companion and move forward.

 Is your relationship your strength or weakness?
The relationship can bring us strength or weakness depending on the mind. If the mind is strong, then relationships are a gift to us. But if the mind is weak and not in control, then relationships can feel like bondage.

2. Be available for each other instead of demanding

In a marriage, you should consider the other person as your own part – like your arm or leg. It’s two bodies, one mind, one soul. So, whatever your spouse desires, you make it your own desire. Your spouse’s taste, consider it as your own taste. The conflict arises when your tastes start moving apart. You should start saying your taste is my taste; your pleasure is my pleasure. I am here for you, rather than, what can you do for me?

It is important to remember that:

  • When we approach the relationship with ‘What can you do for me?’ then both partners become unhappy. 
  • In a happy marriage, each couple resolves, “I’m here for you, come what may, happy times or unhappy times! In life, sometimes there are disappointments; sometimes there is success. In either case, ‘I’m with you.’

3. Don’t be possessive

Whether it is before or after marriage, if you are too possessive, the other person will run away. Trying to control or possess somebody may not be a very intelligent idea.

When you are possessive, the whole chain of negative thoughts is triggered.

4. Don’t burden the other person to make you happy!

Often, you like to be pleased, appeased, and cajoled. So you put up a tough, upset face and act difficult to please. Lovers often do this. They expend a lot of energy in cajoling and this brings down the joy and celebration of the moment. People who keep a long face and expect others to cajole and appease them make others run away.​

Quick Tip: It is okay for you to show you are upset once in a while, but doing it over and over again is taxing for you and the people you love. 

If you feel down, appease and please yourself. 

Your need to be appeased by someone else is a sign of grossness.

If you want attention, all you will get is tension.

5. Think before you speak

There is a proverb which says, ‘It is only through words that conflicts begin. It is only through words that people have fun. It is only through words that people gain wealth. So, words should be used sparingly.’ Usually, when people have some misunderstanding, they say, ‘Let us talk it out.’ This does not work at all. Just move on. Don’t sit and discuss or ask for any explanation about the past. When a mistake happens, it happens, that’s it. Move on.

Just imagine yourself in a position where you make a mistake, and someone keeps asking for an explanation about it. It is such a burden to explain or to justify oneself. Never make the other person feel guilty. The bond of friendship gets loosened. There is a skill in making a person aware of his mistake without making him feel guilty.

What to do when your spouse is upset?

If one is upset, the other partner should keep quiet and wait for his/her turn to get upset. If both get upset at the same time, then there is a problem! And in front of kids, one should be civilized. Know that ‘Oh, my spouse is upset! Okay.’ Give him or her the time to be upset. Don’t question, ‘Why are you so upset?’ If someone is upset, the other gets angry and expects them not to be upset. This is a big mistake! Someone is upset; give them that space.”

6. Be your authentic self

Be natural and be simple. Relationships develop naturally. If you try to build a relationship, that is when you become a little artificial. Then your behaviour becomes artificial, which is not natural. Just imagine someone is trying to impress you; don’t you notice that? If someone is trying to impress you, what do you do? You move away.

See what you like; that is what others like as well. You like someone to be very honest, open, natural, unassuming with you, correct? That is exactly what others also want from you. Don’t try hard to impress. Then everything goes bad. The best is to be yourself, to be natural, to be forgiving and to be in the present moment. It makes a big difference.

A quick tip: Make your relationships stronger with time! As time passes in a relationship, a couple witnesses that expectations and attitudes change. The relationship can become better with more yoga and meditation practice. We can learn how to communicate better in the relationship to be more patient and forgiving. Again and again, the cycle rotates from rosy and glorious bliss to momentary shakiness. Commitment is what holds it together when you decide not to fall apart. Spirituality is what gives the strength to see it through.

7. As a couple, have a higher goal for the welfare of the community.

When the husband and wife are simply focused on each other all the time, they quickly enter into fights. After the initial phase of marriage, where everything is magical, faults start surfacing all too soon. Lines moving towards each other only move apart after the point of intersection.

Again, when the husband and wife are not focused on each other and their goals in life are different, they stop seeing eye-to-eye with each other and communication and trust break down. Further, when the goals are only to satisfy personal desires, there is not much fulfilment or merit that is gained.

It is only when both are moving together, with their focus on a higher goal for the society, for the world, that values are upheld in the relationship and beauty, love and faith are nourished. Parallel lines move together until infinity.

Do you have this in your relationship? We need to have both personal goals and goals for the community. Only then would we have a sense of fulfilment and higher purpose. This paradigm shift in our thinking, from “What about me?” to “What can I do for others?” happens naturally when we meditate. The skill, courage, and commitment to move together, come what may, is nourished and strengthened by meditation. The deeper the foundation, the taller the building will be. Meditation brings this depth to our relationship so that our life and aspirations can reach out to the sky!

8. A relationship secret for women

The most important thing to a man is that he feels loved, respected, and appreciated at home. This means working to remember all the goodness in him and amplifying it. Positive reinforcement will not only make him feel secure and supported but will encourage him to continue to improve.

A quick tip: “The whole world may say to him that he has no brains, but you, his wife, should never say that. You should always say, ‘You are the most intelligent person on the planet. Just the fact that you don’t use your brain does not mean you don’t have it!’ You should always pump his ego. Just praise and shower him with compliments sometimes. Even when he has made some mistake, tell him that he has the ability to do better. Just that little praise will make him feel better.” Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

9. A relationship secret for men

The most important thing for a woman is that she feels heard, understood, and respected. This means listening to her with empathy, patience, and support. Emotions are very powerful, and you can easily get caught up in them.

A quick tip: As a man, it is important to deal with the woman’s emotions skillfully. Sometimes, you may have to nurture them well. Meditation brings in you the skill to be sensitive and sensible at the same time while dealing with your wife’s emotions. It gives you the ability to bring that pleasantness into the atmosphere, which is important for a healthy relationship.

10. A relationship secret for both men and women

Just like the existence of the sun during the day, certain things are very obvious and do not need any proof. Love is one of those things that doesn’t need any proof. But we look for proof of love from our partner all the time, and that is what spoils the relationship.

This one thing will save your relationship: “Never ask for proof of your partner’s love for you! Do not ask each other, ’Do you really love me?’ Even if you find something lacking, just say, ’Why do you love me so much?’ Take it for granted that they love you. Even if spring has died out, it will start again.”

 Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar