You’ve heard the statement, “fake it until you make it.” While most often used to incite courage or confidence related to things like public speaking or singing, this aphorism also applies to marriage. To enjoy a happy marriage, you may need to begin with faking these seven marriage habits.
The philosophy behind the aphorism is by faking a desired behavior, one will gain the confidence and capability to recognize the desired reality in their life. People who fear public speaking fake it by practicing in front of the mirror or family. By acting like a public speaker the person gains the confidence and experience needed to be a real public speaker.
Most married couples have a desired level of satisfaction or happiness of which they feel the marriage falls short. There are specific and simple activities that will increase the happiness and satisfaction in any marriage. The trouble is we don’t usually feel like, want to, or believe in these simple activities. When faced with this dilemma, we must fake it until we make it.
Let’s look at a few marriage habits that will certainly increase the happiness and satisfaction in your marriage. If you don’t feel like keeping these habits, that’s okay. If you don’t want to keep these habits, that’s okay. Maybe you don’t believe these habits will improve your marriage, that’s okay. Do them anyway. Fake it for now. When you see the results, your desires and beliefs will change and you will make it to the marriage happiness you desire.
Rarely are we truly ungrateful in our marriages. It’s rather the case that we are so busy we don’t recognize things about our spouse for which we should be grateful. We wait around for some mysterious epiphany of gratitude that just never comes to mind.
To foster a true spirit of gratitude, fake it until you make it. Intentionally find something every day for which you express appreciation to your spouse. It can be the smallest of things but express your gratitude anyway. “I really appreciate you taking out the trash this morning.” “Chauffeuring the kids around to all their activities is such a big task. I really appreciate what you do for them.” As you work to mention appreciation for these small things, your mind and heart will develop true gratitude.
This marriage habit could also be described as listening. However, we tend to fail to listen to our spouse because we lack curiosity about our spouse. So maintaining the habit of curiosity is deeper than just active listening skills.
You may not be interested in all the ins and outs of your spouse’s day. You may even fear the barrage of words that will pile upon you if you show interest in their day. Fake it anyway. Ask the open-ended questions of your spouse. “How was your day? Tell me about it.” Listen intently as they answer. You may not be interested in the details they share, but you will certainly be interested in the happiness it brings to your spouse.
Having covered curiosity (or listening), I have to cover talking. After all, we can’t really have one without the other. Please take special note, this talking isn’t an opportunity to unload all the complaints and negativity you’ve bottled up.
So you don’t really want to talk about your day, do it anyway. You don’t really think your spouse cares about your feelings, tell them anyway. It feels like your spouse’s new found curiosity about your day is forced or fake; it probably is and you should tell them anyway.
Tim Keller, in his book The Meaning of Marriage, says “Whether we are husband or wife, we are not to live for ourselves but for the other. And that is the hardest yet single most important function of being a husband or a wife in marriage.” The single most important function in marriage is to live for our spouse.
We don’t always feel like living for our spouse. My wife’s love language is acts of service. She feels loved when I wash the dishes, fold the towels, sweep the floors, or any other household chore. I will never have an innate desire to wash dishes, but I do desire to love my wife. Therefore I will serve her and wash those dishes with a smile on my face.
All the high desire spouses are asking why I didn’t mention this one first. I understand your question, but please understand I’m not making a point about frequency here. Instead, I’m trying to free your marriage relationship from all the pressures associated with sex.
Too many married couples are awaiting the magical moments of matching libidos. We’ve over-romanticized physical intimacy in marriage because that’s what we’ve seen in the movies. A sexual desire may not be present at the moment, but the marriage relationship needs physical intimacy. Don’t be surprised when the sexual desire shows up during the act, which never would have happened if you hadn’t faked it in the beginning.
I’ve heard so many people say they feel like their prayers don’t make it past the ceiling. I totally get the feeling. To compound the challenge, praying with our spouse isn’t always desirable.
You don’t feel close to God or like he is listening, so you don’t pray. The relationship with your spouse is rocky because of a big fight, so you don’t pray. Fake it anyway. Even when you don’t feel like or want to pray with your spouse, do it anyway. You will be shocked how many marriage arguments are resolved by a simple and humble prayer.
By definitions, forgiveness is granted to those that don’t deserve it. Therefore, it’s hard. Offenses are even more painful when they come from our spouse. There is great truth is the saying, “we hurt most those we love most.”
You will not feel like or want to forgive your spouse at times. Do it anyway. Even remind yourself constantly that you’ve forgiven your spouse. Forgiveness isn’t condoning another’s behavior, but relinquishing the right to punish. Forgiveness is also freeing yourself from the bondage of anger and revenge. Forgiveness brings about quick closure to offenses that would otherwise fester and destroy any hope of happiness in the marriage.
There you have it. Seven marriage habits you won’t always feel like or want to keep. If you keep them anyway, you are well on your way to happy and satisfying marriage.