Sunday, July 3, 2011

Top Tips Towards a Happier Marriage

Below is my take on what works for us.  Please let me say no one was harmed in the making of this blog, even the Beach House Brat, who looks like he about to fall off a cliff in some of these photos.  Here he is at the beginning of a cliff top path that the rock fishermen use.  I don't like him standing here but Mr Beach House lets him.  This is one difference in our parenting styles for sure.

So here are my tips:
  1. Accept that you are the only person you can control and are therefore completely responsible for your own happiness and success in life.

2.  Pick a great guy from the start.  Make sure the basics are there in terms of kindness, respect and good character.  The looks and passion thing fades pretty quickly once the kiddos come along and you are fighting over who gets to sleep in and the division of labour re parenting. Even though Mr Beach House is a great guy, he is at times, very unreliable…… I should have seen this before we were married, when he failed to show up for the spreading of my father’s ashes and went sailing instead.  I was so madly in love with him, that I let it go. But over the last ten years, I have let him know that failure to support me on the biggies, is completely unacceptable and he has smartened up his act big time. Despite this hicccup, I remember walking down the aisle, or should I say the grassy knoll at the beach, being completely happy with my decision to marry him and being totally in love with him.  Being completely sure, is a fundamental starting point, as it creates a good base upon which to begin walking that rocky road together called marriage.
  1. Let them go on boys’ weekends/trips willingly.  This is a hard one for me, as the resentment starts to build if I am constantly left holding the child rearing and household 'bag', whilst he is out whooping it up with his mates.  But he usually comes back very rejuvenated and is a nicer person for it.  I have known marriages to fold over this one issue. He often takes the first Beach House Brat to sail with him these days and of course their time together is invaluable. If the weekend away revolves around participation in sport, all the better.  Not only is he improving his fitness, but if there is sport involved, he is less likely to stray.  Mr Beach House attends lots of local and international sailing regattas and I always let him know that any infidelity will not be tolerated in anyway and if so, he would destroy his family life.  Luckily he is not a player, but just so we are clear.  He has said the same to me.  I completely respect that and live by it!!!!  I must say he has never denied me any time away alone, that I have wanted.  Even though it's rare for me to go away, it is really worth it when I do!!!
  1. Try hard to spend time together alone. Date night is a great idea, unfortunately we don't do this often, but we should.  It is in these moments alone with Mr Beach House, that I remember why I married him. The only thing we really fight over is the parenting of the Beach House Brats and him always putting himself first.   So when it’s just the two of us, those two things are non existent and we have a great time. 
  1. Be a good listener and support your partner wherever possible.  Mr Beach House is very involved in the building of kids racing dinghies.  The sailing class associations can make or break your business by changes to the boat design rules on a whim.  This has almost sent us broke on several occasions.  You’d think it was the America’s Cup the way some of these parents go on.  But it has not been unusual for Mr Beach House to have to recall many boats and amend them so they match with the recently changed class rules.  This can involve weeks of work without income.  I can tell you this has nearly broken him several times and I have tried to be nothing but supportive when it’s going on.
  1. Have some of your own ‘running away’ money that your partner knows nothing about……My mum taught me this years ago and this one is a deal breaker for me.  It means I never have to go cap in hand to Mr Beach House for funds to do something I really want to.  I have even used this money on minor renovations around the house, that Mr BH never gets around to.  I call it running away money, but it doesn’t have to be for running away.  It’s so that you can have financial control and go away for a weekend with the girls or do what ever you want….within reason, to refresh your batteries and generally increase your happiness.
  1. Never shame your partner in public, especially if he is there.  Although I have vented plenty of times about him when he is not there, I would never seek to embarrass or discredit him in a social setting.  Venting to a trusted friend in private, is perhaps a little disloyal, but I am the kind of person who wears her heart on her sleeve, so talking about it helps me to gain perspective.  But I would never ever shame him in public in order to gain some kind of pseudo sympathy from others.  In public, we are as one!!!!!  He is really good fun socially and we are at our best in company, so why ruin a beautiful thing.
  1. Consider the alternative……..If I left Mr Beach House I am looking at a life in financial penury.  Yes it sounds callous, but lets be practical here. Once we split the assets, at Sydney prices, I would be lucky to buy a tiny apartment, in which the kiddos would be sharing a bedroom and I would have to pack shelves at Woolworths, so as to fit in with their busy lives.  Absolutely nothing wrong with packing shelves at Woollies by the way, but this is not what I spent all those years at university studying for.
  1. Do a marriage course to improve your communication….our local church ran one and I can’t tell you how it improved our marriage.  It involved a group dinner and then we retired as couples to work through the issues, so there was no public discussion which was reassuring, especially for the guys.  The one thing that I remember is that we had to discuss one thing our partner had done that had been unforgivable.  Mine was that Mr Beach House had left me at the hospital soon after delivering our first child.  I was hemorrhaging badly and was being worked on by the doctors at a furious pace.  I had harboured deep resentment that I had just produced a son and he had left me there in the middle of the night, as I was bleeding to death.  In the marriage course forum, I was able to legitimately bring it up and he told me that he had left because the nurse had told him to go.  That was something I had never known and I was immediately able to forgive him.
  1. Accentuate the positive……Look at what you have, not what you don’t.  A pretty good husband…..far from perfect, but hey so am I!!!  Healthy happy well adjusted kids.  Living by the beach in a beautiful city and a fabulous local community, that pulls together in times of trouble.  Lovely friends and family.  Enough income to put food on the table….usually anyway.  Life ain’t bad and I’m betting I’ll look back on these, as some of the happiest days of my life.
  1. And if all else fails make your home as beautiful as you can, pump up the music, pour yourself a drink and if the good times outweigh the bad, hang in there with your partner, as the devil you know is usually better than the devil you don’t. The institution of marriage is a tough game, but one I would rather be in than not.   I would say my married life is as much fun as my single days, but I was in my 20’s and early 30’s then. These days I don’t want to be the ageing single, who is left off the guest list, lest she become a threat to other peoples’ husbands....sad but true. This is really one place where the sisterhood needs work.  I'm probably starting to offend people with comments like these, so I'll quit now!!! 
But I’m sticking with Mr Beach House, lets just hope he sticks with me!!!!!!!! 
These are my tips for happiness together...whatever that is.  I accept the good with the bad and that as a couple, sometimes we fly and other times we crash.  Do you have any tips on how to achieve a happier marriage? !!!!


  1. I agree with your list. I only have one thing I have to deal with that I don't like that you didn't mention. If I had met his family before I married him I wouldn't have married him otherwise, everything is perfect. He purposely kept me from meeting them and we had a small wedding with just two of my family. As the years go by it hasn't gotten better but worse.

  2. Well, we've made it 50 years, Carolyn ... so I guess I'm not going to trade him in to see if any of these things work ... chuckle. Great share.

    May her flag fly high & proud forever over this great land ... may God see the changes we need & grant us that blessing.

    Happy 4th, my friend,

    TTFN ~

  3. great post.
    we've made 20 years (we married when i was 21!) - and much of what you write works for us also.
    reading your list reminds me to keep an eye on things that with 3 kids can so easily slip away.
    thanks for posting this.
    cheryl xox.

  4. Sorry I was such a downer. It's been 26 years of bliss.

  5. well we're actually not married..lived together for nearly 10 years, had kids and thought why change it. been together now 30 years! through the ups and downs, i guess life is like that. oh and i know what you mean about kids near the edge of cliffs. it terrifies me but my partner is relaxed about it. lovely pics of your area!
    cheryl x

  6. Great post...Thank you so much for sharing...Xo, Meme

  7. Another great post Carolyn, my husband and I have been married 20 years this year and its not always easy but we muddle through.. I only wish he WOULD go away for boy weekends :)... think I'm going to suggest that to him x

  8. fab post mate, read your blog every day (hubby might be going to france again next yr but for 3 mths this time, I will go pick him up, come with me!) I agree with everything you wrote, esp the time out for both of you separately, and the date night, or the hotel night away together every 6 mths etc...really gives life a boost and something to look forward to. One tip (that I am trying to do) is be each others biggest cheerleader, and also dont sweat the small stuff. If it isnt going to effect your eternal destiny LET IT GO. Pick ya fights basically. Have a great week, keep up the good work, you are made for the internet!! Nic

  9. Thanks so much for linking up! I love this post the photos are gorgeous as always and it's so very honest!

  10. Mel@georgica PondJuly 5, 2011 at 3:52 PM

    Very sage advice. Making marriage work is all about commitment and compromise, not love, not sex, not romance, just the commitment to stick out and work through the ups and downs. It's hard when you're young to think that marriage will be anything but all rose coloured glasses, but the fact is it's generally a pretty hard grind a lot of the time and made even more so with young kids. The up side of course is travelling through life with a partner and soul mate, if you're lucky enough to find one, to have someone who you know has your back no matter what, and it's nice to wake up to the same old, crumpled familiar face every morning.

  11. I very much agree with you! This is my second marriage and we've been going strong for almost 20 years. Rollercoaster and smooth sailing, been through it all. Acceptance, tolerance and commitment is the key. And lucky enough to have found someone who goes by the same motto.

  12. I love this post! Thanks for sharing your wisdom and advice;much appreciated!

    Best wishes,

  13. These are much-needed tips. I appreciate your sharing these with us. I've written a book, Phantom Seven, (coming out this summer) about seven WWII veterans who each was married once for a lifetime. I'm so impressed with the stability, the loyalty they had for keeping their marriages together. That loyalty is something we desperately need in this 21st century. Thank you for sharing! Have a blessed week.

  14. some excellent advice...often people are willing to quit way too easily...and after all, no one ever promised that this marriage thing was a piece of cake...thanks for sharing at fridays unfolded!

    stuff and nonsense

  15. love this post, esp the part about the runaway money. i could see that solving plenty of issues around here

  16. Marry your best friend and don't sweat the small stuff! We have been together 30 years and happily married for 20+.

  17. Sweet tips! love your happy marriage advice! Hugs! tracie

  18. Great advice. Love your sweet photos! Thanks for linking up to Share the Love Wednesday--hope you'll be back this week!

  19. Thank you for sharing :)
    Compared to a lot of you ladies, I have been married very few years and appreciate every little piece of advice I can get my hands on.
    Great Post, thanks!
    ♥ Bibi

  20. Hi Carolyn, thank you for your wise tips for a happier marriage. This is very timely for me, it's also good to know thers feel the same as you. Thank you for a great site :)))


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