(I first posted this 25 TIPS for Married Couples on July 19, 2014. I moved it to current for the benefit of OMB’s new readers. Hope this helps.)
More than half of married couples are no longer IN-LOVE with each other.
Most of them despise each other. Unknowingly, they sometimes ridicule each other because they no longer are sensitive to the other person’s feelings.
They have become more vocal of what’s in their minds and are no longer mindful of the spouse’s sensitivities. Kilig Love is no longer in the air rather it’s replaced with constant irritation and annoyance. The spouse becomes the last and least priority, but the first subject of your bad mood.
To keep the marriage alive and to live in peaceful harmony with your spouse, one must make a lot of adjustments, compromises, even sacrifices. It’s helpful to once in a while stop and look into your heart. Do you still want to continue life with this person? Is he/she important to you? How? Why? Is it only because of “matagal ng pinagsamahan” or there’s still spark or genuine love?
Are you nagtatyaga lang because of your children? Nakaka-gilting iwan? This realizations and rationalizations are important for both of you. To be fair, kasi kung nasusuka ka na talaga sa kanya, then you should sit down and talk about how you would take the next step of living life without each other. I know this is easier said than done. But I think it should be this way.
The following simple tips are based on the presumption that you still love and care for each other and you still want to live together.
1. BUY your own toothpaste. Do not share a tube. Do not mind how your partner squeezes the tube, from the bottom, middle or top part.
2. RESPECT each other’s tastes. “Bakit ang hilig-hilig mo sa abstract eh mas maganda ang landscape”.
3. WATCH A MOVIE TOGETHER just like what you used to do when you were still sweethearts or newly married. You don’t have to kiss every time the actors were not looking, but just sit there and hold hands.
4. PUT DOWN YOUR PHONE while dining together or while you are having a conversation and are in front of each other. There is plenty of time to look at other people’s lives on Facebook. Check your own life first, that’s more important.
5. BE INTERESTED IN EACH OTHER. Show genuine interest in what your spouse likes doing. Edmund plays golf. I don’t. But when he is in the mood to talk about it, I seriously listen. Trying to understand the terminologies. I have picked up a lot of golf terms kaya I am mistaken as a golfer. He has gained a lot of new friends from golf and I have trouble keeping track of their names due to my poor memory retention. I have very few friends but Edmund is not interested to know their names. One time I threw a tantrum while we were in a restaurant kasi on that day alone, I have made kwento several times and mentioned about the name of a female friend of mine. And every single time I would mention her name to Edmund, he would automatically ask “Sino yun?” and obvious naman na tanong lang hindi naman talaga nakikinig. That’s why I got hurt and cried. I also got so inis because he could remember the names of his golf friends’ wives. Tapos iisa lang ang kaibigan ko hindi pa nya matandaan.
6. COMMUNICATE… Do not pretend to be listening to his/her stories but actually you’re not listening. You’re looking at your phone and have totally forgotten that someone more important is right in front of you. One of this days that person would be gone, either passed on, moved on, or have left you so be appreciative of his/her presence.
7. Be thoughtful— remember family occasions. Give gifts or something that would make the other person feel special. Doesn’t have to be expensive. It’s not about money or material goods. It’s about being given some kind of importance.
8. Do you want to feel loved and wanted? Give your love too. I want you to interpret this yourself.
9. Express your affections by holding hands, touching each other or hugging, kissing. Affection is not just sex. Unless you have no more physical attraction, then that’s a problem. If you can hug and beso-beso other people, why can’t you do the same to your spouse? Nakaka-diri na ba sya? Then you should get out of that relationship now.
10. Be the best of friends. Your spouse must be your best friend. Good times and bad, you should be happy together. When your family is being blessed with many things, share your successes with your spouse. When things are tough, then you should be able to draw strength from each other. You are a team. Go out together like barkada. Enjoy each others company. Share your petty stories with his/her. Are you even Facebook friends?
11. A happy marriage starts with the right foundation. Show your love and care early on. Even if you love each other but you’ve gotten used to holding back your affection because of hurt feelings, it would deepen thru the years and would be hard to forget, and your gap would become wider. It would be difficult to start again. So if there’s something the other person did, sabihin na agad.
I erred in this aspect. Marami akong ipinagtampo kay Edmund nung bago pa lang kami, but I just kept it inside me for fear that he would accuse me of being a nagger or makulit or matampuhin, but 20 years later, it’s still here. In the process, parang lumayo ang loob ko. I am sure he also felt the same way.
12. If you don’t like your in-laws and/or they don’t like you, keep away. Avoid them. Limit your interaction to every quarter, quarter of a century.
There’s nothing that you could say or do that would change the situation. You may try to belong in the beginning, but after a while, it’s useless if your plateaus are different. What is more important is that your family is living in harmony without your in-laws’ help or interaction. Treat them as acquaintances, kung masalubong mo sa mall, smile then leave. Huwag makipag plastican. Never mind if they would be offended. Even if you stopped and kissed their foreheads, hands, knees and butts, they would still have an opinion so what difference does it make.
13. Have your own separate toilet and bath. Exceptions are those who bathe and poo together. Darling, that’s so big, your poo poo. If you have a small house, then give each other space. Be considerate. Huwag ka namang mag-make up sa loob ng banyo ng isang oras.
14. When you’re dining together and you have excess food, please ask first your spouse if he/she would like to eat your left-over. Do not dump it basta na lang on his/her plate. That is not funny.
15. Focus on his/her good qualities and not on the negatives. Ang taba naman ng legs mo, maugat ang kamay mo, …
16. Never compare him/her with others. Mas malaki ang ABS ni neighbor sa iyo. Ang pangit mo. If your spouse is ugly, you only have yourself to blame. Why did you marry this person in the first place. Bulag ka pa nun? Ngayon mulat na mulat ka na.
17. Do not waste each others time… Sayang ang panahon. If you’re still young, make the most out of your life together, be happy together. Appreciate each other. If you’re old na, sex may no longer be in the horizon, but there are many things you still can do together to enjoy both your life together. Remember, it’s unfair if you are enjoying in your own world and you’re leaving your spouse behind sulking alone. You married to have a companion forever. so unfair if you would live as if you have no PBB housemate.
18. Introduce his/her to your friends or associates when you bump into them.
19. Do not be a Kill Joy. Maki ride ka lang. Do not go out with your family tapos lagi kang naka simangot. Do not be grouchy. You make it obvious that you’d rather be with your friends or with someone else. Your attitude and bad mood radiate to your children too not just to your spouse. By having that kind of attitude, you make it obvious that they are not wanted and loved.
20. Do not compete with your spouse. Be happy for his/her success. Be proud of each other. If one is more successful, that has no bearing. The success of one is the success of the whole family. You will never achieve your goals without the support of your spouse/family. Share your life and happiness with them.
21. Do not control your spouse’s life. Do not be manipulative.
22. Maintain financial independence. Share your money with each other but keep some for yourself. I know of some men who couldn’t even buy the car they wanted because the wife would not agree. I’ve seen women shopping but when it’s time to pay, she would go out of the store and look for her husband so he could pay.
We have a security who was able to save more than a million pesos and built 4 houses, because he worked as bodyguard of a known jueteng lord where money flowed like water. Yung mga coins daw eh pinapala lang kasi sa dami. And everyday, 15 of them collected saku-sakong pera. His wife spent all his savings. Sold all his houses, and everytime his wife asked for money, he would give all his extra money, hanggang naubos. He has sold his motorbike naiwan na lang sa kanya helmet.
23. Do not live in your parents in-law;s house unless for a few weeks vacation only. Have your own house/condo/apartment, not adjacent to your in-law’s. Maintain independence. You would want to decorate your own house, cook your own food, etc. Even if your in-laws are mabait naman, once you live together under one roof, things could change. Your mother in law would begin to notice “Ay hindi naman pala sya marunong magluto, Ay tanghali ng gumising, Ay gabi na umuuwi, “Ay magastos, mahilig magshopping”. There are people who live in harmony with their in-laws. Men can live with in-laws, women cannot.
Maswerte ka kung your mother-in-law genuinely cares for your children and when you travel, pwede mong ihabilin ang mga anak mo. Malaking bagay yun.
Have your own house. It’s okay to let your in-laws live with you, IN YOUR OWN HOUSE, not you living in theirs.
24. Give each other priority. If there’s a holiday, before you make any plans of going out with your friends or whoever, give your spouse the right of first refusal. Ask first if he/she would like to go some place, window shopping, or eat or watch a movie. This is about giving importance to each other and not just treating your spouse like a dorm-mate.
25. Try to find a reason to fall in love with him/her again. Again and again.