January 1st. The day of fresh starts and new beginnings. The day we vow to eat more green vegetables, actually use our gym membership, and try, once again, to lose those hard to lose pounds. As we look to the new year, we often focus on ways to be “better” — resolving to do more of what’s good for us and less of what’s not. To (at least most of the time) come from our best. For a good many of us, finding ways to have a more satisfying marriage is high on our list.

But in our rush for improvement, we overlook this key fact: Much of what makes marriage challenging is the stuff that’s not easily changed. The stuff that’s more about who we are and what we value. The stuff that can, unfortunately, drive us totally nuts.

Such as a spouse’s need for order or solitude, or another’s call to adventure. A tendency to dawdle or multi-task, a penchant for losing one’s keys. This year, rather than list out your goals for change, why not commit to change nothing at all?

No, I’m not suggesting you live under miserable conditions with a spouse who’s mean, or ignores you, or makes you sleep on the couch. And I’m not saying you can’t also lay plans to, say, leave work by 6:30, or learn how to forgive.

I’m suggesting that you vow to make peace with your spouse just as he or she is. Including her messiness, grumpiness, pickiness. His shoes left underfoot. His procrastination. His terrible jokes. Think it’s impossible?

I promise, it isn’t. If you’re up for the challenge, I suggest you start here:

1. Take stock of what’s good.

2. Right-size your complaints.

3. Come down to earth.

4. Venture into new worlds.

5. Take a walk on the wild side.

6. Laugh.

7. Open your arms.

For details, read more … How to Have a Happier Marriage — Without Changing a Thing|Winifred M. Reilly

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