When we get married, we make a lot of promises to our beloved - to ‘love and to cherish, in sickness and in heath, for as long as you both shall live’.
But what promises do we make to ourselves when we get married?
When we go through patches where the day-to-day grind becomes a struggle, and our batteries become burnt out and empty, our general happiness tends to disintegrate - along with the quality of our social interactions.
And as a result, our marriage suffers.
We fall into a trap where all we think about is the negative. All we notice is the negative. Our conversations become more negative. Our self-views become more negative.
We lose the ability to give, because we have nothing to give.
But are we to always rely on our spouses to pick us up when we fall down? Perhaps, if we lived in a Disney-world.
But the reality is, as much as we need our spouse’s support, sometimes we need to take responsibility for restoring our own happiness and wellbeing. Especially when you are going through a difficult time in your marriage.
It’s time to make a change - starting with making some promises to yourself. Promises to accept responsibility for taking care of YOU in your marriage so you will continue to age with confidence and happiness by your spouse's side.
You deserve to be loved and you deserve to be happy.
Make these 8 marriage vows to yourself today, and start seeing immediate positive changes in your mood, health, and marital satisfaction.
1. I promise to love myself
Right now, you need to start loving yourself. Loving and accepting yourself for all that you are.
Chances are, you have been viewing yourself far too negatively lately. Sure, there may be some areas you want to improve on – we all have these. But if you don’t love who you are as a person, how can you expect your spouse to love you?
It’s time to remind yourself of all of your great qualities and features. Try writing these down, and repeating them to yourself once every day.
Remember, you deserved to be loved and this has to start with you.
2. I promise to be happy
Pay attention to the things that make you happy in life.
When you are in a negative frame of mind, you tend to only notice the negatives, while missing all of the positives that are happening around you.
Try to break this habit by actively making yourself acknowledge and take in the positives. For example, the compliment you received at work, the warm sun outside, the nice text you received from a friend.
Another trick is to force yourself to smile, even if you’re not really feeling like it. Smiling, even if it is not genuine to begin with, will trigger automatic responses in your brain telling you that you are happy – which can actually have a significant impact on your mood.
3. I promise to keep up the things I enjoy
Think back to the person you were when you met your spouse. What were your interests? What made you happy? What made you unique?
Now think about yourself as you are today.
Do you still keep up some of these interests? What do you enjoy doing in your own time? Do you make time for yourself?
A strong marriage is one in which both members understand that their spouse needs to take part in outside interests in order to feel happy and fulfilled.
Outside hobbies will keep you and your spouse fresh in the marriage, fuelling new interest in one another, as well as topics for conversation.
Spending the occasional period of time apart doing what you each enjoy is healthy. It’s good to have some shared interests, but not to become a clone of each other.
If you have given up hobbies during your marriage due to lack of time or other commitments, try to make time for them again. Encourage your spouse to do the same. Giving each other this time is a gift that will be repaid tenfold in your marital satisfaction.
4. I promise to look after my health
One of the biggest signs of self-respect is when someone really takes care of their health.
This involves practices such as going to the doctor regularly for check-ups or concerns, allowing your body to rest when you’re tired or unwell, and choosing to maintain a reasonably healthy diet, to give your body all the essential vitamins and nutrients it needs.
If you’re physically burnt-out, you’re guaranteed to be feeling it mentally and emotionally as well. Get your body in order first, so you have the resources to cope with life’s problems.
5. I promise to maintain a reasonable level of fitness
Regular exercise has so many benefits for your health and wellbeing!
Working up a regular sweat will have significant effects on prolonging your life, improving your mood, reducing stress, speeding up your metabolism, boosting your brain power, increasing your sex drive, building strength and agility, and keeping your body in great shape.
With all of these undeniable benefits, it’s time to ditch the excuses and get out your trainers. There are so many types of exercise and sports to choose from, so go for something you will be able to keep up and enjoy.
6. I promise to work towards the goals I want to achieve
Having goals in life is really important. If we don’t have goals, what are we living for? These don’t have to be anything extreme, like ‘climb Mt Everest’; they could simply be things like ‘be a good parent’ or ‘run a 5K in 6 months time’.
If you don’t have any goals in mind right now, try having a think about what you still want to achieve in your future, and write ideas down as you go. You might be surprised about what you come up with.
The next step is writing a plan of action for these goals, and discussing them over with your spouse and family. It is far easier to achieve goals if you have the support of loved ones.
You can then start putting these plans into action. It may be tough, but keep working at whatever you want to achieve until you get there. It will be well worth it at the finish line!
7. I promise to take pride in my appearance
Do you look in the mirror and like what you see? Are you happy with the way you look?
If you’re not, it’s time to make a few changes – whether it be in the way you are viewing yourself, or in your actual self-presentation.
Remember that physically, none of us are perfect.
We all have aspects of ourselves that are particularly attractive, as well as parts that we wish we could change.
The trick is to accentuate what we do have, rather than try to hide our flaws. Because it is our positive aspects that other people tend to notice.
For example, if you have great legs, don’t hide them beneath baggy sweatpants – get out those shorts or slim-fitting jeans to show them off in the best way possible. And don’t forget about showing that great smile – this instantly boosts attractiveness.
If you feel you have been slacking a little in your self-presentation lately, here are some quick tips for instant positive results:
- Get a haircut (and make sure you keep it regularly washed and maintained).
- Make sure that your clothes fit well, are in good condition, and suit you. It they don’t, it might be time to go shopping. If you need help, take someone with you that will give you their honest opinion on how well the clothes suit you.
- Maintain a high level of personal hygiene. This includes brushing and flossing teeth, showering regularly, and using a good deodorant.
8. I promise to love my family
Sometimes love is involuntary, like the love we have for our children.
Other times loving someone is a choice. You can choose to love your spouse, even when times are tough in your marriage.
You can start rekindling your love for your spouse today in the same way you can re-learn to love yourself. This is by making a conscious effort to take in all of the positive things your spouse is doing and saying, and trying to let some of the negatives go.
Make the choice today to love your family. Give them the gift of your time, love and attention.
But just remember to love yourself first.
If you keep working on YOU, your marriage will stay fresh and vital.
Instead of feeling tired, run down, unfulfilled and unhealthy, you will again become an energetic, confident person who pays attention to the positives. Basically, a person other people want to be around. A person people want to love.
A person your spouse will notice again, if they are needing a bit of a wake-up call to the amazing person they have right beside them.
If you haven’t been receiving the love you deserve from your spouse, this is all the more reason to maintain a strong sense of love and respect for yourself. This will give you the strength to fight for your marriage, while still knowing that you are capable of being independent of your spouse.
Furthermore, if your spouse would also benefit from working on some of these areas, hopefully your commitment to nurturing yourself and pursuing your interests will spark motivation for them to do the same.
Make these vows to yourself today, to restore love within yourself, and your marriage.