A Checklist for a Happy Marriage

Two years ago today my husband and I were surrounded by our closest friends and family for our wedding. After dating for 6 years we decided to take the plunge at El Conquistador Resort & Spa in Fajardo, Puerto Rico. It was Memorial Day weekend and our guests flew from all over the country to share our special day with us. Although the weather wasn’t perfect (it rained a bit) – the day was everything we had imagined. The venue was wonderful, I loved my dress and I found a great place for mens rings (my husband loves his very much!)

We got to spend the entire weekend with our guests – eating gourmet food, drinking yummy cocktails, laying on the beach, enjoying the golf course and relaxing at the spa! It was really a wedding in paradise. I must say we’ve had a wonderful two years so far and I’m looking forward to what fabulousness is ahead!

But I realize that marriage is not always so wonderful and that it’s hard work. No one will tell you that better than author Alisa Bowman. I met Alisa a few years ago as she was writing her book, “Project Happily Ever After.” She started a blog of the same name first because she fantasized about her husband dying. Yep – you read correctly –she dreamed he was dead because she was so unhappy in her marriage! She had the details of his funeral all planned out – down to the food and beer she would serve!

But before signing divorce papers Alisa decided to do anything she could to save her marriage. After reading many self-help books and trying any quirky remedies they suggested – Alisa and her husband are now living “happily ever after.” They’ve renewed their wedding vows and their relationship is much stronger.

Here is her checklist for giving your marriage its best shot before calling it quits:

What to Ask Yourself Before Asking Your Spouse for a Divorce

by Alisa Bowman

1. Have you tried to save your marriage? Starting a marriage improvement project and having it fail is the only foolproof way to know if your marriage is truly doomed. No quiz from a magazine or advice from a friend will let you know for sure.

2. Do you remember why you got married in the first place? Chances are you were like most couples and you married for love (and not for money, convenience, or because you were coerced). Remembering why you once fell in love will help you to determine if that quality is still present.

3. Are you picturing divorce accurately? Many people imagine themselves with a full social life, one filled with lots of romantic dates, post-divorce. In reality, most divorcees spend many weeks, months, years and even the rest of their lifetimes alone.

4. Have you worked on your stuff? It takes two people to have a bad marriage. Improve your communication, assertiveness, conflict resolution, problem solving and anger management skills now. Even if doing so doesn’t save this marriage, it will help you in life and in future relationships.

5. Are you doing this out of spite? If you ask for a divorce, you probably won’t be able to take back the words. Make sure you really mean them before you voice them.

Alisa Bowman is the author of Project: Happily Ever After, the story of how she saved her marriage. She is the creator of ProjectHappilyEverAfter.com.

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