- 6 Things You Should Be Doing With Your Spouse That You Probably Aren’t
- Want a Happy Marriage? Partners Should Be Doing These 6 Things for Each Other Often, According to Science
- 1. Exercise (or play sports) together
- 2. Focus on the positives
- 3. Share household chores
- 4. Have a “growth mindset” of working and growing together
- 5. Openly share about your relationships with others
- 6. Be attractive for each other, and not just physically
- 6 Secrets to Divorce-Proofing Your Marriage
- 11 Things You Can Do Right Now to Improve Your Marriage
- 1. Go on a Date
- 2. Say, “I Love You”
- 3. Be Intimate
- 4. Say I’m Sorry
- 5. Forgive
- 6. Let Go of “The List”
- 7. Play a Game
- 8. Surprise Him
- 9. Give Him a Compliment
- 10. Be Honest about Money
- 11. Show Appreciation
- 21 Ways to Maintain a Healthy Marriage
- 6 Things You Can Do to Make Your Marriage Stronger
6 Things You Should Be Doing With Your Spouse That You Probably Aren’t
By Lesli White lesli white
Anyone who’s been in a marriage knows that it’s challenging, even when the relationship is good. If you’ve been feeling something hasn’t been quite right lately, it could be because there are things to do in the relationship that you’ve been letting slide or simply not doing at all.
While many of us know the traits of a successful marriage, we often find ourselves still falling short in many of these areas. It’s not that we lack the time or the know-how, but we often lack the focus to be intentional in our marriages.
While this might sound discouraging, the great thing is that there are things we can do to make our marriages better and stronger before it’s too late. The most important thing is that you recognize when there’s a problem and understand what you might be doing to contribute to it.
Here are six things you should be doing with your spouse.
You may think your spouse knows how much you appreciate them, but not telling or showing your partner how much you value them can make them feel you don’t care, or that you take them for granted. This is especially common after the honeymoon phase of a relationship.
You don’t have to do something grandiose to show your partner that you appreciate them. It can be something as simple as sending a cute text message, offering them hug when they walk in from work, or giving them a small “just because” gift.
You’ll be surprised how much showing your partner a little extra love and appreciation can impact your relationship.
It is one thing to confide in family and friends about issues that are showing up in the marriage, but it’s another thing when you’re spreading private details about your partner and personal matters with others. You should treat your partner’s private life with respect, especially when it comes to friends and mutual acquaintances.
When you don’t keep their business private, you’re betraying your partner. Ask yourself would you be OK with his friends being told the same things you’re sharing? What happens in any relationship is between the two people involved, no one else. You don’t need anyone else’s opinion, just your own.
Respect your partner and keep private details to yourself.
It’s easy to keep our thoughts and feelings inside when something bothers us or when we’re worried it will upset the other person. But one of the best things you can do in your marriage is openly communicate with your partner, even when it’s embarrassing.
Even if you feel your partner won’t respond well to what you have to say, they will appreciate your honesty over anything else. This helps eliminate confusion and misunderstandings. Being completely transparent with your partner is not everyone’s strong suit.
It takes practice and determination to get it right, but when you do, it will make your relationship all the better.
Don’t use accusatory “you” statements in your marriage. Instead, use “I” statements. Nobody s to be told what to do, and when you use “you” language plus a directive during an argument, it’s easy for resentment and defensiveness to show up.
The great thing about “I” statements is that they reduce blame by taking ownership of your feelings. When you use them, you are telling your partner why you are upset in a particular situation.
These statements will not only empower you, but also reduce perceptions of manipulation in your communication.
Learning the way you and your partner express and interpret love is one of the best things you can do for your relationship. Whether your marriage is in a really strong place or a really weak place, knowing each other’s love language will help you experience deeper and richer levels of intimacy with your partner.
Gary Chapman, author of “The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts,” encourages you and your partner to discover each other's love language so that you can understand how you both communicates and loves best.
Once you know your partner’s love language, you will know what makes them tick and respond accordingly.
Every time you and your spouse pray separately for one another, great things happen. But when you pray together, the power of that prayer increases tremendously, along with the results. Going to God in prayer as a couple can benefit your marriage in so many ways.
All marriages have problems because they are made up of two imperfect people. But when God is added to the equation, then you have unlimited possibilities for drawing closer to what He intended for your marriage.
God can work on any problem in your marriage, or any matter of the heart if you invite Him in to do so.
Making each other happy in a marriage all the time is no easy feat. There are things married couples are doing every day to make each other happy, but there are also things married couples should be doing that they aren’t. If you care about your marriage and want to see it grow, consider doing these six things.
Change can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be something that destroys your marriage. Read next feature >
Want a Happy Marriage? Partners Should Be Doing These 6 Things for Each Other Often, According to Science
For what seems decades now, I've been reading the research that happy marriages lead to happy lives. Well, duh. Who wants to come home every night to a battlefield of heated arguments, shouting, and yelling?
But a recent study published in the journal Health Psychology, which captured interview responses from more than 19,000 married people up to age 90 between 1978 and 2010, has elevated the marriage conversation to, quite literally, an issue of life or death.
As reported in Time, “married people who rated their unions as 'very happy' or 'pretty happy' had roughly 20 percent lower odds of dying early than people who said their marriages were 'not too happy,'” according to the study.
Study co-author Mark Whisman, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of Colorado Boulder, said that marriage “provides people with meaningful roles and identity, a purpose in life, a sense of security.” He added, “Those kind of psychological factors might influence health,” which points to a better outlook on your mental and physical well-being.
If you're in an unhappy marriage now, there's hope. Even if you're happily married, there are things you can start doing to make your partnership even stronger, and, in the end, live long enough “till death do us part.”
1. Exercise (or play sports) together
A new study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings finds that the social interaction involved in partner and team sports may add more years to your life than solo exercise.
When you play, for example, tennis, badminton, or racquetball with your significant other, these activities are better for longevity than standard solo activities jogging or cycling.
“If you're interested in exercising for health and longevity and well-being, perhaps the most important feature of your exercise regimen is that it should involve a playdate,” study co-author James O'Keefe told Time.
2. Focus on the positives
Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist and chief scientific adviser to Match.
com, scanned the brains of couples in long-term partnerships to find that the happiest ones sustain their relationships by overlooking what they don't about something or someone and focusing on what they do .
She says in an interview with Vox, “You want a happy marriage? Do all those things that psychologists and others might suggest, but this is what the brain says: Express empathy, control your own emotions, and overlook the negatives in your partner and focus on the positives.”
3. Share household chores
I'm only citing the research so don't kill the messenger, if you're the guilty one. In a study from the Council on Contemporary Families, researchers found that dishwashing causes more relationship distress than any other household task.
So when women feel stuck doing the dishes, they feel significantly unhappier with their relationships (and their sex lives go downhill) than those couples who share that duty.
It turns out that this one chore mattered more to a happy marriage than any other household chore.
4. Have a “growth mindset” of working and growing together
Several studies over the years have documented happy couples as being able to cultivate a “growth mindset,” which allows them to work through issues together, learn together, and bounce back from conflict faster. They view the ups and downs of a partnership as opportunities to make it stronger.
5. Openly share about your relationships with others
In the book, The All-or-Nothing Marriage, Eli Finkel, professor of psychology at Northwestern University and the director of its Relationships and Motivation Lab, found evidence that when couples on double-dates disclose the intimate details of their relationships, romance was rekindled. “In short, socializing with our spouse and other people can stoke the romantic fire in our marriage, but only if the socializing is fun and intimate,” writes Finkel.
6. Be attractive for each other, and not just physically
Taking care of oneself physically is important because it demonstrates to your partner that you care about your own well-being and longevity.
But how about taking attraction to another level beyond the sexual and into the emotional? When couples are able to connect with each other by being their best selves, sparks fly.
That means having a zest for living life to the fullest, a passion for a cause, a drive and motivation to do something to better the world, a desire to stretch yourself and learn something new, and a keen interest in the development of your children to do the same.
When partners carry themselves with such confidence and walk the talk of their purposeful lives, it's not only sexy, but it will promote love and romance and the attractiveness a couple has for each other in unimaginable ways.
Published on: Oct 25, 2018
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.
6 Secrets to Divorce-Proofing Your Marriage
Marriage is a journey through life as a couple. When you first get married, life is full of bliss and you can't imagine spending one minute apart from the one that you love.
Over time, the new excitement of your partnership starts to fade away, and you get used to living together and the daily routines that you fall into. It is at this stage that some couples get lost in the routine and lose the spark of what brought them together in the first place.
You get busy, and sometimes forget what things were when you first said, “I do.” Keeping a marriage strong takes work!
Here are six secrets to making your journey as a married couple a healthy and exciting one.
Communication is an essential element of a thriving marriage. Nobody s to feel they are left in the dark with regard to what the other partner is feeling, or with decisions that need to be made in the household.
Make it a point to keep your spouse up-to-date with what is going on in your life, and what you are thinking about. Lack of communication leads to couples losing touch with one another, and the possibility of one person thinking that the other is keeping secrets.
Make a point to have deep and meaningful conversations, not just talk about the mundane parts of life.
When you love someone, you should respect and admire that person. Each partner in the marriage should consider the other person's feelings and what is on their mind.
It is perfectly normal to have moments of miscommunication, confusion, and not understanding where the other person is coming from, but two married people need to support and respect each other. If your spouse has an idea that you feel is way in left field, listen to him or her and appreciate that they felt the need to talk to you about it.
Even if you do not agree with your partner, show him or her respect as a person. You must also cherish your spouse and look for qualities in them that you are fond of and appreciate.
The concept of dating should not be lost when you get married. Dating is what brought you together as a couple in the first place. Take time your busy lives to get dressed up and spend an evening together as a couple away from home.
Romance is what keeps marriages alive, and it should be something you strive for. Date nights should happen at least once a month and do not have to be fancy or expensive affairs.
This is the time where you can have some light-hearted conversation and reunite as a happy couple.
It is inevitable that when two people live together day in and day out, there are going to be disagreements. One of you will come home from work in a bad mood, or your spouse will want to have a deep conversation when all you want to do is watch TV.
It is normal to have disagreements from time-to-time, but they should be constructive and not turn into full-blown arguments. When people argue, nasty things are usually said, and these things can be very hurtful to your spouse. In the event you find your disagreement turning sour, take a break and cool down before you address the topic again.
The happiest marriages are where two people feel that there is power sharing and both are on level ground with each other.
Trust is the foundation of a healthy relationship. You have to trust your partner if the marriage is to thrive. Your spouse is your partner and there should never be a reason to keep secrets or lie to the one you love. Be open and honest in your relationship, because broken trust is not easy to fix.
If you are having financial problems, make sure to get your spouse in the loop so that you can work together to fix the issues. It is also vital to be transparent about your relationships with other people so that it never appears as though you are unfaithful.
When there is trust in a marriage, the union thrives.
Another important secret to a happy marriage is to keep it fun. Your significant other should be your best friend in life and you both should work together to have as much fun as you can during your journey as a couple. Take vacations, find hobbies you both enjoy, and laugh as often as you can. When both parties are happy, anything is possible.
As you go through life as a couple, it is easy to get wrapped up in the everyday routines and busy schedules. Despite this, you should always take the time to let your other half know that you love and care about them.
Step away from the hustle and bustle of life and enjoy some one-on-one time with your spouse.
Marriage is hard work, but when you work through the secrets of keeping it alive, you and your spouse will have a better chance of making it through to the very end.
11 Things You Can Do Right Now to Improve Your Marriage
Let’s face it–marriage is hard work!
Don’t get me wrong, I love my husband. He is my partner and my confidante. He’s been endlessly patient and and supportive and understanding. He’s a wonderful father, an amazing brother and uncle and son, and my biggest champion. He’s my best friend.
But that doesn’t mean our life together is all sunshine and roses all the time. There are times when he rubs me the wrong way or doesn’t do things the way I would do them (or think they need to be done). There are times where I spend too much money at Target or fill up our schedule far more than he would . There are times where we just don’t understand where each other is coming from.
And while we love our kids to death, there are definitely times when they also add strain to our relationship. Sometimes we’re so focused on the needs of our children, the challenges of running a household, and dealing with day-to-day stress, it seems we don’t have time to just enjoy being a couple.
How can you keep your marriage going strong? Here are 10 simple ways to improve your marriage.
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There’s nothing sadder than watching a marriage fall apart, but the reality is that marriage takes work and dedication. Whether we intend to or not, our spouses tend to bear the brunt of our stress, and all too often get our leftovers, rather than our best.
Luckily there are a lot of things we can do right now–as in TODAY–to make things better, even if you happen to be spinning right in the middle of a crazy cycle. Here are 11 ideas to get you started:
1. Go on a Date
It might feel a little forced sometimes, or even the last thing in the world you have time for, but the happiest couples I know go out together on a regular basis.
Date night can be going out to dinner or to a movie, or going on a walk or a drive—really anything you both enjoy. I know babysitting can get expensive, but your date night activity can be free—try simply watching a movie together or going to the park.
It’s really about spending one-on-one time with your spouse and enjoying each other’s company.
2. Say, “I Love You”
It seems obvious, but many times we go through our days either automatically saying “love you” when we hang up the phone or run out the door, without really thinking about it.
Look into your spouse’s eyes and think of all the things you love about them—the way they care for your kids, the way they take care of you, your family, the way they make you laugh.
Whatever it is that really connects the two of you, focus on it and say it with real honesty and meaning: “I love you.” Love is the foundation of a strong marriage and we all need to hear it from our spouse.
Tell your partner the reasons you love them. The why. “I love you because you’re always there for me. I love you because you make me laugh.
I love you because you got up in the middle of the night to clean up barf, because you know I can’t do it. I love you because you eat everything I make for dinner without ever complaining.
I love you because you’re principled.” Whatever it is, identify it and say it.
3. Be Intimate
No, I’m not just talking about S-E-X, although, to be fair, that’s pretty very important too! But intimacy is all about touch and closeness, and while I can’t speak for all men, I do know that my guy thrives on it, and most other men do too.
This means we have to be purposeful about being intimate, even when–especially when–we are short on time. It means remembering to hold hands or kiss for longer than just a peck. It could even mean hopping into the shower, giving him a quick unexpected back rub, or playing with his hair.
And believe me, I know sometimes it can seem one more thing you have to take care of, and I also know all too well that when we’re feeling stressed or not feeling particularly “sexy” it can be a challenge to flip the switch and suddenly be all hot and bothered. Those are the times that you have to trust that the action will create the feeling. Make time for intimacy and you might just be surprised at how much closer–and sexy–you feel.
4. Say I’m Sorry
No one s to lose face. It’s hard to say I’m sorry for things, especially when you might not feel 100% apologetic.
Sometimes though, the words, “I’m sorry,” are exactly what your partner needs to hear, and a little humility when you know you’ve done something wrong will go a long way.
Even if you were right or if you feel your actions or words were justified, if you hurt your spouse, then apologize for causing that hurt. It might just make all the difference in the world.
Of course the flip side of saying, “I’m sorry,” is saying “I forgive you.” It’s painful when someone lets us down or says something hurtful or disappoints us in some way. And when that person is our spouse? Well then all the anger and bitterness feels that much worse! We might feel resentful and sometimes the words, “I’m sorry,” just don’t seem enough for us to let go of what happened.
Unfortunately, when we refuse to forgive others and move past hurts, we’re only continuing to hurt ourselves. If your spouse has done something that stung, try to forgive them. Empathize with where they’re coming from, let go of the need to take it personally, and if they’ve asked for forgiveness, give it to them and move forward.
6. Let Go of “The List”
How many of us keep a tally when we fight with our spouse? I know I’ve been guilty of letting out a litany of complaints and a laundry list of wrongs I’ve saved up and held on to.
Make a resolution to let go of “the list.” Marriage isn’t a competition and it’s not about one-upping each other or doing something to “get back” at the other person.
If you’re holding out on things that bother you, it’s time to address them or let them go.
7. Play a Game
When was the last time you played a board game with your spouse, tried to shoot some hoops, or even let them talk you through a video game (if that’s their thing)?
Playing board games with your spouse keeps your marriage fun and alive. Laughing and having fun together helps you feel young, reminds you of the person you fell in love with, and gives you energy.
Bring playfulness into your marriage. Find something that holds interest for the two of you, whether it’s tennis, golf, running, or rock climbing.
Pick an activity or hobby that’s fun and keeps the two of you engaged in a little healthy competition and laughter.
8. Surprise Him
Some people feel loved and acknowledged through gifts or actions, and almost everyone enjoys a surprise or thoughtful gesture.
It doesn’t mean you need to go out and purchase lavish gifts for your spouse, but if you’re out and you see your honey’s favorite beverage, pick one up and bring it home for him. Make his favorite dinner or cookies “just because.
” Get him something funny or text him a funny photo or joke you heard. The idea is to simply let your spouse know you’re thinking of them throughout the day.
9. Give Him a Compliment
We all to hear we’re attractive to our significant other or that they think we’re really smart, funny, nice or unique. Your spouse feels the exact same way.
When you first started dating, chances are you complimented each other all the time. As the years go on, we start to mention the little things less and less.
Part of keeping the fires burning is letting our sweetheart know we still think they’re just as handsome, smart and funny as they were the day we met.
10. Be Honest about Money
There’s no single issue that can cause more stress within a marriage than money. Often, we might be on a different page than our spouse when it comes to finances and the way we save and spend. Tempers can flare and things can get heated.
Believe me–I’ve been there! In the past, things in my own marriage came to a head because of financial differences .
It took a lot of effort–and a lot of help from Dave Ramsey–-to get us back on track! We learned that we had totally different mindsets when it came to money and spending, and we also learned that we had to be honest with each other about what we were spending, where our priorities were, and how we planned to save. Once we got on the same page and were able to work together towards our common goal of becoming debt free, things improved greatly.
While the money conversation can be tough, talk to each other about finances. Be open and honest with your spouse.
11. Show Appreciation
When your spouse does something for you, do you always say thank you? So often we forget (or we come to expect) that our spouse will do their regular chores and duties around the house, but isn’t it nice to occasionally be thanked? Not only that, but our children will learn appreciation by modeling our behavior. Let them know how grateful we are that Daddy “fixes our bikes for us,” or, “painted the garage,” or, “works so hard.” Acknowledging and thanking your spouse will go a long way toward helping them feel appreciated and keeping your bond strong.
There are many conversations couples should have, as communication is vital to your marriage—but so is action. Often, we start to talk about all the things we feel and what our needs are, but then forget to put these thoughts and feelings into action.
Marriage is amazing and fun and wonderful. Keep yours strong and healthy by doing little things every day to keep the love flowing and your spouse happy. It’s not about being perfect or getting along ALL the time, but it’s about the little gestures that connect you and keep you bonded together as husband and wife.
21 Ways to Maintain a Healthy Marriage
Even the strongest marriages are vulnerable to a bit of turbulence. When your relationship is good, it feels you're floating on air—but when things sour, you can quickly tumble down to the ground. Luckily, any good relationship can be salvaged with enough effort—and you may already be familiar with some of these ways to maintain a healthy marriage.
For instance, all of those double dates you've been going on have been secretly upping the intimacy in your relationship. And did you know that cuddling and looking at cute animal photos can keep the spark alive? To make sure you're doing everything you can to keep your spouse happy, we've gathered some of the simplest things you can do to make a marriage work.
Do you and your partner sit in bed scrolling through adorable puppy pics together? That joint activity isn't just making you squeal with delight—it could also be helping your marriage.
A 2017 study published in Psychological Science found that when subjects were shown pictures of puppies immediately after pictures of their spouses, they had more positive responses to their partners afterward and improvements in marital relations.
“One ultimate source of our feelings about our relationships can be reduced to how we associate our partners with positive affect,” wrote lead researcher James K. McNulty. “Those associations can come from our partners, but also from unrelated things puppies and bunnies.”
When in doubt, journal it out.
Researchers at Northwestern University in 2013 found that couples who partook in a routine journaling exercise about their relationship experienced increased marital satisfaction.
However, it's important that you don't only write down the things that bother you about your partner—keeping a list of the positives as well will serve you better in the long run.
Do you regularly gravitate toward romcoms on movie night? Go ahead and congratulate yourself on your good taste—and on paving the path toward happily ever after.
A 2014 study from the University of Rochester analyzed the success of various couple counseling programs, and found that couples who watched romantic films and discussed them afterward had a 50 percent lower divorce rate.
So pop in a flirty flick, grab some popcorn, and don't forget to thank Meg Ryan for a long, loving marriage.
You might think that your spouse intuitively knows how grateful you are for everything they do, but it definitely doesn't hurt to let them know. In fact, a 2015 study published in the journal Personal Relationships found that expressing gratitude toward your partner is directly correlated with relationship satisfaction.
“Even if a couple is experiencing distress and difficulty in other areas, gratitude in the relationship can help promote positive marital outcomes,” lead study author Allen Barton told Science Daily.
Did your spouse recently get a promotion at work, or perhaps reach their goal weight after months of hard work? These momentous occasions call for a celebration! Your partner will appreciate the support, and the positive praise will work wonders on your marriage.
As Tara Parker-Pope writes in For Better: How the Surprising Science of Happy Couples Can Help Your Marriage Succeed, “Couples who regularly celebrate the good times have higher levels of commitment, intimacy, trust, and relationship satisfaction. It's not enough that your partner knows that you take pride in his or her accomplishments—you have to show it.”
These days, sending naughty texts isn't just for sultry singles looking for a good time. Even married couples frequently turn to text to keep the spark alive.
And if you aren't afraid to virtually get it on, then pat yourself on the back: A study published in Computers in Human Behavior found that committed couples benefit from steamy messages more than couples in more casual relationships.
Half of the respondents reported that sexting “positively influenced their sexual and emotional relationship with a partner.”
We're all guilty of spending a little too much time on our phones, but it's essential for your marriage that you're not neglecting to interact with your spouse face-to-face.
A 2013 study published in the Journal of Couple & Relationship Therapy concluded that women who apologized and communicated important information via text were less satisfied in their relationships.
Talk in person as often as possible, or make time for a call when you're not physically together—really anything's better than a thumbs up and winky face emoji.
Too many people let their smartphone become a third partner in their relationship.
A 2018 study of college couples published in Psychology of Popular Media Culture found that people who were attached to their smartphones reported less certainty in their relationship; similarly, people whose partners were always on their phones reported being less satisfied.
If your spouse feels that you have an unhealthy attachment to your phone, they may also worry that something is lacking in the marriage, so try to keep your device in your pocket whenever you're together.
If you're one of the married couples that still considers date night sacred after years of being together, then you're already on the path to success. A 2016 study by the Marriage Foundation determined that couples who hit the town once a month were more ly to stay together than those who favored staying in.
Going on a double date will introduce a new activity into your rotation and improve the intimacy in your relationship.
In a 2014 study published in Personal Relationships, couples who engaged in “deeply personal conversations” while out with another couple reported feeling more passionate toward each other than couples who only conversed deeply with one another.
Researchers found that couples were more ly to disclose their feelings when they heard other couples doing the same. Monkey see, monkey do!
Double dates aside, it's human nature to want to spend time with people similar to yourself, so it makes sense that couples tend to befriend other couples. But what most couples probably don't realize is that these friendships are actually helping their marriage.
In the book Two Plus Two: Couples and Their Couple Friendships, co-authors Geoffrey Greif and Kathleen Holtz Deal discovered that couples' friendships benefit a marriage by providing comfort, support, and excitement. “We can talk about anything we want to,” said one couple in the book. “We have shared sad times and good times.”
There's a reason that close couples (and best friends) have so many inside jokes that they love to remind each other about.
Laughter is the backbone of any good bond—and remembering good times might be the secret to maintaining a healthy marriage, according to a significant 2007 study published in Motivation and Emotion.
The researchers noted that couples who reminisced about hilarious moments reported greater relationship satisfaction.
Your willingness to include your spouse in your friend outings doesn't go unnoticed. On the contrary, according to a 2013 study in the Journal of Leisure Research, this act of integration is only going to strengthen your bond with your significant other.
Nothing brings a married couple closer together (literally) than a bit of spooning. A 2014 study from the University of Hertfordshire found that 94 percent of couples that slept while touching reported relationship satisfaction.
Exercise has a positive effect on both your muscles and your marriage. An oft-cited 2000 study from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology showed that after couples participated in a physical activity together, they were more satisfied with their relationships and felt more in love.
If you're feeling really ambitious, ask your spouse to sign up for a 5K with you—the months of training together will fortify your fellowship. “Shared goals that a couple can work toward help give a relationship greater purpose,” certified counselor Jonathan Bennett told Brit + Co. “Also, the time spent achieving those goals helps the couple strengthen their bond.”
Going through the same motions every day can make a marriage feel stale. One way to spice things up? Plan a vacation for just you and your spouse at least once a year. In fact, a 2016 survey conducted by Booking.com suggests that the happiness couples feel when planning a vacation actually trumps the joy they felt on their wedding day.
A good spouse is someone who can also be a good friend. A 2012 study from the American Psychological Association even determined that relationship satisfaction is correlated with each partner's ability to read their spouse's emotions. When your partner comes home looking upset or especially ecstatic, it's your job to ask them why they're feeling that way.
A good marriage is all about the give and take. You may not want to go to the grocery store, but as a devoted spouse, you're willing to put your own interests aside for the sake of compromise.
As a 2017 study published in the Journal of Family Theory & Review concluded, the willingness “to forgo self-interest and desired activities for the good of a partner or relationship is an important aspect of maintaining relationships.”
There's no question that quality conversation is essential if you want to maintain a healthy marriage. At the same time, there are many ways to communicate that don't involve speaking out loud at all.
As relationship expert Patricia Love told O, The Oprah Magazine, “Everyone—men, women, myself included—needs to learn that before we can communicate with words, we need to connect nonverbally. We can do that in simple ways—through touch, sex, doing things together.
The deepest moments of intimacy occur when you're not talking.”
Most of us look back on our first date with our spouse and remember getting all dolled up to meet a potential new partner. As a relationship progresses, many people stop putting this same exuberant effort into spending time together, but those couples that do find their date nights and other outings to be more enjoyable.
As a pivotal 2007 study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology concluded, study participants who tried to present themselves well experienced greater happiness after interacting with their partner. So go ahead and make that extra effort to maintain a healthy marriage: Your spouse is worth it.
6 Things You Can Do to Make Your Marriage Stronger
Kwame and Adwoa spent the first few years of their marriage in bliss; everything was so magical and wonderful. As the marriage went on, the couple noticed they did not find the time with each other emotionally fulfilling.
What Kwame and Adwoa had tried to prevent was happening. They wanted their marriage to work, but they realized the marriage was not strong and they were drifting apart. The gap between them kept widening every day.
They held a meeting and resolved to take steps to prevent the marriage from collapsing, and to make it stronger.
What are some of the things you can do as a couple to also make your marriage stronger, if your marriage is going through turbulent times?
There are certain steps you can take to make your marriage better and stronger, even if it is going well now. I want to share with you these tips to make your marriage stronger.
There are events in the past, days in your marriage, when you had some wonderful moments which made you laugh as a couple, or feel good about yourself, your spouse, and the marriage.
Some of these events, and days, may be the day on which your spouse bought you a great gift you can never forget, or the day your spouse came home, enticed you into the bedroom and gave you the most incredible lovemaking sessions you have ever had, or a time when your spouse said something so romantic which you can never forget.
Set aside specific days on which you can remind yourselves as a couple, talk about these experiences, refresh your mind about them, and make jokes and laugh over them. The first Sunday of every month is a good time to schedule this activity.
This activity will help your marriage in two ways:
- It will help you to bond as a couple as you spend quality time together and reminisce on the good times you have had in the past.
- The memories you bring back can serve as a motivation to make you work hard to maintain your marriage.
There are certain activities you can engage in to make your marriage stronger. Some of these activities include making your romantic life more exciting. You can decide to set aside certain Saturdays of the year when you can have dates in your house. Make it a regular feature of your married life. It will help to make your marriage better than ever.
On these days, cook a meal together and take it to your bedroom. Eat the meal whilst you play romantic songs in the background.
Whilst eating, create jokes and laugh out loud. Make playful passes at each other. Focus on utilizing the time to connect mentally as you converse and eat. Appreciate your spouse by telling him or her twenty things you about their body.
After the meal, dance whilst you are in each other’s embrace, to the cool music playing in the room. As you dance, smooch each other and excite yourselves until the feelings build up to the point where you both feel engaging in marital relations. End the date by having a creative lovemaking session, which should involve experimenting with lovemaking positions you have never tried before.
This is one of the ways to make your marriage stronger.
Having these regular dates at home have certain advantages:
- They are cost effective—you do not need to spend too much money and time to organize them. You can prepare the meal with available food in the house, which will save you money which you would have otherwise used to pay the bills at a restaurant.
- It will save you time. You will not need to travel to a restaurant which may be located far away from your house. This also means you can have these dates on weekdays, after work.
- It will give you privacy to do things which you cannot do in a public place, such as laughing loudly, and being playful.
Some spouses bring work from the office to the house and make the house an “extension” of their workplace.
Instead of focusing on their spouse, having a conversation to find out how their spouse fared in his or her workplace, and to give moral support if they have to, they absorb themselves in more work.
This does not make you look a concerned spouse, and it can make your spouse irritated and lonely since he or she expects you to give them full attention when you come home.
Therefore, if you want to make your marriage better, when you are coming home, leave all work behind, and leave the irritations and frustrations you went through too behind. Don’t carry the office mentally into your home, even if you leave the physical paperwork behind, or put your laptop aside.
Make up your mind to give full attention to your spouse, and to engage in meaningful conversation with him or her for the rest of the evening. This will help you to talk through outstanding conflicts, reassure each other about your love for yourselves, and to share ideas on how you are going to go forward as a family.
Leaving your office behind has another advantage. It will help you to regenerate yourself as you relax and converse with your spouse, and this will impact positively on your productivity in the sense that the mental rest at home will help you to be alert and creative so that you can maintain or increase your productivity at work the next day.
As a couple you may have the same psychological needs, and many of your social needs may also be the same. Your spouse may look to you to play your part in satisfying many of these needs.
You should be prepared to satisfy your spouse even if you have to subdue your own personal needs in the process, if you want to make your marriage stronger.
For example, if you are a husband who is working so hard to make money so that you can provide for the family, so hard that you do not make time for your wife and she feels neglected and tells you about it, you may have to let go of some responsibilities at work so that you can free yourself a bit and make more time for her.
If you are a wife, for example, and your husband feels you are misusing the family finances because you are buying too many ostentatious goods, such as jewelry or shoes, and he wants you to cut down on expending on these things so that you can contribute to the school fees or hospital bills of the children, you must sacrifice your desire to buy these things and humbly agree with him. This will prevent quarrels and fights, which tend to weaken the bond in a marriage.
How do you make your marriage better? By communicating well.
Communication is a two-way exchange of information, understanding, and ideas—You try to get an idea or understanding across to your spouse so that he or she can take an action, and he or she tries to get you to understand some kind of information that will benefit the marriage in the long-run.
Some couples make the mistake of thinking that because they talk to their spouse, they are communicating Talking to people is not communicating. Talking to your spouse does not mean you are communicating.
Talking down at people is even worse. When you talk at your spouse, especially when you are angry, it may make him or her feel you are treating them in a condescending fashion. Everyone has some self-pride, and when your spouse feels the way you are talking down on him or her is humiliating, he or she will respond in anger, and this can lead to fights.
If you want to make your marriage stronger, you must talk with your spouse, and actively listen to views. That is communication.
When you are angry and you want to communicate with your spouse:
- Take rapid deep breaths to help you calm yourself down.
- Then, in a respectful manner, talk with him or her about whatever issue is bothering you.
- Make eye contact.
- Look into his or her face, and speak slowly and gently so that your spouse will be able to assimilate it and take action on it.
If your spouse wants to put across a concern, or to pass on some vital information to you, stop everything you are doing so that you can listen.
If you are watching a soccer game and your wife wants to pass on some information to you, it would be respectful to turn off the television, give her your full attention, and listen to that piece of information; turning off the television for a few minutes will not kill you.
If your husband wants to tell you something whilst you are cooking, and at the same time the baby is crying, ask him to excuse you for a few seconds if it will not be convenient for you to speak to him at that moment. Wait till you can listen with full attention before you listen to that concern.
Not listening actively is rude, is a poor way of communicating, and can make your spouse feel unwanted, and if this continues, your spouse may find someone who will give him or her the listening attention they want.
Communicating well is one of the things you can do to make your marriage stronger.
A spouse will generally respond well to a good spouse who shows consistent behavior, a spouse who is predictable in his or her actions. When you are consistent in your behavior, it helps to build trust in the marriage.
Trust is extremely essential in any relationship, especially in a marriage relationship.
When there is trust, then you feel more relaxed, and this makes you better able to please your spouse, which is an important part of making your marriage stronger.
Your spouse will quickly mistrust you when you blow hot and cold, when you do not fulfill your promises, and when your actions are inconsistent with what you say. And when your spouse does not trust you, his or her commitment to the relationship is weakened, and the marriage cannot grow stronger.
Showing consistency in your actions is one of the ways to make your marriage better and stronger. It gives your spouse a sense of security which comes from him or her knowing that you can be depended upon, and when your spouse feels they can depend on you, they are also willing to give their maximum best to the marriage to make it work and become stronger.
If you want your marriage to last till death parts you and your spouse, then put in the maximum effort to make your marriage stronger. When it is strong, then there will be no fears of a breakup or divorce, and you can enjoy your short stay on Earth.
© 2017 Isaac Yaw Asiedu Nunoofio