The “honeymoon” phase in any marriage isn’t going to last a lifetime. Things between you and your spouse may suddenly seem “different” but let’s face it, relationships change. Relationships change because as individuals, we are constantly changing.
While marriage is a wonderful part of life, it’s not always an easy one. Factor in differences in personalities, those little annoying habits that you once thought were so cute, caring for your children, paying the mortgage, health issues, (the list could go on) and you start wondering “what did I get myself into?”
Just know that it’s normal for any relationship to evolve over time. As I stated earlier, our relationships change because we as individuals change. Your marriage doesn’t have to suffer as a result of that process though.
Let me tell you something, relationships can and do work. You just have to be willing to put forth the time and effort that it takes to make it work.
If you’ve noticed that things are a bit off with you and your sweetie lately, or if you seem to be having arguments over the smallest of things, reconnect and improve your marriage by incorporating these strategies into your daily lives.
If you have been harboring unforgiveness for something that happened last year, or last week for that matter, let it go! It becomes hard to move forward in your relationship when one (or both) people are stuck in the past.
Identify those things that you need to let go of. After that make sure that you don’t bring them up again. Oooooh, chile, trust me – It! Is! Hard! I know because I was the queen of bringing up past hurt and throwing it back in my husband’s face.
But if you truly want things to progress in your marriage, you’ve got to be willing to completely forgive so that you can move forward. I mean, we all make mistakes.
Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. Did I mention communicate?
When it comes to having a good marriage, effective communication is a must. Not only do you have to learn how to communicate your expectations and desires so that your spouse will have a chance at fulfilling them, but you have to learn how to communicate in a way that doesn’t lead to misunderstandings and hurt feelings.
Learn to be a good listener as well. Oftentimes we aren’t listening to understand what our partner is trying to communicate to us, we are simply listening so that we can give a response. Be an active listener so that you can actually hear their heart and understand what it is they are trying to get across to you.
This is something that may take a little time, especially if the two of you are not good at communicating with one another. But as you intentionally practice it, things will get better over time.
Get into the habit of showing your mate affection every day. And I am not just talking about affection inside of the bedroom. Do simple things like greeting one another with a kiss. Give each other a hug and kiss before leaving for work each day. Hold hands or cuddle while you are watching television.
But don’t let your affection become robot-like. Instead of hurried kisses, take the time to relish the moment and look into each other’s eyes when being affectionate. According to research recently published by Kory Floyd, author and associate professor of Arizona State University’s Hugh Downs School of Human Communication, affection can lower blood sugar levels, and lower the risk of depression and stress.
Enjoy Activities Together
Do something regularly that bonds the two of you. For instance, try waking up early so that you can enjoy your morning coffee together, spend 15 minutes chatting before going to sleep at night, or how about setting aside your Fridays nights for each other.
I like to make it a point to enjoy some of the things that my husband loves. For instance, I am not particularly fond of watching boring sci-fi movies – yes, I said boring. But sci-fi is something that he loves, and so I indulge him. I’ll fix us a huge bowl of popcorn along with some drinks and we’ll enjoy an evening of sci-fi.
By having a “couples ritual”, you are making an active decision to create space in your life just for your spouse. After all, your relationship with your spouse is one of the most important you’ll ever have.
Show Your Appreciation
Go out of your way to show your spouse how much you appreciate them. Instead of focusing on all of the things your spouse does wrong, be intentional about acknowledging the things he or she does right. A simple “honey, thank you for taking out the trash this morning” or midday phone call saying “I was just thinking of you” can go a long way in making a person feel loved.
We as human beings need to feel validated or appreciated. When that validation doesn’t occur, people tend to look for it elsewhere. Do your part in making sure to acknowledge and appreciate them every time you have the chance.
I am not a relationship expert, but my husband and I make it a point to practice these tips daily. Are there times when we mess up – yes! But we start all over again, and our marriage has been so much better because of it.