A romantic gateway sometimes is not the only way to reignite the love in your marriage as you seek to make your marriage better. Likewise, there are options beyond running to a marriage therapist, if you are disregarding about key issues in your marriage.
“When you let your marriage just ‘sit,’ it will eventually get rusty and break down, just like your car,” says Todd Patkin, a dad and author of Finding Happiness: “One Man’s Quest to Beat Depression and Anxiety” and – Finally – “Let the Sunshine In”.
We all should have been told while growing up that you have to work on your marriage every day if you want it to stay exciting, great and strong.
Here are 21 Ways To Make Your Marriage Better These tips will bolster and strengthen your marriage. I would say that these tips are too easy not to take and implement.
#1: With Sex, Aim for Quantity Over Quality
When spouses don’t get busy regularly, they can lose physical connection. Clinical sexologist and marriage therapist Kat Van Kirk, DHS, author of “The Married Sex Solution”, suggests “removing the expectation of having long, technical lovemaking sessions.”
Whether it’s a quickie in the shower or making out like teenagers before bed, “10 focused minutes can build more intimate moments than many couples have experienced in years,” she says. What’s more, “this can turn into longer lovemaking sessions.”
#2: Hug For Two Minutes and Kiss For 30 seconds Each Day
“Often, kisses and hugs become mechanical and quick,” says marriage and family therapist “Kim Blackham”. The problem: Those hurried pecks and embraces don’t offer the same feel-good benefits longer stretches of physical intimacy do.
“Oxytocin, a chemical our bodies release when we touch one another, emotionally connects people,” says Blackham. No need to set a timer, says Blackham, but do extend your hugs and kisses longer than you normally would; you’ll feel a new sense of connection.
#3: Sit Next To Each Other At Restaurants Tables
You may be inclined to take a seat across from your partner, but “it’s a more aggressive stance,” says Blackham. After all, it’s how you and a prospective employer sit during an interview. Next time you’re out, try grabbing a booth or putting separate chairs at a table side by side.
Instead of playing footsie under the table, your man can slide an arm around you or touch your knee, while you can whisper in his ear. “It’s a friendlier and much more intimate position,” Blackham adds.
#4: Talk about Your Early Days of Dating
Rather than bringing up the past in a wistful sense (“why don’t we ever do that anymore…”), express appreciation for all the ways that your spouse has helped you. For example, you could say something like, “I was just thinking about that romantic dinner you planned by the fireplace on our third date.
That was really wonderful.” It’s an ego boost for him and it shows that you value his best efforts. (Note: Making the effort to compliment your husband is especially important if he feels like he’s being undervalued at work since it shows that he’s doing something right in this sector of his life.)
#5: Touch As Often As Possible
Hold hands. Touch your wife/husband on the arm when you are both making your morning coffee. Place your hand on his cheek when he kisses you good night. Think about these little points of contact as love “marks” that stay with him throughout the day and helps to strengthen and make your marriage better.
#6: Drop Your Old Issues
We all have scars and damage from our dating days and from our families but don’t use an old fight as a weapon in a new one. It’s unfair to throw unresolved issues at one another. Drop those sensitivities by avoiding hot-button issues that you’ve already discussed (and hopefully resolved.)
#7: Cook Together
Make it an occasional treat with your spouse to prepare a new meal together. The sensory experience of cooking and co-creating a fabulous, romantic dish or snack is way better than popping some toaster tarts in the oven.
#8: Have a Sense of Humor
Don’t be uptight or overly sensitive, making it impossible for your spouse to playfully tease you if you do something silly. If you are always a raw nerve, he’ll feel like he’s walking on eggshells, which makes you a chore. Laugh off a joke (and deliver one right back at your husband) to show him that you are a carefree partner who doesn’t make him nervous to kid around with.
#9: Be Financially Responsible
Money is one of the top marriage stressors, especially in these challenging financial times. You both need the security of knowing that you are each paying bills on time, and not making unnecessary purchases. Most importantly, be financially honest with one another, no matter what. No secret spending or hiding it from your spouse if you are having trouble paying a bill on time.
#10: Divvy up chores
Division of labor in a marriage is something that marriage counselors handle a lot with couples who are having trouble. You can avoid resentments by simply talking to each other about which household projects you want to take on. Maybe you are okay with killing the spiders and taking out the trash, and he’s fine with vacuuming.
Make your own plan without any “male vs. female labels”, and this also is very important, sit down with your spouse and discuss which household chores are annoying you, which you want to trade, and which you want to hire someone to do. Like the dusting and vacuuming. Done!
#11: Ask Your Spouse, “What Do You Need More Of?”
Being this direct, and safe to talk to, lets him (and you) say, “I need some more alone time when I get home from work” or “I need more cuddle time” or “I want to make out more.”
Your spouse is not a mind reader, and they want to know how to please you better. You get your wish out there, no resentments build, and you have a great tool for making your marriage better that you can use again and again.
#12: Don’t Stall on Each Other’s Requests
Life is hectic, but if your partner asks you to look up something online or find a piece of paperwork for him, make it a high priority to do so as soon as humanly possible. When you show your spouse that his requests are important to you and you value her/his needs, it will make your partnership even stronger.
#13: Carve Out Quiet Time
How can you make your marriage better? Make it a point to decompress each evening. Avoid following your spouse around like a puppy as soon as he gets home from work, telling him about your day or reminding him about things you need to do, like fix the washing machine or attend your niece’s birthday party.
#14: Be Willing To Learn From Each Other
The key is to see the other as a mirror and learn from the reflection of how you can be a better person. When you feel upset, rather than blame your partner and point fingers, remain awake to what has yet to be healed in yourself.
#15: Expand Your Heart
One thing, that unites us is that we all long to be happy. This happiness usually includes the desire to be close to someone in a loving way. To create real intimacy and a stronger marriage, get in touch with the spaciousness of your heart and bring awareness to what is good within you. It’s easier to recognize the good in your partner when you are connected to the good in yourself.
#16: Never Criticize Your Spouse
Nobody is perfect in the world, including your spouse and you. Stop focusing on little things that your spouse does and let go of the irritating traits that your spouse may do. You also have irritating traits that your spouse has to deal with, so you need to stop zooming in on those and stop criticizing each other.
#17: Keep the Romance Level High
Let’s face it, a marriage can get boring after a few years. Boredom is actually one of the reasons that cause a marriage to fail. Try to do more exciting and romantic activities with your spouse, these activities will make your marriage better and stronger.
#18: Stop Picking On Your Partner
It’s easier to blame and put the responsibility on your spouse than acknowledge that marriage is a partnership. Husband and wife are a team. A healthy and strong marriage means we support one another in both words and actions. This is the definition of commitment.
When something goes wrong stop trying to figure out whose fault it is. It’s a pointless exercise that just causes pain. Speak about solutions instead of looking to accuse. Be careful not to use put-downs to feel better about yourself. There is no room for meanness in marriage.
#19: Express Feelings in a Mature Way
There is a difference between whining and being constructive. Constant complaining feels as if you are living with a two-year-old who falls into tantrums. Talk about what you want using a positive approach. Instead of saying “I feel as if I am a single mom; you are never home,” say “The kids and I love spending time with you.
Is there a way we can make this happen more often?” A healthy relationship means we speak about what we want instead of making our partner feel that home is a place of criticism and nagging.
#20: Keep Your Friendship Alive
Being married means acknowledging that we live with our best friend. Focus on the one you love and reach out to your partner, not just your friends. A healthy relationship creates a life based on mutual trust.
We share intimate details, fears, and hopes without being afraid that we will be laughed at. We make time for each other and share experiences, not just problems, bills, and carpool schedules.
#21: Stop Expecting
When we give because we expect in return, we set ourselves up for disappointment. For love to endure and remain strong, we need to invest in our relationship.
This means we give and don’t measure how much we have gotten back. Our question must be: What can I do today to make my marriage better? Marriage requires thoughtful contemplation.
Happiness is a choice we make through our daily decisions and responses. When we realize that we have within our power the ability to build a life together rather than destroy, we will renew the spirit of love and acceptance in our home.
Whether you have been married for six months or 60 years, you can always learn ways to become a better husband or wife and improve your marriage. In fact, “the happiest couples ever known are the ones who make a deliberate effort to learn how to make your marriage better”.
Many people are required to take continuing education courses to become better employees. Imagine how much lower the divorce rate would be if we were required to take continuing education courses to become better spouses and make our marriage better and even stronger!
Image courtesy of marin at FreeDigitalPhotos.net