Your marriage is one of the most important relationships that you will have in your life. In spite of this, many do not feel that it should take much effort. They are ready to hit the road the minute things get tough or things do not go their way. Anything that is valuable takes work. Just like there are no overnight successes in business, there are no marriages that exist without building a strong foundation.
Strengthening your relationship is much like building a sturdy home or developing a career plan; you have to be willing to exert energy every day to make your dream happen.
Here are some things that you can do on a daily basis to improve your marriage:
- Tell your partner that you appreciate them- Day to day life can be monotonous, and that routine can slowly seep into the foundation of your marriage if you let it. The beauty of marriage is enjoying the simple moments together, and maintaining the passion that you feel for each other. One way to avoid getting too comfortable is to let your partner know how much you value them and the things that they do on a regular basis. Knowing that you are appreciated can prevent staleness and ensure emotional satisfaction in the long run.
- Be considerate- In an intimate relationship, you will lean on each other through good times and bad. A part of maintaining success over time is being thoughtful and anticipating your partner’s needs. Recognizing when your spouse needs you or your help even without asking goes a long way to building a strong connection and foundation of trust.
- Be honest, even when it’s hard- In a marriage it is tempting to keep things to yourself, especially when it seems to make things easier. That major purchase outside of the budget or the forgotten chores. But, it is important that you are honest with your spouse as these things have a tendency to come back to bite you. It may be hard to swallow your pride and admit your faults, but it will go a long way in building trust.
- Practice kindness- Remember the golden rule? Well saying please and thank you is not just for kindergarteners. We tend to be harder on the one closest to us or give them the brunt of our negative emotions. However our spouse should be the person that we cherish and respect the most. If you put your best foot forward and remain as kind to your partner as you are to others it will create a healthier and happier home environment.
- Maintain marital privacy- When you experience tough times or have conflict with your spouse, your instinct will be to turn to other persons close to you for reassurance and support. However, this behavior undermines the sacredness of your union. Involving others in your marital affairs can lead to gossip, hurt feelings, and an abuse of trust. Maintain the privacy of your relationship and work through your problems as a team.
- Nurture interests and relationships outside the marriage- It is easy to get stuck in the rigmarole of your daily life. However, having time away from your everyday routine allows you to take some space and appreciate what you have. Whether it be working on a passion project or hanging out with friends, be sure to preserve a life outside of your marriage to maintain a sense of self. You can then go back to your marriage with a sense of purpose and renewal
- Practice forgiveness- Everyone makes mistakes and you both surely will in a marriage. And while saying I’m sorry for the things that you do may be difficult, it can be even harder to accept the apology of your loved one. However, learning to forgive is essential to a healthy relationship. Practicing forgiveness allows improved conflict resolution and prevention of resentment that can build up over time.
- Prioritize self care- Marriage requires a great deal of hard work and sacrifice. But one thing that you should never sacrifice is your own wellness. Taking care of yourself allows you to maintain your functioning in and out of the home. This can mean anything from pampering yourself with a manicure or massage to doing something that you enjoy. Never forget to take care of you as it allows you to bring your best self to the table. Your mind, body and spouse will thank you.
The opinions expressed here are solely my own as a psychiatrist and public health advocate. I receive no support from any pharmaceutical or device company.
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