Interestingly enough being married takes work! Not really being married, but staying married takes a life long ebb and flow of giving and taking that naturally balances out the stress, responsibility and nirvana that being in love can cause. For so many married folks; children, jobs and other air sucking events come into our lives and the marriage gets set on low flame at the far back burner where it is easily forgotten. By the time we find it again, it is soured and burned, stuck to the pot of life like soot on a fireplace. Stripping it back down is difficult, time consuming yet vital to the success of any marriage long term. Of course, there are tons of things married couples can do to try and strengthen the marriage on an as you go basis. This never ensures that the soot won’t develop; but at least can clear the conscious of couples on the brink of divorce knowing that they did all they could!
With the world moving at such a fast pace it is almost odd that matrimony and monogamy are still of such interest. We live in a place where we can get our every need fulfilled with the click of a mouse or through some international relationship (real or not) that actually picking the flowers where we live is an art of the passed. Suppose this says something toward the fact that the greatest human need is love; to give it and to get it in the physical and emotional sense of the word. After all we can’t hold hands on line! For these reason it is always a good idea to try and spend each day taking the time to do the little things (and big things) that shout how much we truly love our spouse! At least for half the time. The other half of the time we should spend realizing that we are all individuals; no matter how close we get in a marriage; and it is impossible to get something from someone else that you don’t have to give in the first place. In simpler terms- work on yourself!
So how do you strengthen a marriage? It is easy to imagine that the answer to this is different for every married couple. But there are some broad spectrum things that all of us can do to help our marriage going strong! Here are few of the top 10! In no specific order.
- Take the time to talk to each other about stupid things that don’t really matter EVERY day. You can do this through email or texts, cell phones or landlines. The point is maintain that private connection that is just between the two of you. Develop inside jokes and laughter, cultivate likes and dislikes, make up catch phrases, nick names and make fun of other people together! This all helps with the bonding no matter how childish it seems. It also opens up an avenue of language that two people can use in front of family, children or in public without worrying that someone who shouldn’t understand you does! Plus, it’s fun and useful.
- If you have kids get away from them as often as possible together! You will like them better when you see them again and you will enjoy some adult time with adult conversation that is uninterrupted by the pitter patter of little and annoying feet! (Yes, kids can get annoying!)
- Don’t be afraid to have a separate life. If one of you likes golf and the other likes the beach; be respectful and encouraging that each takes part in their passion. If you strip a person of the things that they feel passionate about they will develop resentment; resentment in a marriage is always directed at a spouse even if they had nothing to do with it. Always remember that you were two people coming in to the marriage and you are still two people! Feeling like you have to share everything is ridiculous! Who really wants to go fishing with someone who hates to fish?
- Don’t be completely honest! Honesty is over rated! Know when to speak and when not to! Similarly, know when to stop and when to keep going. Marriage is not about winning or being right and so many people argue with that goal in mind. If you spouse does not see things from your point of view; agree to disagree and by all means move on!!!! Disagreements happen all the time in life. Along the same lines if you think something your spouse did, does or thinks is the craziest thing in the world; keep your mouth shut. Go to bed mad if you have to! But some cans of stinky worms should just not be opened! If this is a two way street it is usually appreciated. Remember that our words are like toothpaste; once they come out of the tube they can’t be put back in!
- Have sex! Quickies, longie’s (if that is such a thing), in the car, in the bed, in the shower’. Doesn’t matter when or where just make sure that you do it and keep it up (literally)! No sex or lack there of is a sure fire sign of trouble brewing. Even if you are mad, not in the mood, too tired- just do it!
- Sleep well! If your spouse steals the covers, hogs pillows or insists on spooning when it drives you crazy- don’t sleep in the same bed! Nothing irritates people more or puts them in a perpetual bad mood more than consistent lack of sleep! (Just ask new parents) You are sleeping, who cares if you are together or not! It’s the time awake that counts. The longer you are married, the more sense this one will make!
- Have two TV’s with two remotes in two separate rooms! Otherwise that resentment thing will come back!
- Don’t get so caught up in routines! This is a biggie. Couples who entire lives are dictated by schedules, routines and things to do with the kids or work – never make it! Remain flexible and spur of the moment. IF you are caught up in the constant desire to do something effective you will be forgetting the significant parts of your life. Interestingly enough most couples start routines for the sake of the kids; but continue them for the sake of themselves!
- Bring home flowers, candy, chocolate, underwear, and a 12 pack. Whatever it is your spouse likes; make sure to bring it home often! Nothing feels better than knowing that you spouse is thinking of you even when you are not around. Instead of buying the kids 3 pairs of pants, buy them 2 and get your husband a new drill!
- Don’t look back; don’t hold on to the past. Don’t rehash old conversations or old pains. Don’t remember things that hurt you. Each day is one of rebirth; not one of regret or remorse! The past can only hurt you if you allow it. If you constantly live in the past, thinking about what was done to you by your spouse, what they said or spend time being angry,you are doomed! Each morning when you open your eyes; let every day that came before go; and breathe new life into the marriage! Learning how to strengthen a marriage is often about learning how to forget, forgive and live on together!