Marriage often begins with so much love and compassion for one another. The skills that are needed to have a strong marriage at the start are not always the same and the skills needed to maintain a strong marriage for years to come. The honeymoon phase wears off and daily stresses can greatly affect our relationships. Here are 10 ways you can start strengthening your marriage today.
Say and do positive things towards your partner
Though this may seem obvious it is often forgotten. In successful relationships, couples say at least 5 times as many positive things to each other than negative ones. Doing or saying a lot of small things for your partner goes much further and fancy over the top gestures. Gottman describes it as filling the emotional bank account. Negative things or withdrawals carry more weight than positive ones. Doing things like leaving a note, complimenting them, or giving a small hug all put deposits into your emotional bank account and strengthen your marriage.
Respond to your partner’s bids for connection
Many times your spouse will do something small or large that is a bid for a connection. A bid for connection is anything your partner does to receive affection. affirmations, attention. or other positive connections from you. These can be small or large. We have the opportunity to turn towards these bids or away from.
here is a list of some types of small bids you may encounter on a regular day.
Couples that are successful learn to check themselves when speaking to their spouse about difficult topics or in an argument. They refrain from being critical or blaming the other person. Instead, they choose to express their needs and concerns without attacking their spouse. Many times self-reflection as to what is truly making you upset can help discover and express your concerns. This will help to strengthen your marriage through kind communication.
Have high standards and reasonable expectations
Research has shown that couples that can set good boundaries with each other last longer. Expecting to be treated with respects, kindness, love, and compassion lead to being more likely to be treated in such a way. Meaning you don’t make excuses for your partners hurtful or abusive behavior. A good way to think of it is having good enough expectations. Expect to be treated well but don’t expect to always have everything be perfect. It is normal and even healthy to have conflict in a relationship as it can lead to greater understanding and connection as you work through them.
Learn how to argue
When there is a conflict it is easy to start with criticism or contempt but it doesn’t usually help to have a smooth conflict resolution. Learn to start up a conversation about conflict gently. Explain the situation but don’t blame. use “I statements” to express your concerns and focus on how the problem is making you feel or impacting you. Learning how to repair and exit an argument is also key to discussing conflict well. Making a statement of understanding or adding humor, or making it clear you’re a confronting this problem together can help manage conflict together. It is also valuable to yield to win.
If you have problems in your marriage you may also want to consider seeking more help. Most couples wait 6 six years before seeking help. Don’t wait that long to start to strenghen your marriage.