Keys To A Successful Marriage
"Married 40 years is something that a lot of married couples would like to say but it takes a lot of hard work and it is a statement that is actually earned."
With busy schedules, distractions, and stressors from daily life, it can be challenging to maintain a happy and healthy marriage. Over time, many marriages become disconnected and tend to fall into unsupportive habits that can put a strain on the relationship. Residing in an era where technology has made staying connected with friends and family easier than ever before also poses challenges for marriage. With so many apps and websites designed to keep you connected with others, it’s easy for couples to get wrapped up in their digital world and forget about the other people in their lives. No matter how your marriage is currently functioning, there are steps you can take right now to increase positivity, build trust, strengthen intimacy, and support one another on a daily basis. Here are 10 ways you can have a healthier, more connected marriage:
Have weekly check-in conversations.
Check-in conversations are designed to be a space where you and your partner can share what’s going on in your life, what’s on your mind, and how you are feeling. These conversations are not about solving problems or addressing issues. Instead, they are a way for you and your partner to maintain a consistent level of positive communication. As a bonus, having regular check-in conversations can help you maintain a healthy perspective on your relationship, life, and priorities. You can also use these conversations to address any challenges or issues that may be coming up in your marriage and brainstorm solutions together. Weekly check-in conversations are most effective when they take place on the same day and time each week. This not only creates consistency but it also ensures that your check-in time doesn’t get pushed to the bottom of your priority list.
Establish boundaries and stick to them.
Boundaries are limits that each person has about what he or she is and isn’t comfortable with in the relationship. They can be about anything from what you do together to how you communicate with each other. For example, one couple had a boundary about when they would take a break from parenting their children to go on dates. They chose to put their kids to bed between 5 and 6 p.m. every day because those hours were the best fit for their family. When couples don’t set and abide by boundaries, it opens the door to resentment and unhealthy habits. Setting boundaries will empower you to feel confident in your relationship and make it clear to your partner what you need. It is important to also be clear about why you have certain boundaries in place and what they mean to you. It’s also important to communicate these boundaries to your partner and ask that they respect and honor them.
Make time for exercise and physical intimacy.
Healthy relationships depend on healthy communication, trust, and intimacy. While many couples are good at communicating and developing trust in each other, the ability to be intimate with each other is often overlooked. As an important part of a healthy marriage, making time for exercise can help couples become more intimate with each other. Exercise has numerous benefits on mental and emotional health, and can help you connect with your partner in a new way. One study found that couples who exercised together for only 30 minutes per week reported being more satisfied with their sex lives and relationships than couples who didn’t exercise. Physical intimacy can include everything from sex to cuddling, hugging, and holding hands. While you don’t need to engage in intercourse every week, you should make time for some form of physical intimacy each month.
Cultivate a support system of friends.
Couples who have a strong friendship with each other are more likely to have a strong marriage, but cultivating a strong friendship takes time and effort. One way to boost your friendship and cultivate intimacy in your relationship with your partner is to surround yourself with positive friends who will support you in lifting each other up. Friends who are supportive and positive are a great source of encouragement and can help you and your partner develop a stronger sense of self-worth. You don’t need to share everything with your friends, but you should have a core group of people in your life who know your situation and with whom you can be open. Having friends who know you, your relationship, and your situation will help you avoid feeling like you need to pretend to be perfect all the time. You and your partner should also be friends with each other. Having a friendship with your spouse isn’t about trying to be friends with your spouse as much as it is about supporting each other and making time for each other.
Don’t blame, apologize or judge — and practice empathy.
Shifting your mindset to one that is less critical of your partner and more empathetic toward them can foster a healthier marriage. Empathy involves understanding the situation your partner is facing, feeling compassion for their feelings, and looking to see both sides of an issue. Building empathy toward your partner doesn’t mean you need to agree with their perspective in every situation. It simply means that you take the time to sit down and see things from their perspective. When you practice empathy, you’re not only fostering a healthier relationship with your partner, but you’re also improving your ability to connect with people in general.
Commit to growing together — even when it’s uncomfortable.
Most couples feel tension at times, but the difference between a healthy and unhealthy relationship is how you navigate and work through those times. When you are faced with challenges and difficult times, you have a choice between pulling away from your partner or choosing to work through the situation together. While it’s natural to want to run away from conflict at times, research has shown that choosing to stay engaged with your partner and working through the tension together is healthier in the long run. One way to choose to stay engaged with your partner during a challenging time is to agree to make it a growth opportunity. You can do this by creating a safe environment where you and your partner can be open, honest, and supportive of each other.
Put your phone down and be fully present with each other.
In a world where it’s easier than ever to be distracted, it’s important to set boundaries around how you and your partner use technology. You don’t have to cut technology out of your marriage completely, but you can make an effort to put your phones down and be fully present with your partner. One easy way to accomplish this is to have a no-phone zone in your home — for example, the kitchen and living room. If your home doesn’t have enough space for two zones, consider creating a no-phone rule for the entire home.
Try something new every month to shake things up.
Couples need to keep things fresh and exciting, but it can be easy to get stuck in a rut when you’re in the same relationship over and over again. One way to keep things interesting is to try something new every month. This can be anything from going on a new type of date to trying a new physical activity or trying a new restaurant.
Being in a committed relationship is challenging, but it’s also one of the most rewarding experiences a person can have. A healthy relationship makes you a better person and allows you to experience life in a deeper, more meaningful way. It requires energy and effort, but it’s worth the work.