Top 7 ways how to strengthen a marriage. Life is indeed full of surprises and ups and downs. Marriage may be rewarding and challenging. Many couples go through stages where put their marriages on “autopilot” and at times, they push their relationship to lower the priority list as pressure to keep up with jobs and family life arises.
In life, we all go through stages and different circumstances. This may mean that relationship will go through hard times and some days, it will be flourishing. This goes without saying that love does not go away. But it does need some reinforcing and nurturing. After reading through tons of books and websites, we’ve compiled this guide to help you look after your marriage long-term.
We’ve compiled the top 7 ways how to strengthen a marriage:
- Put your spouse first
- Don’t hold grudges and don’t keep score
- Date nights on repeat (such a fun way how to strengthen a marriage!)
- Long kisses
- Celebrate even the tiniest of victories
- Embrace change
- Choose to be attracted to your spouse
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1. Put your spouse first
Success Magazine mentioned that it is important to put your spouse first.
Although we agree to a certain degree, we think it is also important that you put yourself first.
When you have a lot going on in your life, such as work, fitness, friends, children (where applicable), and family obligations, you may feel like your significant other is pushed to the sidelines. In all these demands, as we mentioned earlier, you might push your partner lower the priority list. But as all these life demands are happening, you might also push YOURSELF down the list.
The harmony (not balance, but harmony) of prioritizing yourself and your partner helps the relationship. If you are tired and running around all the time, you will also most likely feel exhausted and do not have enough time for yourself.
When you do not give yourself enough time and care, you won’t be able to also care for anybody else, especially your partner. Love and complete yourself. Our happiness is our own responsibility. Our partner will then complement ours – assuming they have also figured out their own happiness as well.
Also, when you ONLY prioritize your partner but do not give enough time for yourself, eventually you will feel resentful and that won’t also be good for your marriage.
Time to yourself can be as simple as ordering coffee at your favorite pastry shop while listening to your podcast for perhaps an hour or two. Use this time to feel “refreshed” and “date” yourself. You can then schedule dates and activities with your partner to enjoy your time “together.”
Efforts in putting your spouse first can also be an accumulation of little things like pouring him a cup of coffee first before you make yours. Perhaps making the dinner extra special specifically for your significant other.
Communicate your efforts in a loving way and also ask if your partner would prefer something else. This honest conversation will help you meet your partner’s needs and also redirect your energy and efforts accordingly. You can of course do this for your own need as well.
A strong marriage can be built and maintained by making time for each other a priority, limiting social obligations, or saying “no” to a family dinner party. Show efforts that prioritize your spouse. Communicate needs and frustrations calmly and in a non-judgemental way.
2. Don’t hold grudges and don’t keep score
Conflicts and arguments are essential as well as unavoidable parts of marriage, or really any relationship. Marriage.com defined grudges as “persistent harboring of resentment and anger towards someone because of what they did. When someone is carrying a grudge, it means that they have bottled that feeling of bitterness for a long time- most times longer than usual.“
Fighting is not a sign that your marriage is doomed. It is a sign that you are both humans with ever-changing needs and expectations. Yes, we all evolve and change our minds about things.
Holding grudges and keeping score usually stems from a “fight” or a “conflict” that was not given a chance to be discussed. Feelings were not validated. Both sides or one side did not feel heard and seen.
Approaching the aftermath of a fight and argument with a non-judgmental and compassionate approach (not from ego!) will help you clear the air and give each other a chance to speak their mind and heart. Basically, what we’re suggesting is enter this discussion in a vulnerable and open state. Listening without negating or correcting is important for both sides involved.
Does not matter who is wrong or right, creating a safe space for discussion can help avoid grudges. Also, it is not always about compromising although this is also necessary, it’s also important to pick your battles.
Understand your triggers, as well as your partner’s, and discuss those positively. Again, this is a “vulnerable” conversation but to be able to understand each other better, and not hold “grudges”, this conversation will be a big help.
3. Date nights on repeat (such a fun way how to strengthen a marriage!)
Even though it is critical to avoid entirely relying on your spouse for happiness, it is still necessary to share similar experiences. Pawelski believes that adding new activities and interests to a relationship strengthens it.
Couples can grow as a unit by sharing an interest or skill, such as taking cooking classes or tennis lessons together. “Happy couples have a zest for living with one another,” Morris says. A shared love of travel, date nights in a special hotel, a desire (or non-desire) to have children, and support for an organization they believe in all bring them closer together.
There might be days that you are unsure what activities to embark on and that’s ok too. A funny movie is always a winner! Laughing together regulates stress and enables both of you to be in a relaxed state.
If in case you get busy, you can also send flowers on that specific day when you feel like you’re going to be home late or won’t make it to family events. Small tokens that will ensure that your partner feels heard and seen will go a long way.
Sending small gifts “just because” with a personalized card complimenting them on things that is physical and beyond. “I admire how you power through the day. I’m here for you and will do my best to help when needed.“
4. Long kisses
Relationship experts Drs. John and Julie Gottman encourage their couple to kiss each other for at least six seconds every day as a part of their daily routine. If you’re looking for a “romantic” length of time, Dr. John Gottman recommends a six-second kiss.
He believes the “six-second kiss” is “long enough to feel romantic,” even though a hectic lifestyle may make that morning or evening kisses frantic pecks.
According to Gottman’s guidance, you should offer your partner a “six-second kiss” every time you say goodbye or hello. It’s a great way to establish connection, physical touch, and reduce stress hormones.
Don’t be afraid to snatch some more kisses if you get the chance!
5. Celebrate even the tiniest of victories
According to Pawelski, most married couples understand how important it is to be there for their partners during difficult times. On the other hand, she believes that remembering the good times is just as important
While positive events outnumber negative ones, she claims that couples in relationships frequently miss out on opportunities to connect. Her advice is to “immediately stop what you are doing and devote your entire attention” to positive comments.
This is such great advice on how to strengthen a marriage! Little things like when your partner was able to fit in making dinner at home despite the busy schedule? Celebrate that! Cheers to that! Better yet, next time, make that home-cooked dinner together and rekindle being a team!
Finished a project at work? Same thing. Celebrate and compliment your partner! Reassure that you will always be there to support and celebrate them!
6. Embrace change
This is probably one of the most important tips on how to strengthen a marriage. You know how people say “It seems very different now compared on how we were before..”
Of course it will be. You both have grown, evolved and have undergone changes on your own and together. These experiences will shape how you change as a person and how the relationship’s dynamics will be affected by those.
Today’sParent.Com talked about this evolution. The thing about evolving and emracing change is that BOTH of you have to be on board. As hard as it becomes, if one person is only evolving, there will be a gap and resentment and distance will start to grow.
Involve a professional counselor or therapist to help both of you grieve the “old” you and welcome the “new” dynamic that has sprung from current changes and experiences.
This might seem hard especially if you “love” that part of your partner that has now “changed.” It can take some time to adjust to the new “partner” that you are now almost starting to get to know all over again.
As cliche as this sounds, change is good. Sometimes the “good” part doesn’t show up right away and we all want to skip everything to get to it. However, there is a “loss pain” involved with embracing change. It is ok to grieve that so you can get to the good part. Which is a “strengthened” marriage.
As mentioned, asking for professional help will be to your advantage. This help might not always mean a counselor or therapist.
This may also be a professional organizer if you and your partner changed careers and now need separate working spaces at home. This can also mean hiring a professional contractor that can install soundproof panels at your house if your partner started to embark on a new musical hobby and journey.
7. Choose to be attracted to your spouse
You have the power to decide whether or not your companion is STILL attractive. It’s true, even if you don’t believe it at that time.
“Attraction to your spouse is a decision that you have the authority to make for the duration of your marriage,” says Sunny McMillan, a professional life coach, radio broadcaster, and author of Unhitched.
According to her, you should concentrate on the characteristics of your partner that most appeal to you, such as the length of their legs or how they raise their children (this trait need not be physical).
This is such a great point on how to strengthen a marriage because most of the things that will help are to make THAT choice. No matter how “cringey” it sounds. You might “cringe” at extending compliments to your partner. But remember that it is only cringey because you have not done it quite enough.
Think about your first kiss. It was a great thought but it was pretty weird the first time you did it. Then you did it again. And again. And now, you love it and won’t go without it!
Leaving random sticky notes and text messages sending your partner compliments will make them feel extra special!
We wanted to end this article by saying every situation is different and it is important to seek the appropriate professional help that will dive into your circumstance further and provide actionable steps on how you and your partner can move forward positively.
There you are lovelies! How To Strengthen A Marriage: Top 7 Ways!