You each have to put in some work to have a healthy marriage if you want to compare with the 50 years marriage of your parents, who deserve perfect gifts for their golden wedding anniversary from their children. So, here are ten actions you can take to enhance your marriage:
1) Spend Time Together
Spending time together to talk about what is happening in your lives is very important. Take time to understand your partner’s needs, wishes, strengths and weaknesses. When you understand the differences between you, you become stronger and dealing with any problems that arise becomes much easier. You can talk when you’re doing the dishes, on a night out or when cuddling on the sofa at home.
2) Manage Conflict kindly
You are two different people, so you’re not always going to agree on everything. Learn to argue without shouting or swearing. When an issue arises, ask yourself if it’s something you want to spend time discussing. Pick your battles! Don’t throw accusations at your spouse. Take responsibility and don’t pass on all the blame to your partner. Listen to understand what your partner is saying. Don’t interrupt. Remain calm honest, kind and learn to compromise.
3) Always be respectful
Treat your spouse the same way you want to be treated and the bond between you will be strong. Be sincere with your appreciation of their support and say ‘Thank you’ for their help. Criticisms and put-downs will damage your relationship. Never be tempted to say something about your partner that puts them in a poor light (unless you feel in danger because of their behaviour).
4) Know yourself
How well do you know yourself? If you don’t know yourself well, it will be difficult to learn about your partner. Learning about yourself helps you both. You can always learn more about your partner however long you’ve been together. What are your dreams for the future? What is your worst fear? How do you like to receive love? Make a commitment to find out new things about each other and you will grow and strengthen your marital bond.
5) Emotional intimacy
Sex is enjoyable, fun and brings you closeness. Be imaginative! Emotional intimacy is when you are safe to share all of yourself (not just sexually) without fear of being belittled or judged.
6) Shared Interests
It’s good to have space to follow your own interests independently. Your relationship is improved if you also share an interest. You may support the same football team or enjoy the same band. This gives you an opportunity to share experiences and create new shared memories. Common interests can also include a shared enjoyment of simpler things such as going on walks or playing board games.
7) Be generous
Ensure that your spouse is your top priority. Make time for each other. Help each other out in times of stress and overwork. Write love letters from the heart. Remember birthdays and other celebrations and create or buy a special gift that matches their personality and interests.
8) Communicate effectively
However long you’ve been married and however well you know each other, you’re not mind-readers. Really listening to your partner is a skill that takes practice. Don’t just listen to the words, watch the body language too. Be honest and tell your spouse what is going on and how you feel. Keep calm and don’t be defensive or emotional if you’re hearing things you don’t like. Ask for clarification until you both understand each other.
9) Forgive Each Other
You are going to feel hurt, frustrated and upset by your partner. Both of you! Sometimes this is done knowingly for example after an argument, but sometimes it is a genuine misunderstanding. Since none of us are perfect, be prepared to forgive mistakes. As soon as possible after you have caused upset or made a mistake, apologise. Be sincere with your apology and with the amends you need to make.
10) See the Best in Each Other
You fell in love with the wonderful qualities you saw in your partner when you first met. For example: He may have been really passionate about a topic. Now you just think he’s crazy! It may be that it’s your perception that has changed, not his behaviour. Fall in love again by listing all the things you love about your spouse.