Making a marriage work is hard. It takes a lot of time and effort. However, according to some relationship experts, there are several things a married couple can do to make their marriage work. Here are 19 things that make a marriage work.
1. Communication as the magic ingredient of a happy relationship
When couples describe their communication, you can hear “we never argue “to “we argue all the time” and everything in between. But communication is so much more than just arguing or not.
Seeing things from your perspective is equally important as being open to see them from your partner’s perspective. Do you feel heard and seen by your partner, and do you see and hear your partner? And if not, do you feel safe to express that?
When we have a common goal in mind and the reason why we got together, it becomes so much clearer. We are able to step into communication from the place of love rather than proving who is right.
Keeping in mind that you love this person and you wish them the best and that they love you and wish you the best takes you to the place of love and moves you from “I’m doing this for me” to “I’m doing this for us.”
Communication starts with honesty, with yourself and your partner, continues with understating, patience and love.
Questions to ask yourself:
- Do I want to be happy, or do I want to be right?
- Does each of us feel safe sharing our success, being vulnerable, and expressing our opinion?
- Have we created an environment that allows both of us to be heard and seen?
And don’t forget that communication is a lifelong practice, and it evolves with time, just like the relationship.
2. Don’t go to sleep without clearing the air.
If you have an argument with your partner and things are heated, make it a commitment to make things right before you go to sleep.
When we set the intention, our brain starts working in that direction and towards finding a solution for the task we gave it. Setting the intention to make things right before bed makes your brain work to find the solution for the argument.
Benefits are clear for both you and your partner.
- Both of you are going to sleep in a calmer state and get the necessary rest.
- You are going to bed with someone you don’t feel resentment for but love and affection. And that creates space for physical intimacy, further connection, and deepening your relationship.
- The next day, you’ll start fresh and in completely different energy without carrying the baggage from the previous day.
3. Start the day by complimenting each other.
We all know the power of gratitude and its effects on our life and views of the world. What about starting every day by being grateful for the amazing person who agreed to spend their life with you?
By reminding each other every day why you’ve chosen each other to spent your life with, pointing out each other qualities so that both of you can be reminded how blessed you are to have found each other, elevates your mood, puts you in the state of gratitude and primes your mind to recognize positive aspects of your relationship.
This creates a better outlook for the day and creates a habit of seeing positives, which makes all the little things that annoy you less significant.
4. Make one night a week a mandatory date night.
Just remember when you started a relationship, you were happy to make every night a date night and spend every day with each other.
But then life got in the way, kids, careers, personal problems, and the thing that was so important to both of you at the beginning somehow slipped away.
Bring that passion back at least for one night a week.
Spend time together, just the two of you, without phones, TV, kids, or any other distraction. See each other, hear each other, appreciate each other and cultivate passion in the relationship.
5. Have fun together
Our brain is wired to do more of the things that bring us pleasure. So make spending time with each other fun, joyful and pleasurable.
This can be doing some fun activities together, going for walks, playing tennis, board games, or making everyday chores fun.
Suggestion: Each of you can make a list of 20 things that bring you joy. Read these lists together and see how you can incorporate these things in mundane activities or even organize activities for the sake of fun.
For example, you love listening to music, how can you incorporate more music in some activities that have been only chores so far?
Relationship Expert- Sandra Hay Love & Relationship Coach
6. Strengthen your relationship through the power of touch
Intimate touch draws new and long-term couples together. It syncs them emotionally and physiologically. Their heart rates and brain waves sync up. Their breathing falls into the same rhythm. Through touch, they become as one. The release of the feel-good neurochemicals dopamine and the ‘cuddle hormone oxytocin during touch stimulates our reward circuits in our brain. It helps us to feel more connected, increases trust and empathy, reduces pain and stress, and increases well-being and relationship satisfaction. Touch even improves our ability to read our partner’s facial and emotions, fostering understanding, increasing intimacy, and deepening our emotional and physical connection.
7. Take time out of your busy schedules to truly connect.
In the early stages of courtship and attraction, we can’t get enough of the one you’re with. We want and need to get closer, to connect on a deeper level. Our eyes stick to one other like glue as we crave our partner’s touch, embrace and gaze. Direct and prolonged eye contact lies at the heart of human connection. It can fuel the flames of love and desire and help us to truly bond.
However, as the chemical cocktail associated with the early stages of attraction subsides and our desire for closeness is replaced with a healthy need for a bit more independence, the intensity of our eye contact tends to decrease. While interdependence in a relationship is healthy, a lack of connection and intimacy is not. The good news is that you can give your relationship a kick start simply by increasing the amount of eye contact you make with your partner.
In fact, a study published in the Journal of Personality found that participants who held direct eye contact for two minutes experienced significantly stronger feelings of affection, liking, and passionate love than those in the control group. Eye contact has also been shown to attractiveness, arousal, and levels of relationship satisfaction, trust, and bonding. It has also been shown to melt our stresses away. Decreasing cortisol and promoting a feeling of calm. The perfect recipe for love.
8. Up your kissing dose
Kissing is one of the most powerful and intimate forms of non-verbal communication, shown to increase intimacy and attraction and improve relationship satisfaction. It also boosts oxytocin, the cuddle hormone that decreases cortisol whilst promoting connection and intimacy, helping you to feel more connected and less stressed.
Studies show that kissing activates all five of our senses and sends a direct signal to the emotional brain associated with love, lust, and passion. Releasing a surge of neurotransmitters and hormones, including dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, phenylethylamine, and norepinephrine. This chemical cocktail not only feels good but also increases attraction. Couples who kiss frequently are also more likely to experience additional benefits from increased touch, eye contact, and intimacy.
9. Pay attention to your partner’s non-verbal cues.
Every minute of every day, our partner’s nonverbal communication, body language, gestures, position, facial expression, and paralanguage or how they speak reveals information about how they feel and often what they need or crave. But these often subtle nonverbal and verbal clues and requests for support and emotional connection often go unnoticed or ignored.
If you’re seeing signs of withdrawal or blocking, and your partner feels shut off and avoids making eye contact, rolls their eyes, or feels like they’re pulling away or, worse, completely deflated, it’s time to reconnect.
Connected couples turn towards their partner emotionally, intellectually, and physically. They pay attention to the non-verbal and verbal cries for love, warmth, and understanding. They allow themselves to be vulnerable and truly intimate with their partner, and this has been associated with greater relationship satisfaction, increased emotional and physical intimacy, and couples that are less likely to separate and divorce.
10. Make a Commitment to Investing in the Relationship
There’s something to be said for making a conscious decision and commitment to keep choosing to invest in your partner and your relationship. To keep the excitement, spark, and spontaneity alive. Not because it’s Valentine’s Day or because you’re bound by marriage, finances, or children, but rather because you’ve chosen and continue to choose to love them day after day, year after year. Investing in the relationship means breaking out of the routine and committing to making time for one another, really listen, be present (rather than going through the motions), and choose to have fun and keep the excitement alive.
11. Spend Quality Time Together
What starts off as two people doing their own thing can grow into a gulf if you don’t take time to reconnect, communicate and have fun. If you’re in a relationship rut and romance has taken a back seat to work, kids, chores, and friends, it’s time to pencil in some quality time.
12. Do Something New Together
To add some extra spark, plan something fun and rewarding together. Studies show that doing something novel and /or challenging together releases a mood-boosting dopamine surge that can make you feel more attracted and connected. But the benefits don’t end there. Similarity also makes us feel understood and strengthens feelings of trust and connection—increasing relationship satisfaction and keeping your love alive.
Relationship and Body Language Expert and Founder and CEO of Love Destination Katia Loisel
13. Always respect each other.
The most crucial thing in a relationship, much more important than love and communication, is respect. Conflicts are unavoidable. Communication can only do so much for a couple. Eventually, communication can be problematic. However, when conflicts arise and things go wrong, only respect can save a relationship. If two individuals respect each other, they will not do anything that will be detrimental to the relationship. When two individuals put respect above anything else, any conflict that gets in the way will be resolved without hurting the other on purpose. Respect can go a long way, but always remember that it is earned.
14. Be realistic
Have realistic expectations about the relationship and love in general. Being in a relationship doesn’t mean that you’ll be head over heels for each other every second of the day. Love can be tedious. Love can be routinary. Love goes into directions that won’t feel like love. But that doesn’t mean the relationship’s broken. It doesn’t mean it has to be over. Be realistic about what you expect from each other. Fairytales are fiction for a reason. Be grounded in reality that there will be fights, hard times, and unavoidable conflicts. Although they can be a rough road to take on, they’re essential to growing in the relationship.
Sam Whittaker, Editor-In-Chiefat Boureston Media Inc
15. Love your partner for their flaws
Within the intimacy of marriage, your spouse might exhibit some unpleasant personality traits and bad habits from time to time. Left unattended, bitterness and resentment in marriage can fester and gets worse with time and can create significant barriers to intimacy on all levels. In a marriage, you must do your best to be kind and accepting towards your partner, and of course, love them for who they are, even for their flaws!
16. Don’t share private matters or personal details with friends.
If you get annoyed with your significant other sometimes, that’s fine. Yet, a good spouse ensures never to air their grievances publicly. Discussing private matters with family or friends will leave our partners hurt and embarrassed. As tempting as it may be to bring up those incidents with others, it’s crucial to resist. It’s very disrespectful and hurtful to a spouse.
17. Learn how to apologize with sincerity
For your marriage to last, you’ll have to learn to take responsibility for your own mistakes and learn how to apologize and mean it. An apology signifies that you have the maturity and experience to acknowledge your own mistakes. If one person in the marriage is always the one saying sorry, this represents an imbalance in the relationship dynamic and will surely lead to more problems.
Megan Harrison (LMFT) – Relationship Therapist at Couples Candy
In a healthy marriage, both partners need to take ownership of their own mistakes and be held accountable to steer the relationship in a positive direction.