10 Top Tips for a Happy Healthy Marriage
For many of us, our marriage or life partner is up high in our 'top 3 important things in life', along with our health and our children.
So how can you keep the love alive and the relationship fresh? Here are some essential actions to keep on taking to ensure a long and happy marriage.
Do spend time together.
This sounds oddly obvious but being together is more than spending time together in the same room, eating, watching TV or sleeping. Even if you have a 'weekend relationship' where work commitments keep you apart during the week, spend time doing things you both enjoy together.
Do spend time separately.
Space is as important as togetherness in a marriage so indulge your passion for flower arranging while he follows his love of golf without feeling that you're dragging your partner to events s/he hate or that abandoning him/her.
Remember to pay your partner compliments.
Genuine ones, from the heart. You might check out his butt in a new pair of jeans and think it looks cute - so tell him! He may know you better than he knows anyone else but he's not telepathic so if you're thinking something nice about your partner, just say it out loud - just as you would have done when you were first dating.
Properly, so that you hear the words and the message. Resist the urge to interrupt or carry on typing on the computer while s/he's talking and do the most flattering thing that anyone can do for another - give your undivided attention.
Do be intimate.
This is more than sex - it's kissing, cuddling, sharing your thoughts, touching and communicating through your own couple-language. How many times in an average day do you pat your partner's behind, kiss as you pass each other in a doorway or give him a quick shoulder rub as he works at the computer? When you were first dating this was probably all the time! If your count is now a little on the low side then make a point of adding more touching and intimacy to your relationship.
Don't belittle your partner or criticise him/her.
In front of friends or family it's embarrassing for them; in front of children it sets a bad example of how to behave in a relationship. If your partner has an irritating habit or a dumb idea, take the path less travelled and tell them in a straightforward but tactful way. Even be self-deprecating to make your point. Respect is the bedrock for a healthy marriage which means doing as you would be done unto.
- the other person's space and time. If you're meeting up after a shopping trip or work and you're running late, call and say so. In the bedroom, bathroom, car or house, don't crowd your spouse. Do they need time alone?
Don't forget to communicate.
If all you talk about is the kids or the business of daily life, remember to also discuss your hopes and dreams. This is related to being intimate (above) because not communicating about the small-but-important things in life - sex, sharing household chores or working late - can make them grow out of proportion and become more serious.
Remember why you fell in love.
Take time every so often to think about the things that captured your heart. Do they still light your fire? How can you re-create that?
It's the little things that make life better and sweeter.
Love notes under a pillow when you're away overnight, making the bed when it's not your turn, cleaning his car when he's really busy, arranging a special date when she's stressed out with work or the kids... It only takes a little imagination to lift our everyday lives out of the humdrum.
More than anything, remember you're a team - you both have strengths and skills that keep you winning and moving in the same direction.