Marriage seems magical when you say “I do” in front of a cheering crowd of family and friends. In addition to a romantic honeymoon, your first few months of marriage are exciting as the two of you start your new journey together as husband and wife. But—gasp—typically the fairy tale aspect wears off when you fall back into a routine. That’s normal. Just don’t let routine mean total boredom, which can lead to problems along the way. Instead, set a pattern of love, communication, trust and excitement in your marriage so you can continue to bond with your spouse as you grow old together.
Break Down Barriers
Better communication is the foundation for any healthy marriage. Without meaning to, couples often put up emotional, physical and verbal barriers that discourage open communication. If you find yourself doing this, stop! Take time to listen to each other. Focus on what your spouse is saying and provide emotional support when needed. It may be just what he or she needs to survive a bad day.
Put Each Other First
Selfishness is not a healthy trait in any relationship. Love deepens from that initial romantic spark through serving each other and fostering intimacy with each other. In his book, “Sexperiment: 7 Days to Lasting Intimacy with Your Spouse,” Dallas Pastor Ed Young Jr., founder of the Ed Young Fellowship Church, said a healthy marriage is built on prioritizing time for each other. Make an effort to do little things for your spouse that he or she will appreciate, including making time to intimately connect.
Plan Date Nights
Marriage does not equal an end to dating. Spending quality time with your spouse on a date night gives you a chance to focus on him or her without any outside distractions. Date nights offer a sign you are committed to building a strong marriage. It is a perfect time to do fun things together and remember why you fell in love in the first place. If dinner and a movie grows stale, make a list of ideas—like site seeing in your city, taking a dance class or going to a museum—and put them in a jar. Next time you’re out of ideas, dip in the bowl for a new adventure.
Invent Your Own Celebrations
You don’t need to wait until Valentine’s Day or your wedding anniversary to celebrate your love for each other. Create your own days for celebrating that are special to you as a couple. Doing so helps build rapport and strength romantic love, which can actually cause the brain to feel less pain and boost your overall happiness, Web MD notes. One idea for a celebration is to commemorate special relationship milestones like your first date or first kiss. It is a perfect time for sharing happy memories and reliving what brought you together. To make the event that much more special, consider setting a tradition such as photographing yourselves in the same place (where you had your first kiss?) every year.
Embrace Each Other’s Interests
Do you like going out to see plays, but your man prefers watching sports? There’s no reason you can’t do both activities. Spending time together helps build friendship. Nurturing friendship is crucial to building a healthy marriage, because it brings the two of you together on common ground. It is easier to be your spouse’s friend when you feel like you can be yourself around him or her. Make time for each other’s favorite activities besides simply finding common interests.
Speak in His or Her Love Language
Stronger marriages require paying attention to finer details, which could mean you have to go out of your way—and your comfort zone—to make your spouse feel loved. Consider spending a night taking an online test to determine each of your love languages. Coined by Dr. Gary Chapman, the Five Love Languages most people speak—or give and receive love—are words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time and physical touch. Discover your love language and make a goal of consciously trying to speak your spouse’s love tongue.
Guest Post by Danielle Hernandez
Originally from Seattle, Danielle moved to Phoenix for love. She enjoys writing about a variety of women’s topics.
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