When we think of strengthening our marriage relationship, it’s easy to think of big, dramatic actions, like going to therapy or buying expensive gifts for our spouse, but renowned marriage researcher Dr. John Gottman says that it’s actually the little things that make all the difference. Here are 4 easy ways to improve your marriage:
Have “Hello” & “Goodbye” Rituals
Whether you kiss each other in the morning, say ‘I love you,’ or squeeze hands, have a routine that you do to connect when saying hello or goodbye. This is important because it’s something that you can count on and expect as a simple way to bond. Even when you’re upset, your love routine can help you and your spouse feel connected.
Turn Toward Your Partner
I encourage spouses to physically and emotionally turn toward each other. This may mean putting down your phone, taking a break from the laundry or dishes, or just eliminating any distractions when it’s time for you two to talk. Sometimes when we’re angry or upset, we tend to withdraw, but these painful moments is when it’s most important to turn toward one another.
Express Gratitude for the Small Things
We all want to feel loved and appreciated, and many individuals identify “words of affirmation” as one of their love languages. Tell your spouse how grateful you are for them and for what he/she does. For example, saying, “thanks for going to work to support our family” or “it meant so much to me that you were so patient with the kids” can help you really connect with your partner.
Nurture Friendships With Others
This may initially seem counterintuitive, but the truth is that we need strong friendships to relieve pressure from our marriage! No single relationship can fulfill all of our emotional needs, so while your partner can give a lot, he/she can’t give you everything to make you complete. Having outside relationships can take some stress away from one person having to try to give you everything you need.
Click here to watch my interview with Good Things Utah about this important topic.
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