What makes a good marriage? It’s a question that you may find yourself asking from time to time.
As the routine of your relationship brings about stresses you can only experience after years together, you may be looking to restore the passion in your matrimony.
I’m talking about more than just great sex here. I’m talking about marriage enrichment, involving the emotional connection that makes you and your spouse excited to wake up to each other every single day.
After all, wouldn’t it be great if you could infuse your relationship with that same kind of excitement you and your spouse felt when you initially started dating?
Here’s a quick exercise to kick start a more fulfilling married life.
Get a piece of paper and write marriage in the center. Draw lines from it and brainstorm what you feel makes a good marriage. This type of brainstorming illustration is called a “spider diagram”.
The ideas you write down on each leg of the diagram represent action points; areas you can focus on improving in your own life.
What do you see in the marriages of friends and family, what have you seen in films or the television? Now on a separate piece of paper do the same task but with the words ‘marriage enrichment’.
WHAT WOULD ENLIVEN YOUR MARRIAGE?
These are actually activities you can engage in based on the action points you wrote down earlier.
Try and step out of yourself and imagine you are writing this to help a friend. This might include writing anything from going on a weekend vacation or having a chance to be together as a couple each week for a dinner date or game night.
GETTING BACK TO BASICS
Your relationship was based on a mutual attraction and friendship. Underneath all the stress and strain there is still the foundation of your marriage. It is possible for you to work back through the rubble to the marriage you once had or want to have. Accept you have issues, accept you both have relationship issues and try to see your spouse through the eyes of your younger self.
Ask youself, what did you love so much about your mate when you first started dating.
Your partner will not be turned on all the time and love can’t get you through everything. It is easy to be disappointed when the excitement isn’t constant. That said, acknowledging your relationship has matured is a form of acceptance that is important to have.
Understand that you have not failed – your relationship is a journey and it will have its ups and downs like the waves on an ocean.
NURTURING EACH OTHER
Weeks and months fly by and the day to day schedule can be grinding on even the strongest relationship. When you think about your week maybe the term ‘organized chaos’ comes to mind?
On a piece of paper write down each day of the week, leave a large gap between each day so you have plenty of space.
Next to each day write down the routine for the day including taking the trash out or driving your child to kindergarten, whatever happens in your day write it down.
Make note of what time approximately you have dinner, put children to bed, sit down for the evening. What are your favorite shows to watch or do you have a backlog on TiVo or DVR or whatever recording device your cable provides.
Squeezing in time to cherish your partner and yourself is important so now, using a different color if you can add in times in any of the days where you can promise to do something small i.e. give your partner a hug, ask them how they are and give your undivided attention. Every little moment will help with your marriage enrichment.
TAKING TIME FOR EACH OTHER
Camping in the back yard, taking a day off work when the children are at school, have candles with your evening meal, swap sides of the bed, going on a date – they’re all simple ways to change things up.
Making sure you have that hug you used to have before leaving for work… think back to anything either of you have let slip. When was the last time you left a note in the cupboard your partner that says ‘I Love You’. Never? Well, now’s the chance.
Focusing on the positives will make them outweigh the negatives. Marriage enrichment doesn’t mean booking a Caribbean cruise. It may be appreciating your partner’s favorite color and baking them a cake or buying that piece of lingerie when you have worn unattractive sleeping wear for years!
CHANGE IS NATURAL
Children arrive, new jobs, aging… change happens. It’s a natural part of life and you just have to accept it. It might be that you or your partner have put on weight over the years or now have some grey hair. Moving through the changes and accepting them within your relationship is important for marriage enrichment.
Accept change as a partnership. It is the two of you against the world. Each of you needs nurturing. Your model looks may be fading. You haven’t got that dream job you always planned on.
However, you’re still experiencing the journey together. Change is natural. The world is still your oyster and there is so much left to experience together.
Be kind, do little things for each other. Appreciate your partner and show them how you still feel about them underneath any negativity you may have been harboring lately.
MAKE THE POSITIVES OUTWEIGH THE NEGATIVES
Many couples argue. Feeling criticized is draining and will ultimately pull your marriage apart if it isn’t rebalanced with positives.
Friendship is the foundation of any couple and for reminding each other of this value is important. You can do things to help your partner unlock their sensitive side. By adding in some small gestures of romance and friendship in your day you will feel less overwhelmed when your partner has a problem they want to talk about.
Did you find yourself unable to take the grin off your face when you saw your partner all that time ago? You were so excited to be in their company you felt glowing with happiness.
Practice smiling! Look in the mirror and smile, smile at yourself to remind yourself how brilliant, nurturing and loving you are. Now go smile at your partner. If they ask why, say ‘just because I feel really happy to be with you right now’. Check out their reaction!
This is really just the tip of the iceberg…
Be sure to watch this free video on how to restore your marriage and rekindle that sex filled, passionate romance in minutes.