A commonly held belief is that success at marriage is a crap shoot; about as predictable as a coin toss. In truth, we know what makes marriage work, but we don’t do a good job of teaching it.
Last time, ways to keep peace and harmony in your marriage were offered. Today, tips to keep your marriage out of the “roommate rut” are on the agenda.
5. Maintain fun and passion
Relationships are vulnerable to the grind of day-to-day living. It’s easy for you and your partner to lose your connection over the course of time. It is this loss of connection that slowly erodes marriages.
To keep your love alive, find new things to do together. This provides a sense of surprise that reignites the passion you felt at the beginning of the relationship. The same love chemicals that were present then are released when you and your partner share novel experiences.
A good way to stay connected is to continue to dating. It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money or take a lot of planning, but it does need to be regular. You don’t even need to leave the house. Just set the table with candles and your best dishes, put on some quiet music and have a romantic dinner.
Everything old can become new again if you take the time and make the effort.
6. The 30-minute minimum
Most conversations couples have deal with the exchange of information. They happen in short bursts as you’re heading out the door, through email or texts, or on the cell when you grab a spare moment. This does not allow for exploring what drives and motivates your partner’s thoughts, feelings, or behavior. To get a deeper, more intimate level of relating, you will need to spend at least 30 minutes a day of concentrated time with your partner.
Be careful not to use this time to dissect and analyze the relationship. Instead, focus on the hopes, dreams, and goals you have individually and as a couple. Play the “what if” game—see what part of these fantasies you can incorporate into your lives.
Give in to the moment and be completely present. Look for opportunities to follow a thread of conversation and learn more about your partner. Taking time to intentionally interact with your partner on a daily basis will inoculate your relationship to the marital doldrums.
7. Rely on rituals
Rituals are patterns of behavior you create that serve as a kind of shorthand for staying connected. Anything you do that keeps you close, both physically and emotionally, can be a ritual. They are special behaviors you do only with each other.
Using pet names with each other can be a ritual. Going to the gym and working out together can be too. Having season tickets to a sporting event or other form of entertainment or watching a weekly television show also count.
A love ritual is anything you do that lets your partner know they are special to you. It can be a note you tuck into their briefcase on Monday morning, or the cup of coffee you bring to wake them up. Whatever it is, it’s a living part of your daily relationship.
A specific type of ritual is known to be especially protective of marriage. What you do at four times of the day—when you wake up, when you leave each other, when you return at the end of the day, and before you go to bed—has great impact. It can be a kiss, a tickle, a phrase of endearment, but it must be repeated daily.
If you follow these simple suggestions, you will never hear yourself say those dreaded words, “I love you, but I’m not in love with you anymore.”
Check back next Thursday for the final segment of 10 Secrets to a Happy Marriage!
— Newlywed Survival (@NewlywedSurvive) June 21, 2012