When you’ve been married for a while, it’s easy to just fall into a routine. You know what your partner likes and dislikes, and you don’t even have to think about it anymore. But getting into a routine can be dangerous—it’s easy to start taking each other for granted as marriage partners.
If you’re going to make your marriage last, you will need to ensure that you continue saying “I love you” regularly, expressing your appreciation of each other, fighting fairly and effectively, and keeping up with the emotional intimacy that is so important in every relationship.
Take time to communicate openly with each other no matter how tired you are at the end of the day. Even if it’s just telling each other about your day over dinner, remember that communication leads to understanding which leads to compromise which leads to warmth.
If something bothers you, tell them. Don’t let it build up until you can’t stand it anymore. The same goes for compliments too! Be willing to listen to the person you love, even if they don’t always agree with what you have to say. When they are talking, be listening and be willing to hear them out.
Take time to be together
So often, we spend our time together as a couple focused on the tasks at hand—paying bills, cleaning the house, working on projects around the house. That’s all well and good but it doesn’t mean we don’t still need to take time to just be together.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of turning everything into a chore when you’re married. Instead, every now and then we need to put everything aside and do nothing but be together. We need to share our day with each other, talk about what happened that had us stressed or excited, and get back in touch with each other as people who are growing and changing in life.
The other part of being together is showing appreciation for each other. At the end of the day, go through your day and think about some things that made you happy—it might be a joke from your partner or seeing how much progress they made cleaning the house, taking care of the car, cooking, etc. Even a simple thank you will go a long way!
The centerpiece of marriage should be weekly date nights. This might sound like overkill, but it has proven far more effective than any other strategy. Date nights don’t have to be expensive—go out for pizza and a movie—but they need to be enough of an occasion that you can’t skip them if you want to; there are a few times each year when something comes up and you might have to change the date, but most weeks, don’t even consider getting out of it.
There’s no set formula for the dates; you try out new restaurants, or just stay home and watch movies. The only common theme is that you both have to look forward to them.
Find a hobby you both enjoy
When it comes to a successful marriage, two people with a shared hobby or interest is the best foundation, according to the experts. If you and your partner are into different sports and activities, or you just don’t really feel any kind of connection like that, try to find something new you can do together.
It could be something as simple as getting better at cooking and eating healthy food together. You may not have time for a huge hobby every day, but even taking up something like walking together can be a great way to connect with each other and get some exercise. If you’re more interested in activities than sports, then maybe something like quilting or knitting would be a good new hobby for both of you.
Remember you are a team, not competitors
You’re in a race together—it’s not you against your partner, it’s the two of you against the world. You’re both on the same team, and a good team doesn’t treat its members as competitors. It’s all about working together, supporting each other, and helping each other be their best selves. It’s about building each other up to become stronger and more confident versions of their already amazing selves. And that means taking care of each other, too.
Don’t lose yourself
The success of a marriage is so often dependent on how happy and comfortable each person is with their own life—and that kind of happiness can’t be forced. If one person is unhappy with something, or if one person feels underappreciated or taken for granted, then it will inevitably lead to resentment and unhappiness for both people, which just increases the likelihood that they’ll get into arguments about silly things. Even if you’re happy with your own life, it still helps to be aware of what your partner wants out of theirs and to do what you can to support them when they’re going after their dreams.
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