The divorce rate seems to be on a steady increase. What happens after the wedding has ended and the guests have long gone? The wedding gown and suit has been put away neatly. The honeymoon is over and you are both back to reality. A relationship is work and marriage is even hard work.
The strength and value of any relationship are oftentimes measured by efforts put into it daily. In a world filled with bills to pay, deadlines to meet, kids to take care of, meetings to attend and personal matters that fight for our attention, it is possible to lose connection with our significant half in a bid to meet up with the demands of life.
Human interactions and connections demand commitments and should be worked on. Relationships are like gardens that need some tending and lots of attention, it demands the attention of both parties and if left unattended it could die of starvation or sometimes cause a strain.
Why do we need to work on our relationships? After all, you are both in love. What do you stand to benefit when you work at fostering a bond with your partner? How do you maintain a healthy bond in your relationship? How do you keep your relationship alive in spite of your differences?
Note that anything done with love as the motive will always be rewarded, it may not come back in ways we expect but it will always come back. Work at making your spouse happy daily and you will be happy too as it will be reciprocated.
While being in a relationship and being in love focus more on making your partner happy and fulfilling their needs, it has been proven over time that the quality of your relationships could affect our general wellbeing. As individuals, our emotional makeup largely affects a huge part of our lives.
It’s also been observed that the success of your committed relationship has a direct impact on your success in life if well managed. Some seek validation outside and these could turn them into cheats. Others get into drugs to get temporal relief or get busy with work in a bid to filling the void or vacuum an unhappy relationship has left them.
Having worked closely with married couples, I realized that in most cases some things fall apart before they realize their marriage needs attention. The art of how to strengthen your marriage or relationship has to be learned and followed.
The time spent sitting before a counselor, relationship expert or in a law court could have been spent doing other things or better still invested in growing the marriage or relationship.
A breakdown in a relationship could be avoided if not prevented. As they say, prevention is better than cure and a stitch in time saves nine. Also, an unhappy individual will not have the best of relationships.
Having established these facts, we will be exploring in this post amongst other things how to maintain your marriage or relationship, how to keep a relationship alive and how to find happiness in marriage. How do we feed our connection and foster closeness daily?
Statistics has it that it takes 2 years for a couple to settle in and it is at this point love begins to fade and one could risk getting weary of your partner if it is not worked on.
Possibly you are married and for some time now your relationship seems to have gotten stuck in a stalemate or you are dating and you are wondering where the feeling you used to have for your partner has gone? Or you love each other but you want to have a stronger bond with your partner. The good news is something can be done.
Note that there are a thousand and one things we can do to strengthen love, it does not have to be dramatic or even expensive. Little things matter. It is the small and frequent acts of love that build good relationships and are often the most meaningful. How to strengthen your relationship or marriage, let’s take a peek:
1. Do Not Stop Dating
This is one of the proven ways on how to keep a relationship alive. I choose this point as the first because it reminds me of a lady who walked into my office one morning searching for answers. Her marriage had broken and she wanted to know what went wrong. She confessed to having gotten engrossed in her career at the expense of her partner.
Her husband tried winning her attention, he would return daily to fix dinner or even prepare for a night out with her, other times he would come back home early from work just to fix up a surprise 7-course meal as she was too busy to go out. But when she comes back, she complains of being too tired and needs to rest, because she had a meeting the next morning.
Meanwhile, this is the same job she had before she got married and having nights out or dinner indoor was a routine while dating which added some spice to her relationship and she worked her way around it and showed up cheerful and eager to have the fun of her life with her partner.
Other times she would nag that her man should help her prepare for her meetings instead of fixing dinners. This continued until her marriage broke and her husband started seeing someone else.
I took a long look at her and said to her “You simply stopped dating”. I said to her, you need to know how to strengthen your marriage. Remind yourself daily that this is the same person you could not wait to have and now that you have them, it should be worth the chase.
The things that got you attracted to each other at the beginning of your relationship should never stop. Most times we feel once we have gotten a hook on our partner, we can just be a slop afterward. Neglecting and taking your partner for granted in a relationship could be very painful and make them see us as not being real.
What are those things you did when u started dating? It could be your dressing, your active sense of humor, your smile, etc. The bottom line is to keep being your sweet self, focus on your friendship, and build meaningful connections daily.
2. Make Your Partner A Priority
Keep in touch. No matter how busy you are, try to connect. A simple how is work going? I miss you, please take on the world, I am your number one fan, I gat your back by SMS, will surely put some springs in the steps of your partner throughout the day.
Also, it helps your partner keep tabs on your activities during the day, it shows your partner is on your mind, you value them, you cannot wait to be back to them and you miss their company like ‘I am going in for a meeting, I am done for the day, I am on my way home’ etc.
Some say good morning or goodbye and do not check on the other until they retire at night this may make your partner feel not valued. “I seem to be drifting away from my partner,” said Lisa in her mail to me about the disconnect in her relationship.
Being in a distant relationship she needed to connect more by filling her partner’s mind with thoughts of her. I advised her to get into a routine of sending pictures of her outfit daily or making video calls just before bedtime. This could make them feel loved and valued. This is one of the happy marriage tips.
3. Learn To Express Yourself
This is another way on how to strengthen your marriage or relationship. Communication and openness are not just about solving problems but necessitate getting to know how your better half thrives and feels so you can understand them better. It lets you in on their needs, wants, fears, struggles and losses.
Communication does not stop at being verbal only. A touch can speak volumes and convey how you feel, your love and acceptance of your body half. Your body language and smile count too.
Ask questions like:
- How was your day?
- Anything you would like to share?
- What was the highest point of your day?
- How can I ease you of your stress right now?
While they speak, listen to their answers lovingly and with full attention without interrupting, this shows they have your full attention. Laugh when you need, nod and maintain eye contact. It lets you into their world clearly so you do not assume wrongly.
Learn to say “I love you” daily even when you do not feel like it. Make it a routine. Let them see it in your eyes and in the things you do.
My partner expects me to be a mind reader said Davis, it’s burdening. My partner hardly speaks her mind neither does she open up on her weaknesses. I feel like I’m walking on eggshells when I’m with her as she seems to say all is well yet I can feel she isn’t happy being with me. Upon invitation, Darlyn sat before me in counseling and started her story.
I have been married for 8 years she said, with 3 kids with ages 3,5 and 7 respectively. They started as most couples do, nothing extraordinary about their relationship but they were head over heels in love with each other, got married and had kids. She got busy with work and family.
On the other hand, Davis worked as a furniture maker to enable him to fend for his family. He was a caring father and tried to be available for the kids but not as much as the wife because she needed to resign at some point to cater to the kids.
At this point in their lives, their relationship began to suffer as they never had time to communicate, their lives were taken over by routine. Everything they did was with or for the kids. Being a full-time mom, she rarely took time for herself. She wanted more help from her husband but never asked for this because she felt she shouldn’t need help, she should be able to manage on her own like a good mother should and secondly her husband should know he needs to help out more, she shouldn’t have to tell him.
Slowly over the years, resentment built up inside of her that she never communicated to her husband. Well, she would communicate subtly, but not in any way that he was able to register and respond to. After 6 years of this, she got to a stage of burnout. She began going out and disregarding how her actions impacted her family.
She went into an emotional crisis and began acting opposite of her normal self and began taking time for herself, away from her family in large doses. She then met a man that showed interest in her and she engaged in an affair. Upon her husband’s discovery, he got in touch with me.
She was seething with bitterness toward her husband for his lack of help around the house all these years. He was confused. He worked and felt he did his part and had no idea that she was so angry with him, he even felt worse that he sensed it and asked questions regularly but she always said all was fine.
He was hurt and upset by the affair, no longer had trust and became insecure in the relationship. As they began to dig into their marriage to understand why the affair happened, she was able to stop blaming her husband and take a harder look at herself. She began to uncover the faulty thinking and mindset that was behind her behaviors.
She realized the affair was an escape from dealing with the realities of her marriage. She avoided conflict which was part of how things got this far. She had a negative relationship with her mother and was giving herself the message that she had to be perfect in order to be good enough, low self-esteem had set in.
She expected her husband to step up even though she never communicated her needs to him. So her husband was unhappy too, though he saw the signs but didn’t know how to help his wife. He also avoided conflict.
At the time they came into counseling, they were on the brink of divorce. With 3 children, they didn’t want to go this road, but they were both in so much pain, they didn’t know how they were going to make it work.
They engaged in counseling weekly for a couple of months after which they did not only succeed in working on their marriage but never looked at divorce as an option, they are happier and healthier and are experiencing a new relationship with one another.
How did they do it? She worked on communicating her needs to her husband, and he listened and was responsive. He realized he needs to do more than just provide financially and is taking a much more active role in parenting the kids and helping around the house.
She was able to acknowledge the pain she caused with her affair and together they worked to understand why it happened, how to prevent it and together they found forgiveness. She became transparent so he could begin to regain a sense of trust. And when anything went awry, they talked about it together openly, honestly and with love and kindness.
So overall, through their experience and the counseling process, they were able to learn to communicate with one another, expressing their needs and becoming responsive to one another, they were able to forgive and rebuild trust, they learned a great deal about themselves and each other and in the end created a marriage that they both feel good to be a part of.
A beautiful ending you may say but not everyone may not be this lucky. You too can find out how to strengthen your relationship or marriage.
4. Play Your Role
Want to be happy? Want to know how to maintain a relationship? Do you know your partner’s needs and yours are almost opposites? Recognizing and meeting them could go a long way to reduce frictions to the barest minimum; therefore you should work at meeting them daily.
You cannot meet your partner’s needs if you do not know what they are neither can you know what your partner’s needs are if you do not know your partner. A man’s mood and general wellbeing and happiness revolve around four things which are respect, comfort, sensual satisfaction and winning (motivating and encouraging them).
While that of a woman is being loved, touched, appreciated and spending quality time. Once known, meeting them is the next goal. This is how to strengthen your relationship or marriage.
5. Learn To Show Appreciation
Show appreciation for little acts of kindness shown to you by praising your partner. It promotes happiness in marriage. You give your spouse the impression that they are doing a good job and it empowers them to do more. It could be simple acts of them waking you up so you do not miss a meeting, helping you put on the heater, packing breakfast for you.
Let them know you are happy they are in your world. You could drop love notes where they could easily see them too. This is one marriage advice I give couples.
6. Don’t Get Stuck In A Rut
One can easily settle into a life of routine where we just do specific things daily. Learn to be spontaneous, keep being innovative, add a hint of surprise to how you treat your spouse. The key to keeping your spouse more in love and more attracted to you is getting them to look forward to what’s coming next. Do things differently.
It could be calling them different pet names other than what they are used to, return earlier than normal from work, changing the decoration at home, offering a foot massage. Work at carrying out an activity daily together to keep the fun between you two alive. It could be to watch a movie together at home, look at your pictures.
There are so many simple activities you can do together. Prepare their favorite meal differently, offer them different fruits. You could also work towards picking an outfit for them daily and admiring them when they are dressed.
The above are successful marriage tips and thoughts on how to strengthen your relationship or marriage.
When you love someone, you will want to be supportive and this involves looking for ways you can be of help or assist your partner daily. You could offer to take the trash out while they relax for a while, help with the dishes. Work at spending quality time together where it is just you and your significant other, even if it is for a few minutes daily possibly after dinner.
Tune out the world, turn off your handsets or put them on silent mode, put off your laptops, focus on each other, you could also show affection by touching them, holding hands or hugging. You are not limited as to things you can do to strengthen your marriage provided they are healthy. I believe now you have discovered how to strengthen your relationship or marriage.
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