1. The key to having a happy, fulfilling & long-lasting marriage is to take accountability for the role you play in relationships
Relationship is a partnership between two people and therefore both of them are equally responsible for its health and quality.
A healthy relationship is when both partners meet each other halfway.
If one partner shies away from taking accountability for his role in the relationship, the quality of the relationship is bound to deteriorate.
“When you are in denial about your part in the relationship, then you are no better than child-flinging sand at another child in a sandbox. When you take responsibility for your part in the marriage, only then will you be able to connect with your partner in a mature, intimate way.” — Carin Goldstein, LMFT
2. Make time for showering your partner with TLC
Research shows that touching generates feel good chemicals like serotonin and enhances bonding by releasing oxytocin in our bodies.
It is important to make time each day to shower your partner with Tender Love and Care and squeeze in moments of physical touch whether it is hugs, kisses or a simple pat on the back.
“Hold hands, rub shoulders, hug, and kiss, give high-fives or even fist-bumps or bottom pats. When you give a quick hug or kiss, try to lengthen it to at least 5 or 10 seconds for more effective results!” — Lori Lowe, MA
3. Learn how to agree to disagree.
All of us are born with different conditioning and belief systems. We have different thought processes and values and it is impossible for two people to agree on all the points. Maturity lies in learning to agree to disagree.
“No two people agree on everything, and that’s okay, but it’s important to be okay with each other’s differences.” — Lee Bowers, LP, PhD
4. It is not about how expensive the gift is, but the amount of thoughtfulness that goes into it
Love is not about expensive gifts or date nights but the thoughtfulness that goes into expressing love. You can get as creative as you want to express your love to your partner.
“Take the time to write a thoughtful note every so often saying what you love and appreciate about him/her. Drop it in his/her briefcase or purse so he/she will find it unexpectedly and it will brighten up his/her day.” — Suzanne K. Oshima, Dating Coach
5. For men, it’s important to understand that women want to be listened to and for women, it is important to understand that men need their me time.
Men and women are wired differently and therefore they have different needs. A woman’s basic need is to feel heard and the man’s basic need is me time.
“Men don’t need to solve or fix everything; listening to itself is an exceptional gift. For women, it’s important to understand that men need time for themselves. By giving him space to pull away and not taking it personally, you allow him to reconnect with his desire for you and his commitment to the relationship.” — Mars Venus Coaching, Life Coach
6. The biggest turn off in any relationship is trying to change your spouse.
Love means accepting your partner as they are. You can off course encourage them to be a better version of themselves but if you keep on nagging them to change who they are at the core, you send across a message that you don’t like them as they are. And that is the biggest turn-off. Nobody likes a partner who turns them into a project to be fixed instead of accepting them for who they are.
“When you try to change your spouse you come across as a nag and wind up sending the message that ‘who you are is not enough.’ Nobody likes getting that message, and it leads to distance and polarization. Let your spouse be who he or she is and focus on changing yourself.” — Dr. Rick Kirschner, Relationship Coach
7. Learn to have arguments with your partner in a healthy manner without any shaming, blaming or needing to be right.
Whenever we get into an argument, our primary tendency is to get defensive or assign blame to the other person. But this tendency stops us from listening effectively to the other person’s point of view.
The key to constructive arguments is listening without assigning any blame or shame. This can be done by starting your sentences with I instead of You.
“Communicate how you feel using I-statements. It’s not your partner’s job to read your mind, guess what you’re thinking, or put words into your mouth. These are huge obstacles to open, honest communication and will guarantee resentment, anger, and frustration in the relationship.” — Sharon Rivkin, MA, MFT
8. Appreciate the fact that in any argument, both parties have some valid points.
Whenever we get into an argument, we get into a mindset of proving our point right instead of trying to understand our partner’s perspective. It is important to be open-minded and appreciate the fact that in any argument both the parties have some valid points.
“In order to strengthen your marriage, learn to recognize that most arguments have shared responsibility, that both people have valid points and valid reasons for their feelings.” — Kathy Morelli, LPC
9. Bring fairness back into your relationship
Sometimes we don’t realize that we act selfishly and forget to play fair in our relationships. It is important to be conscious of how we are behaving in our relationships and bring fairness back to the table.
“You may have forgotten about fairness, but now’s the time to bring it back into your relationship. Are you both being fair when it comes to divvying up chores, communicating your needs, expressing dissatisfaction, dealing with finances, parenting, and supporting one another? If not, how can you improve and bring fairness back to the relationship?” — Lisa Steadman, Dating and Relationship
10. Make the relationship your top priority
A relationship can only work if it is on the top of the priority list of both the partners.
“When other things become more important, such as careers, children, and personal pursuits, trouble sets in. Make the relationship with your top priority. When you do, the marriage flourishes.” — Cathy Meyer, CPC, MCC
11. Make your interactions pleasant and comforting
“If your spouse treats you with kindness, gentleness, patience and self-control, it’s easy for you to respond kindly. If you are treated badly, with anger, impatience, etc., it’s difficult to be nice in return. Focus on how you can be a blessing to your spouse and, in turn, you will be blessed and so will your marriage.” — Mack Har
12. Shift your focus to appreciation and let go of criticism or blame, both for yourself & for your partner.
Life can be really beautiful when you shift your focus from criticism to that of gratitude and appreciation.
“Focus on what there is to appreciate about your mate, then honestly and spontaneously express your specific appreciation to them. It’s also good to do this for yourself.” — Judith Joyce, Life Coach
13. Bring back the fine art of dating in your relationship.
“Setting aside a romantic evening on a regular basis can rekindle the magic of a long-term relationship. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just special time for the two of you to remember how and why you first fell in love.” — John Sovec, LMFT
14. Set aside time, even if it’s just for 10 minutes, to check in on your partner
Set aside exclusive time to check on your partner every day (even if it’s for 10 minutes). It will make your partner feel heard and connected.
“No talk about kids, schedules, etc. allowed.” — Mary Kay Aide, MS
15. The best investment for your marriage is to invest in yourself
“So many of my patients say the reason their marriage fell apart is that they became depressed and disinterested in their partner. If you keep working on you, your marriage will stay fresh and vital. Start today by adding a new wedding vow to your list: Promise to take care of yourself so you will continue to age with grace and confidence by your partner’s side.” — Mary Jo Rapini, LPC
16. Relationships are just our mirrors
Learn to appreciate your partner for the fact that your partner is just mirroring back to you, who you are and helping you to grow and evolve.
“So take whatever you’re upset with him/her about and use it to help yourself look squarely at what you need to do in order to grow and evolve. The relationship will thrive!” — Ilene Dillon, LCSW, LMFT
17. Make time for some light and fun moments every day.
“With today’s hectic schedules, it’s easy to find your marriage at the bottom of the priority list. Take a walk and hold hands (nature calms), couple-cook (food fight!), exercise together (tennis or dancing maybe?) or just collect a ‘daily joke’ to share. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but if you make the commitment and effort to laugh together as often as possible, it can sweeten your connection and cement your relationship for life.” — Melodie Tucker, CPC
18. Always check in for your partner’s perspective before bombarding them with criticism or blame.
“For instance, it’s your spouse’s job to walk the dog in the morning, but you discover dog poop on the kitchen floor and cleaning it up makes you late for work. Instead of immediately placing blame, saying something like, ‘I’m puzzled about what happened with Spot this morning,’ is a gentle way to start a conversation.” — Jean Fitzpatrick. L.P
19. Make a list of the top three happiest moments of your relationship.
“Spend a few minutes each day briefly reliving those moments in your mind. The results will amaze you.” — Lucia, Dating Coach
20. Include more of these affirmative statements:
Little statements of positive affirmation go a long way in strengthening the bond with your partner.
“”I love you’, ‘I’m here for you’, “I understand’, ‘I’m sorry’, ‘Thank you’, ‘I really appreciate all that you do’, ‘It’s so nice to see you’, ‘That was quite an accomplishment!’” — Gina Spielman
21. Appreciate your partner every day.
“Appreciate them from your heart about who they are at their essence. Leave gratitude in love notes, hide them so they will find them, or look deeply into their eyes and tell them. Be creative!” — Linda Marie, RN, BSN
22. Create sacred time together
Living together and spending quality time together are two very different things. It is important to squeeze in some moments of quality time with your partner in your daily life.
“Couples need to understand the notion of spending “time” together versus creating sacred time together. Spending time at social events, time with family and doing “chores” together does not count as sacred time. Instead, carve out special time to not only be intimate, but also ensure that you continue to share new experiences together such as hiking, exploring someplace new, or arranging a stay-cation in your own city.” — Marni Battista, CPC
23. Compliment your spouse every day.
“A compliment is a sign of acknowledgment and appreciation. Make an effort to affirm your spouse’s value in life, and in love.” — Nicole Johnson, Dating and Relationship Coach
24. Work on creating a shared vision for your future.
A relationship works well when both partners work as a team towards a common goal.
“Sit down, listen to each other and write out how you want your future as a couple to look. It’s much easier to create your best relationship together if both people’s needs are voiced, heard and supported by their partner.” — Eve Agee, PhD
25. Date nights
“Date night is sacred and special and should be on the same day of the week every week. One week the wife should suggest the date idea and the husband should come up with the date night plan for the opposite week. This encourages both the husband and wife to be invested in date night.” — Julie Spira, Dating and Relationship Coach
26. Add a spiritual component to your life
Adding a component of spirituality in your life can deepen your bond on a more intimate level. Be it activities like yoga, meditation or tantra, opening yourself to the spiritual dimension, deepens your intimacy.
“Learn and practice Tantra and tantric sex techniques.” — Judith Condon
27. Open and honest communication and quality time together are the keys to strengthening your relationship.
“Impossible to imagine one without the other!” — Lori Edelson, LMSW, LMFT
28. Respect is the most important foundation of any relationship.
Respect is the most important factor in any relationship. No one likes to be with a partner who can’t treat them with even a basic level of respect.
“Respect each other, avoid verbal abuse, and keep insults to yourself. Bad words are just like squeezing toothpaste out of its tube — once it is out you can never get it back in again.” — Georgia Panayi, MBA
29. Set aside 10 minutes a day exclusively for your partner.
Ask what her favorite movie is and why, ask him to recall a happy memory from childhood, ask her what she’d like to be remembered for, ask him to name the three worst songs of all time. Do it at dinner, before bed, or anytime — as long as you do it for 10 minutes every day. This simple change infuses relationships with new life. — Dr. Terri Orbuch, Ph.D
30. You can have an Ego or relationship, you can’t have both.
You can either have control or connection in your relationship, but you can’t have both. If you want to have a connection with your partner, you have to be willing to let go of some control.
“Pursue connection!” — Lee Horton, Ph.D
31. Couples often lose each other because they forget to make the relationship their priority in their busy lives
“A healthy marriage is one that has a mix of individual, family, and couple time. The amount of each may be different for each couple, but the mix is necessary to keep a functional marriage.” — Michele Seligman LCSW, BCD
32. Our brains need to be in connection with another brain for healing – Limbic resonance
“Sit face-to-face and gaze into your lover’s eyes in order to allow the limbic system to relax. This will bring you closer and create the deepest sort of intimacy.” — Mary Kay Cocharo, LMFT
33. When you meet each other at the end of your respective days, greet each other with a smile and hold each other for at least 60 seconds.
“By doing so you remind each other’s old/reptilian brains that you are a source of pleasure and comfort. It’s simple, it’s easy to do, and it will make a world of difference.” — Laura Marshall, LCSW
34. Preface important communication with loving and affirming introduction.
“Try saying something like, ‘Honey, I’m confused about your response to my plans for a weekend hunting trip with the guys. When would be a good time to talk further?’ Prefacing your remarks encourages a better, more accommodating reaction from your partner.” — Greg R. Thiel, MA
35. Leave your critic hats behind on important date nights
“Every time you open your mouth to complain about something — whether it’s the food, the service, the movie, the weather, whatever — some part of your partner feels they are failing because you aren’t having a great time. Men are happiest when they can please their woman (and vice versa)! Save the full critique for your friends and in meantime, let your partner see the best in you.” — Delaine Moore, Dating and Relationship Coach
36. Accept your partner as they are
Don’t try to turn your partner into a project. Love and accept them for who they are and encourage them to be their best possible version.
“Don’t try to change them.” — Ellen Hartson
37. When your partner tells you something about you that is bothering them, reflect back on what they are saying.
“When we ‘mirror’, this helps us not feel as defensive and allows us the opportunity to better understand what he is trying to communicate.” — Anne Crowley, Ph.D
38. The best way to strengthen a marriage is to support and assist each other in being the best possible version of themselves.
“The point of marriage is not to create a quick commonality by tearing down all boundaries; on the contrary, a good marriage is one in which each partner appoints the other to be the guardian of his solitude, and thus they show each other the greatest possible trust. A merging of two people is an impossibility, and where it seems to exist, it is a hemming-in, a mutual consent that robs one party or both parties of their fullest freedom and development. But once the realization is accepted that even between the closest people infinite distances exist, a marvelous living side-by-side can grow up for them, if they succeed in loving the expanse between them, which gives them the possibility of always seeing each other as a whole and before an immense sky.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet
39. Lost the loving feeling?
“Step 1: Write down 10 qualities you loved about your partner when you first met and read it to each other.
Step 2: Brainstorm a list of 10 fun things you did together when you first met; do one date per week and enjoy bringing back that loving feeling!” — Tasha Dimling, Dating Coach, MBA
40. You’re entitled to the occasional mood swings but you’re not entitled to treat your partner as a punching bag
“But you’re not entitled to make your partner the whipping girl or boy.” — Sherry Amatenstein, LCSW
41. A strong relationship is built on trust.
“Trust your partner in everything, including purchases and financial decisions, and to bring up things with you that needs a joint decision. If you can’t do that, the two of you have a problem”. — Donald Pelles, Ph.D., CHt
42. Always keep the big picture perspective.
“In the heat of the moment, what feels super-important will likely fade in importance as time goes by. Before you react by yelling, tossing insults or unkind words, remember that ‘this, too, shall pass’. Don’t let one unfortunate incident, difficult argument or challenging moment destroy your lifetime of happiness.” — Melanie Gorman, MA
43. Compliment your spouse on qualitative traits such as patience, helpfulness, courage, or kindness instead of just appreciating them for their external beauty.
“Create regular opportunities for fun, laughter, and positive experiences. Figure out what communicates love to each other and do that. Be observant and thoughtful with little things and even do chores that the other dislikes. Consciously doing what opens and softens your spouse’s heart will benefit you both in the long run and keep your marriage happier.” — Susanne Alexander
Related Video: 6 Things That Love Isn’t and 5 Things Love Is
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