“Do you think our marriage is worth saving?”
This is one of the most frequently asked questions in my marriage coaching practice. Couples posing this question usually have one thing in common – they’ve had many good times together but spent a portion of those times doing a variety of things wrong. If you can have some good times doing so many things wrong, imagine what a great time you can have once you’ve learned to drop those bad habits that plague your relationship. You can have a fulfilling and lasting marriage once you learn and practice the hidden rules of relationships.
“Yes, your marriage is worth saving.”
5 things every married couple can do to improve their relationship:
1. Cultivate at least one shared interest.
If your kids or the roof over your head are the only things you have in common with your spouse, there won’t be much to build on when things become challenging. Find at least one shared interest you can use as a focal point or touchstone in the midst of daily life. My friends, Lee and Cathy, ride motorcycles. They each have their own bike and they go out on the road together several times a month. Sometimes they ride in a group or invite others to join them, but I can always tell they’d have a great time riding alone. Riding gives them a fun way to touch base with each other outside their home and daily routines. Find and cultivate at least one shared interest with your spouse.
2. Actively work to improve your communications skills.
Men and women are inherently different, which means our communication styles are inherently different as well. We often believe it would all work out if our significant other would just communicate like us. That will never happen but all hope isn’t lost. Actively work to improve your communication skills and learn the communication style that works best for your spouse.
3. Keep dating.
Most counselors and life coaches would agree that dating is an integral part of developing and maintaining a healthy relationship. The same is true for married couples. Keep things fun and interesting by putting on some nice clothes, getting out of the house and giving each other your undivided attention. Think outside the box of the typical “dinner and a movie date” and really connect with your spouse. Look back to the first tip – Cultivate at least one shared interest – and make a date out of it.
4. Have really good sex!
I’ve found that married couples who don’t engage in sexual activity tend to magnify every challenge in their relationship. I’ve also found that when couples are regularly intimate, they seem much more willing to work through their issues. Sex is a form of communication with your spouse that brings you closer physically and emotionally.
5. Have fun.
I believe this is the biggest one on the list. Have fun. A whole lot of fun!
I spent much of my childhood around my Uncle Shrop and Aunt Helen. They both passed away a few years ago and I miss them a lot. Their picture hangs on the wall of my office and I talk about them often when I’m counseling. When I think about them, I most often think about how much fun they had together. They did everything together and they had so much fun doing it! Every family gathering, shopping trip, dinner and party was full of laughter and joking. They made a decision that if they were going to be together then they might as well have fun.
More often than not when I ask couples why they got together, without exception, the woman will always say, “He made me laugh.” That might explain why some average looking men date and marry some of the most gorgeous women. They know how to make them laugh. Laugh and your significant other will laugh with you. Put some fun back in your relationship!