YOUR MARRIAGE ISN’T PERFECT
Your marriage can always be stronger, healthier and happier because you and your spouse never stop growing. So, even if you have a great marriage, it can be even greater.
WHAT MAKES IT HARD
Far too many couples today are overworked, overstressed, exhausted, and are functioning on very little emotional margin. This is one of the reasons why small issues can quickly explode into big problems leading to a pattern of frustration and confrontation.
MARRIAGE TIP #1: TRADE YOUR CRAZY PACE FOR MARITAL PEACE
When we’re rested, emotionally charged, and living life at a reasonable and healthy pace, we have the patience to deal with small issues before they turn into major problems.
So, one of the best things you can do for the health of your marriage is be proactive about your life and schedule by choosing a pace that gives you energy and emotional margin to help you better manage the small conflicts that every relationship has.
MARRIAGE TIP #2: A WORD ABOUT SPONTANEITY
We love nice surprises, don’t we. They say that spontaneity is the spice of life; and it is. When you’re rebuilding your marriage and growing your relationship with your spouse, spontaneity really helps.
BUT, spontaneity is not always helpful when we say the first thing that comes into our minds. Sometimes in a moment of spontaneity we say things that we wish we could take back later.
We’ve all been there.
A good practice is to model the policy we see major television networks using. They have a five-second delay rule that gives them time to edit any “spontaneous” developments that might be unsuitable for broadcast.
What if we had a similar policy? What if we made it a habit that we waited a couple seconds to consider what we’re about to say before we speak it? Imagine all of the arguments that could be avoided.
You don’t have to censor everything you say – just be thoughtful about what you’re about to say, ESPECIALLY if you’ve had a long, hard day at work and you’re exhausted or right on the edge of any little thing setting you off. This keeps you from blurting out hurtful words that you’ll need to apologize for later. Spoken words are a bell that cannot be un-rung.
MARRIAGE TIP #3: THE TROUBLE WITH HONESTY
I think most people would say that honesty is “the best policy” especially when it comes to building trustworthy relationships. BUT, there are ways you can “cushion” the blow. You can be blunt and raw or kind and caring.
Consider how you prefer people to honestly share with you. Chances are you appreciate it when someone communicates with you with compassion. So return the favor. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Apply this “rule” with both small matters or large, the trivial or important; always be kind. Be truthful but use words that encourage, uplift and compliment. This builds up your spouse and communicates how much you care for them and their feelings.
MARRIAGE TIP #4: THE PURPLE MONKEY SYNDROME
Years ago someone played a game with me where they told me not to think about the purple monkey. Guess what I thought about the whole time? The purple monkey!
The purple monkey distracted me from anything else that I wanted to think about because all I could think about and imagine was a purple monkey.
Well, life is filled with purple monkeys – distractions that keep us from focusing on what’s important.
Another problem with purple monkeys is that they keep us from keeping our priorities. The last thing you need is a purple monkey distracting you from making your relationship with your spouse a priority.
If your marriage is your priority, do your best to eliminate distractions. One of the primary distractions is the past. Remember, the past does not equal the future; learn from your pass and move on – don’t allow it to become a distraction.
Focus your time, energy and effort on what’s most important and on the positives of your marriage. If something needs to be addressed then address it but in an optimistic, productive way.
Lastly, one of the most dangerous purple monkeys to watch out for is the purple monkey called complaining. Complaining is a real distraction because it redirects focus to less important issues and depletes patience.
Having a no-complaint policy in your marriage is one of the best ways to rid your relationship of this crazy little purple monkey. Focus on the positives.
MARRIAGE TIP #5: YOURS, MINE, OURS
Every healthy relationship has three dimensions called: Yours, Mine and ours. Being together constantly is unhealthy. Not granting each other privacy is unhealthy, too. And there are certain things that should be yours and other things that should belong to your spouse.
Granted, you should go out of your way to make sure you have ample time with your spouse to enjoy each other. But, you should also make sure that you each have time for personal pursuits and respective friends otherwise you will end up suffocating your relationship.
Give each other some space – some breathing room. This can be one of the best things you can do for the health of your marriage.
MARRIAGE TIP #6: THOUGHTS ON PROFESSIONAL HELP
Seek out and welcome professional marriage help when you need it, especially if seems that you keep having the same old arguments and can’t get beyond certain issues. If your relationship seems bogged down and stuck, then professional marriage help can get you moving in a positive direction again.
But here’s the thing: Find a marriage counselor who shares your values and philosophy of marriage. I can’t begin to stress how important this is. For example, if you are a person of faith and religion is important to you, then it’s probably a good idea to not retain the services of an agnostic or atheist for a marriage counselor!
One last thing, it’s quite possible that you don’t need marriage counseling at all – maybe all you really need is a little more time together – distraction-free time – to evaluate your relationship and resolve minor conflicts, or time for more effective communication. As I’ve often said before on this blog, one of the best things a couple can do is schedule a long weekend get-away to renew their relationship and fortify their marriage.
At the end of the day, all it really takes (I’m by no means trying to minimize the work it takes to have a strong marriage) to go from being just plain mad to being madly in love again is for you and your spouse to decide that you won’t settle for anything less than a healthy relationship that is playful, trustworhty and filled with passion.
Use these six marriage tips to start turning your marriage around so you can enjoy a beautiful lifetime of love and happiness with your spouse.