Marriage is indeed one of the greatest blessings in your life, but it takes a lot of work to maintain a close, vibrant relationship for a long time. Sometimes it seems as though the odds are against the success of your marriage.
Over the past 20 years, I learned of some practical tips that can help develop the intimacy and fulfillment within the marriage relationship. Julia and I had our fair share of struggles and pain when we walk this married lives together, but these principles and practical steps gave us hope for better future and direction to move forward. I would like to share them with you and hopefully they could spice up your marriage life too. By taking these simple steps, you can continue to experience the intimacy and fulfillment you crave within your marital relationship:
This is the first step in any marriage relationship. I cannot put emphasize any less on the importance of having this correct mindset. Your expectation on your spouse will translate into the way you treat him or her in your daily living together. I can hear you saying this, “I knew this long ago. No one is perfect. I won’t expect my spouse to be one too.” Sad to say if you recall past incidents, your reaction to your spouse when he or she made a mistake (probably not a big one) was angry and yelling at the top of your voice. You did not accept him to be imperfect, right?
Many of my friends told me that they know in their heads that everyone makes mistakes. However, they just cannot accept their spouses make terrible mistakes that hurt them badly. A healthy marriage relationship always builds on acceptance and forgiveness. A marriage relationship seeks to create a safe environment for both parties to make mistakes, communicate your feelings and experience mutual forgiveness. Once you establish a family atmosphere that is conducive for learning and growing, you will see your marriage blossom.
You do not want your spouse to be just another “you”. The lack of diversity can become a source of “conflict” when lives become routine and boring. Celebrate your differences. Julia and I are so different. I tend to look at things with a helicopter view and she will be more concern about small things. I must say; this diversity is a good complimentary for each other. How do you start then? First, you take the initiative to show interests in your spouse’s activities, and you will notice that your spouse will begin to have a growing interest in your passion too. Show your spouse that your spouse’s passion and interests are important to you, and you are willing to spend time and cultivate that interest together.
After getting married for a few years, both of you begin to set into a routine and forget about small things. You tend to assume that your spouse knows how you feel and like; your spouse will also assume the same that of you. This may not be true. As you and your spouse grow in marriage relationship, slowly but surely changes take place in the physical body and emotional makeup. Take this little advice: It would be a marvelous experience if you could try date your spouse like you did when you both got together.
Most married couples would celebrate their anniversary or birthdays by buying the partner expensive present. While this is good, it is more effective to communicate “I care” attitude by buying small, inexpensive but thoughtful gifts throughout the years. The latter tells of your affection and love consistently. Magic words like “thank you” and “I love you” always do wonders to spice up your relationship; they can never be too much.
It is always wise to observe common courtesy in daily living even when you are many years into your marriage. When in doubt, use the golden rule “Do to others as you would want others to do to you”. Be considerate and thoughtful. Always be looking for new ways to express your love.
Always stand behind supporting your spouse. Life can have its downhill. It is in this difficult time when you show full support to your spouse that will be treasured for many years to come. Not only in big difficulty, sometime in small things like she’s had a rough day, you could pamper her and show her that you care for her more than anybody else in this world. You may suggest that you will wash the dishes after dinner and let her rest and watch TV on the sofa that evening.
When you enter into a marriage relationship, you should be prepared to give up some small things and habits which bring your marriage in a downward spiral. Some of the things that you have been doing in your singlehood just simply annoying your spouse. Give and take is the art of building a strong marriage relationship. Whatever you do or not doing should convey the message that you love and care for him or her. It is common in any human relationship, when you are willing to give way on small things without making your spouse feel guilty, your spouse will most likely reciprocate. I love singing, but Julia cannot sing. Over the years, she sometimes followed my friends and I to karaoke (while she just sat around and drank orange juice). She gave in to something that is of interest to me; while I have cut the number of singing sessions too. It is now hardly twice or three times a year that I sing with my friends
5） Both of you contribute.
Marriage is like carrying a valuable and precious load together. It will hit the wall if you allow only one person to do everything. Practical tasks like paying bills, food and sundry shopping, book a vacation, gardening and cooking should be divided between both of you. There is a sense of belonging and responsibility when both contribute in building the family together.
Some small tips in sharing the tasks:
- Take turns to choose what to do together. Common things like recreation and entertainment, you want to ensure that both of you have a fair share of enjoyment. One party decision all the time is a potential time bomb waiting to explode when the deprived party can no longer take it.
- Fair and Square Rule. When you first enter into marriage, it may be wise to establish a simple 50/50 rule (at least near to this proportion) in making decision. With this understanding, both partners contribute in making decision best for the family and no one is superior to the other. It is good motto: Both partners are equal in the marriage relationship.
The road of marriage can be winding and rough sometimes, but it can also bring much joy and fulfillment for both of you. Start today. Start with small steps. Just like Julia and I when we first got married more than 20 years ago, we committed to loving each other and see how our marriage slowly filled with much passion and fulfillment. I really hope that your marriage can also be so.