Marriage Tips for Couples

Healthy Marriage Tips

Healthy Marriage Pamphlet Series

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Staying Connected

What do you picture when you think of romance in marriage? Perhaps a candle lit dinner? Maybe you see a passionate embrace next to a roaring fireplace? Whilst moments of passion and romance bring color to your relationship, researchers have found that strong marriages are secured in the simple, everyday activities that husbands and wives share with each other. In other words, moseying down the supermarket aisle together each week is better for your marriage than a passionate tango on the dance floor.

When spending time with your spouse, both quality and quantity are important. Not only should you be there for your spouse, you should also be there, listening to what they have to say and attending to their needs. Dr John Gottman calls this “turning to each other”. His marriage communication research has shown that couples who chat a lot—even about unimportant things—tend to stay together. In addition, he has discovered that when husbands and wives are responsive to each other, they experience more passion, romance, emotional connection, and enjoy a better sex life.

So how can we spend more time “turning towards” our spouse? Here are some tips that may help:

1.When your partner makes a bid for your attention, pay attention!

Gottman has uncovered in his years of relationship communication research that husbands and wives frequently make “bids” for attention from their spouse. These bids may be verbal: “I am so tired,” or “you won’t believe what happened to me today,” or they may be physical, such as a hug or a facial expression. We make these bids and hope that our spouse will respond and pay attention to us. When we fail to respond to these bids, our spouse may feel unimportant and isolated, but when we do respond, we can find precious opportunities to connect with our spouse and show that we care.

Think about the different ways your spouse tries to get your attention: if you can’t think of any, then perhaps you need to be paying more attention. Remember, each time a bid is made, it can go one of either two ways: you can connect with your spouse, or you can shrink further away from them. It all depends on your response.

2.Do chores together

Let’s face it: sometimes doing chores together is inefficient. It makes more sense to divide the chores to get through them faster, right? Maybe so, but it also means more time spent apart. Doing the chores together may take a little longer, but it can be much more fun and provides more time for husbands and wives to communicate, share, and connect with each other.

3.Have a stress-reducing conversation

Take a little time at the end of each day to talk with each other. This can be an invaluable time to de-stress a little and share the ups and downs of your life. Share any good news you’ve heard or tell a funny joke you heard that day. Talk about stresses at work, family concerns, or anything that’s been weighing heavily on your mind. Most importantly: listen to your spouse and process everything they share with you.

Be careful to make this a positive conversation that doesn’t increase stress and frustration. This is a time to connect with your spouse and find out what’s going on in their life; don’t use it to criticize your spouse or your relationship.

4.Go for a walk together

There are two major benefits to taking a walk together each day. First, you have a set time with your spouse that is free from distractions, and second, you are both getting some exercise at the same time. You will find that the fresh air and exercise will help you maintain more positive communication and keep a clear mind.

When a couple pays attention to each other and stays connected by sharing their lives with each other, they will enjoy greater passion, romance and a better sex life. When the candle lit dinners and fireplace embraces happen, couples who are already connected will share the intense love and intimacy that can only be experienced between two who are truly one.

Learn even more skills and information that can help you form and sustain a healthy marriage by taking a healthy marriage education workshop. To find one in your area visit the directory of marriage education programs at the SmartMarriages website by clicking here.

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We also recommend you buy and read

Dr John Gottman's latest book on strengthening marriages Ten Lessons to Transform Your Marriage: America's Love Lab Experts Share Their Strategies for Strengthening Your Relationship for only $16.50 from Amazon.com by clicking here.


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