Some people think improving your relationship takes endless work and buckets of money in therapy fees, but that’s not always the case. Often the route to marriage success is easier than you think. Sure, it definitely takes work (we’re not going to sugar-coat it for you), but it’s not as much of an uphill battle as you might assume. Here we look at five simple strategies for improving your marriage – without therapy and minus the stress.
Focus on quality over quantity
The quantity of time you spend with your significant other doesn’t matter if you’re not engaged and connected during that time. There will always be times when you’re together but you’re doing separate things – you’re on the phone, he’s sending emails – but in order to make a marriage work, the quantity of time you spend together needs to be balanced with quality. Quality time means listening to each other, talking without distractions and doing something that allows you to enjoy each other’s company outside of the usual family or couple dynamic. Being home together six nights out of seven is great, but just make sure at least one of those nights is devoted to being together in a way that makes you feel closer.
If you want your marriage to work, you have to take responsibility for its success and not just hope that everything turns out all right. By taking more of an active role in the success of your marriage, you’re making a big step towards a long and happy life together. Sitting and stewing about things that bother you or wishing you and your husband had a more exciting life than the one you’re currently living will get you nowhere. If you want something to change, it’s up to you to make it happen. You and your partner have an equal share in the happiness of your marriage and you owe it to yourselves and one another to be honest about your feelings and how to continue improving your lives.
Set some marriage goals
Having a mutual goal is a great way to make your marriage stronger and keep you connected. It gives you something to do together, talk about and strive towards, plus when you reach your goal – be it learning Spanish, saving for an extended vacation or running a marathon – you’ll be that much more satisfied because you accomplished it as a team. The idea of being a team is very important when it comes to making your marriage work, because that’s exactly what you are. You don’t want to lose your individuality, but if you want to remain happy and keep building a better bond, working together versus against each other is a must – and working towards goals together can help.
Continue learning about each other
It’s easy to assume that after a certain amount of time together, you know all there is to know about your partner. While we don’t doubt you know your husband better than anyone, there’s always something new to learn. Check in with each other regularly about what’s new – new favorite song, new must-have food, new most-hated food, new dream vacation – the idea is to avoid assuming you know all there is to know about each other and start asking. You never know what you’re going to find out.
Talk through the issues
Letting issues (big or small) pile up without discussing them is a big marriage no-no. The longer you leave things to fester, the harder they’re going to be to deal with, so the best thing you can do is make an effort to talk through any problems that arise. We know it’s hard; no one wants to say something that could rock the boat or cause an argument, but if you’ve noticed something that needs to be addressed or that frustrates you in some way, it’s not going to go away if you ignore it. Problems have a way of growing when they’re left alone in a dark corner, so unless you want an even bigger issue on your hands, tackle things when they’re manageable.