Marriages aren’t always easy, but they’re always worth it. Putting time, love and effort into your marriage are great stepping stones to a happy, long-lasting relationship. The habits you develop can have a huge impact on what kind of marriage you’re going to have. When you think of developing good habits, you probably think of more common pursuits like drinking more water, exercising or turning off electronics one hour before bed. The truth is, there are dozens of healthy habits that you could take up each day to benefit both the happiness of you and your partner.
Successful marriages don’t work out simply because they had no challenges; they work out because each partner develops healthy habits that build a strong marriage that is fun, fulfilling, respectful and loving.
Here are 9 everyday habits that build a strong marriage:
1. Talk about everything.
It goes without saying that communication is important in a marriage, but what kind of communication is important? The truth is, all of it. In many ways, your spouse should also be your best friend. This means you’ll want to share with them the details of your day, the goings-on at work, funny stories you overheard at the coffee shop and anything else that is on your mind. It is equally important to talk about bigger topics like your goals, your hopes and plans for the future and any stresses or happiness that you are feeling.
Aim for talking to your partner every single day in order to keep a two-way connection for conversation open at all times.
2. Make intimacy a priority.
Have an open and honest discussion about what you need to be physically and emotionally intimate with one another. Sex, in particular, is one of the best ways in which married partners can connect emotionally, but it can often come with weighted expectations and be effected by different life experiences. Create a safe place for discussing this with your spouse.
3. Go tech-free.
Creating everyday habits that build a strong marriage largely revolves around making your partner feel like a priority in your life. Nothing is going to zap that feeling faster than you checking a text or social media while your partner is trying to talk to you. Encourage a one hour tech-free zone during the day to ensure that you and your partner have each other’s undivided attention.
4. Kiss every single day.
Don’t let kissing fall to the wayside! Remember when you were first dating and you felt like you could kiss for hours on end? Studies show that kissing and physical touch, like holding hands, has a strong impact on our romantic connections. You will feel closer emotionally to your partner when you receive regular physical contact from them. Shower your partner with kisses on a daily basis to remind them how much you love them.
5. Consult one another.
A marriage is a true partnership. This means you wouldn’t make big decisions without consulting your spouse. Choices about family care, religion, job opportunities and travel should never be made without conferring with one another. This healthy habit of going to one another for advice or counsel shows your partner that their opinion is valued, respected and that they, too, have a say in your family matters.
6. Express gratitude.
One of the biggest insecurities couples have over many years together is feeling unappreciated. It’s this feeling that can often lead many to seek a lover or partner outside the marriage. Develop a healthy habit for a strong marriage by expressing your gratitude for your partner on a regular basis. This doesn’t mean you need to flood your partner’s ears with endless compliments just to make them feel better. Try expressing your gratitude weekly and with sincerity.
Compliment your partner on their healthy life choices, their great qualities in compassion, love, patience and trust. Does your husband take out the garbage every week while you’re still warm in your bed? Does your wife make you breakfast every single morning, even though she still has to get the kids to school and head to work herself? Show your appreciation for how they take care of you and your family; look for small things to acknowledge that will make them feel truly valued.
Successful marriages don’t work out simply because they had no challenges; they work out because each partner develops healthy habits …
Talking is an important part of a healthy marriage and so is listening. It’ll do your partner no good to pour their heart out to you about a problem, or to share a funny story with you if you have no reaction. Whether your partner is talking about their day or expressing an issue they have in the relationship, don’t rush to interrupt them or get defensive. Let them voice their concern and reassure them that you are listening and are attentive.
Making time for dating and romance is a huge everyday habit that builds a strong marriage. Making time for date night will show your partner that they are a priority. Dating also gives you the opportunity to explore one another without distractions from work or family responsibilities and remind you why you fell in love in the first place.
Date nights don’t have to be expensive experiences, either. Something as simple as taking the time to go watch the sunset, having a picnic at the local park or heading out to the beach are all great dating options.
When you’ve been together for 10 months or 10 years, reminiscing is a great habit to form together. Relive happy memories such as stories from when you were first dating, first married, what you thought on your wedding day, great vacations you’ve had or about the birth of your children.
This is a great way to relive these times together through your spouse’s eyes. Memories are also great to reflect on if you are going through a hard time. Hard times don’t last unless you let them. Happy memories are forever.
What’s the best marriage advice you’ve been given or heard?
Image via Colette de Barros for Darling Issue No. 16