Nurture Your Marriage

Most marriages begin with two people in love. As time goes by, the romantic side of love fades and is replaced by jobs and raising children. The business of life takes over and the relationship takes second place.

Think of marriage as a third person in the relationship. This person needs nurturing, caring for and invested time. Without care, a marriage dies. Soon you find yourself living in the same house, but never connecting.

NURTURE A MARRIAGE BY:

  • Saying and doing things that make your spouse know that you appreciate him or her. When your spouse feels good about himself or herself, he or she will feel good about you.

Example: “I married the prettiest woman in the world. I am so pleased when I get to show you off to my friends.”

  • Looking at the good and downplaying the upsetting. When giving compliments, use specific statements. General statements such as, “You’re so sweet,” sound like flattery and may be seen as manipulative or flippant.

Example: “Thank you for bringing home dinner tonight and not complaining when I get too tired to cook.”

  • Encouraging your spouse to enjoy activities whether you participate or not. Although they may inconvenience you.

Example: “I want you to go shopping with your friend. I know how much you enjoy it. You know how much we can afford.”

  • Accepting your spouse. Be understanding of areas you observe as a weakness or vulnerability. Show compassion and patience. Remember that you have your weaknesses and vulnerabilities and you want compassion and patience shown to you.

Example: You see your spouse as too “nice” to people and you think he or she lets people take advantage of him or her. Remember the times when your spouse is nice to your family when they annoy everyone.

  • Thinking, before criticizing your spouse. Will your words help or hurt? Do not react impulsively to something your spouse said or did. Ask yourself what is accomplished by your criticism. Ask yourself if your spouse can change this behavior. If the answer is, “No,” do not mention it. If the answer is, “Yes,” discuss it in love. Use “I” instead of “you” expressions.

Example: “When you come home late without calling me, I worry. Please call me when you think you’ll be late. When time goes by and you don’t call, my imagination takes over, and I think you died in a car accident.”

  • Being aware of “hot buttons” and staying clear of them. Most hot buttons are a reaction to an underlying fear. They are often illogical. Pushing a hot button hinders the situation more than it helps. Do not react when someone pushes your buttons.
  • Keeping up-to-date on current events or having something interesting to discuss.
  • Staying polite and considerate. The comfort and convenience of marriage is no excuse to behave discourteously.
  • Supporting positive change. If your spouse is on a diet, do not bring goodies into the house or encourage a night out at a favorite French restaurant with cream sauces and luscious desserts. Encourage your spouse to achieve his or her goals.

 STAY LOVERS

  • Have a date night. Concentrate on each other.
  • Take a few minutes to listen to each other, preferably when children won’t interrupt you. Make it a daily routine. If children interrupt, remind them that this is your time.

“Honesty is probably the sexiest thing a man can give to a woman.”

Debra Messing, star of NBC’s Will & Grace, in Esquire

  •  Place notes in pockets or on a pillow to remind your spouse that you think of him during the day. If possible, call and say, “I love you.” Bring home flowers for no special reason. “Just to let you know I was thinking about you.”
  • Spend a day or weekend away together once in a while.
  • Hold hands. Steal a kiss. Hug.

CHOOSE TO LOVE!

QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER

  • When was the last time the two of you went on a date night?
  • When was the last time you gave your spouse a compliment for no special reason?
  • Do you encourage your spouse to do things he or she enjoys without an argument?
  • When you criticize your spouse, do you say it in love?

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