All you have to do is look at the divorce statistics to know that not everyone stays married these days. In fact marriage has been reduced to being thought of as something that you go ahead and do even if you are not sure, and then figure if it doesn’t work out, you will get a divorce.
Marriage is in a sad state of affairs these days, but it doesn’t have to be that way. There are many things that you can do to improve the state of your marriage if you are not happy with how it is now. (Keep in mind though I am not suggesting that you should stay in a marriage where you and or your children are being either verbally or physically abused. If you are in this situation, and your spouse is unwilling to get help, you need to get out.)
These are 10 tips make your marriage a better one:
1.Communicate. The worst thing you can do is not talk to your spouse if something is bothering you. I’m not suggesting “whining,” no one likes a whiner. However, if there is something that is bothering you whether it be directly related to your spouse or not, communicate it to your spouse so that he/she understands how you are feeling in that moment.
2. Listen. Take time each day to sit down and listen to each other. This means neither of you have the newspaper or a book on the table and you read while the other person is talking, or listen to the television, or stereo in the background. This means you give your spouse your undivided attention for at least 30 minutes without interrupting or commenting on what your spouse is saying. This is a good way to get out any upsets and or disagreements with your spouse without the issue turning into an argument.
3. If you do have an argument with your spouse, DO NOT threaten to leave the marriage. This is the worst possible thing you can do. Waving the fact that you are going to leave and are not willing to work on the problem whatever it is, is like waving a red flag in front of a bull. All this is going to accomplish is to make the argument escalate, and if you use the threat often, your spouse will begin to have little respect for you, because she/he knows you don’t mean it. If you can tell you are going to start arguing try to sit down, take a few deep breaths and employ listening to each other instead.
4. Spend time together each day doing something you both enjoy, whether that is watching a movie, discussing a book you both have read and liked, or playing a game with your children. Spend the time together, it’s worth it!
5. When your spouse does something that upsets you, stop, sit down, and explain to your spouse why what he/she is doing is bothering you. Tell your spouse how it makes you feel, don’t just say “I don’t like it when you do this,” instead say, “When you do this, it makes me feel this way.” If your spouse understands the way it makes you feel, he/she will be more likely to be willing to work on the problem.
6. Accept your spouse for who he/she is, after all you married him/her because you loved the way he/she is. Don’t try to change your spouse, or expect your spouse to change after marriage, this way leads the road to disaster. If you didn’t marry your spouse for love, then you have some hard thinking to do, and decisions to make.
7. Respect the fact that your spouse is going to need alone time. Everyone needs time to themselves, time to unwind, practice spiritual traditions, read, or however it is that you choose to spend this time. Make sure you tell your spouse that you are going to spend some time alone and where so that if it is in a room you both use, your spouse and/or children can get whatever they might need from the room before you go in so you won’t be interrupted. Make it clear that once the door is shut you are not to be disturbed until it’s open again, or you come out. Allowing this alone time will make each of you a stronger partner.
8. Learn to express your love in both word and deed. Having someone tell you they love you is a wonderful gift, but having someone show you too by the little things they do for you, makes for a fantastic marriage. Not only that but you will each appreciate each other that much more, plus it’s fun to surprise your spouse!
9. Don’t withhold intimacy as a punishment. I’ve heard more young women, and even a few older ones talk about getting mad at their spouses and as punishment refusing to be intimate in any way. This is another road to disaster, especially if you have been arguing and haven’t been making an effort to listen and properly communicate. At the very least if you cannot bring yourself to be intimate with your spouse, you owe it to both of you to sit down and communicate clearly why. Often once you have communicated, the problem may begin to resolve itself and you may find you feel differently about the situation.
10. Each of you work on being positive. There is nothing worse in a marriage than a negative person. It is important for each of you to stay positive no matter what is going on in your life. Rehashing the negatives in your life doesn’t help anyone. Instead count your blessings, or the good things in your life one by one, and then work together on turning any negatives into positives. For example, one of you gets laid off from your job. Instead of bemoaning the fact that you will have less money, brainstorm ways you can each make extra money.
Marriage is a commitment, as well as a partnership and if you enter into it with the thought that you are going to do everything you can to make it strong and make it work, your marriage will last.