9 Actions You Can Take Now For A Better Marriage
November 11, 2022
What does a good marriage look like? To some degree, it is subjective, of course, but there are some basic comment elements. I think what confuses couples in therapy trying to work on their marriage, is they’re not really sure what they’re trying to build. And if you don’t know what you’re building and you don’t have a blueprint, how do you know when you get there?
The saying, “love is all you need,” is training us that relationships are about feeling and about feeling ‘in love’ versus loving. That can make things really confusing. If you are in a marriage where you’re thinking, ‘I love my spouse, but man, are we missing some things’ and yet you don’t exactly know what it is you’re missing or what you need to work on, I can help.
What Does a Good Marriage Look Like
Marriages based on feelings often don’t last because feelings come and go. Feelings aren’t permanent. You don’t love anything all the time. Even my kids. I, of course, love my kids, but you know, there are times when they are on your last nerve too! And as a parent, you know you can’t just not be a parent anymore when you don’t feel like it. The same is true for work. I love my job, but some days I simply don’t feel like going in. I don’t love it that day. Marriage is like that too.
Here’s what I want you to consider: Marriages based on purpose are the marriages that last. Purpose is that vision of why you married – building a family, raising your children, growing old together, having a life partner that is always gonna be there no matter what, and building that kind of relationship where there’s trust and security. It’s not an easy thing to do.
Marriage is hard and a lot of people get very surprised when it doesn’t match up to their expectations. So, for those of you wanting to improve your marriage, here’s my list of 9 actions that make up a good, well-rounded marriage:
Actions You Can Take For a Better Marriage
1. Frequent expressions of love and affection
Now, I didn’t say frequent sex. I didn’t say frequent feelings of lust and love. Frequent expressions of love and affection means treating your partner in a loving way, being affectionate even when the feelings aren’t necessarily there. It’s an action.
You have to have kindness in a relationship. It sounds simple but it’s missing in so many relationships. Learn to be kind to each other even on a bad day. This applies to all of your relationships!
3 Mutual respect in private and public
Again, this is another action, not a feeling. Don’t disrespect your spouse, don’t talk about him or her to your friends. Don’t make fun of them or humiliate them. Don’t make them the butt of your jokes.
4. Freedom for both partners to express true opinions and feelings
Guys, this one is a problem for a lot of people. When we get married, we naturally focus on all the ways we’re alike. As soon as we start to realize there’s some differences, the fighting starts. We take offense often when our partner disagrees with us, especially if they don’t know how to disagree with us in a healthy way. But if we don’t allow our partner to express what they really think and feel without making them pay for it, we’re setting up a marriage that is going to starve with a lack of intimacy.
5. Safe loving, physical intimacy
Again, an action. This is sex. A lot of people are not buying into sex with their partner. There are a lot of sexless marriages out there. It’s not the right thing to force your partner to live in a sexless marriage. If sex is not happening in your relationship, you need to figure out why.
6. Make each other a high priority.
Your spouse has to come before other things. That’s not every single time and of course emergencies happen – work crisis or the kids need you – but your spouse needs to be your priority, not an afterthought.
7. No one is the CEO
Both of you are equal. I see this a lot also. For example, one person can go out and buy a car and bring it home and that’s okay, but the other partner can go out and spend on an expensive lunch and it’s not okay. It’s like one person has more freedom with money or choices than the other. They’re not equal.
8. All decisions are made for the good of both of you
There are no winners and no losers. When one of you wins, you both lose. Trust me on that. If you are forcing a decision on your spouse, trying to win an argument, or trying to win anything in a relationship, it causes your partner to feel like they are losing ground. They will feel as if they don’t have a voice or a say or you’re not listening to their input. This breeds resentment which will build up and they will punish you, even if it’s subconsciously.
9. Protect your relationship
Protect your relationship from any outside influence. This could be kids, step kids, your parents, his or her parents, friends, or a relationship at work that your spouse may not be comfortable with. These outside influences don’t have to be other relationships. They can also be hobbies or anything that is taking up too much of your time and taking away from the relationship.
Breaking the cycle
I want you to notice something. Of the nine things I listed, all 9 were action based. Not a single one was feelings based. Why?
If you are waiting to feel things before you act in these ways, you will be stuck in a cycle of never-ending ups and downs, ebbs and flows, and the relationship is constantly at risk.
But If you act in these ways first, I promise you the feelings will come. Now they will come and they’ll go, but they’re there and they’ll influence how you love your spouse.
People will tell me, I just don’t think I can love him again. I don’t think I’ll ever love her again. You can, You can fall in love again, but you have to start acting as if you want to.
Hope that helps.
How healthy is your marriage?
ready to have a conversation?
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