5 Ways to Make Your Marriage Better Than Ever

tips for improving your marriageThere comes a time in every man’s education when he reaches the conclusion that the happiness of those he loves is paramount to his own. It is at this moment that the realness of that man begins to blossom. He becomes more than he’s ever been. He becomes a better listener, a better provider (for himself and others), and a driving force for greater, less trivial things.

This is what love does. Every single time.

Unfortunately, men often commit when they’re in-love with lust, and in-lust with rom-com love – you know, the kind of love you see in the movies where everything is perfect and hilarious, you’re happy, and you’re both sexually magnificent. We all want that kind of life, right?

Real life relationships aren’t always like that, but they don’t have to be “hard work,” contrary to what the talking heads on TV would have you believe. Here are 5 tips for improving your marriage – or any serious relationship for that matter.

Turn off to turn on.

There was an article recently on why marriages just don’t work anymore, and one piece was right on the money: technology can definitely tear apart your relationship. When you spend more time connecting to people through the easy, impersonal portals of your phone or tablet, it can make actual uninterrupted human contact with your partner feel like a chore. To make sure your relationship is better than it’s ever been, turn that shit off.

Make time to sit down and have dinner together and talk, uninterrupted, without any devices, at least three nights a week. I promise you, your relationship will improve because you’ll discover yourself connecting “like you used to.” Turn off your devices and distractions and turn your partner on – figuratively and literally. (see step 2)

Get it on, damn it.

tips for improving your marraigeI remember being a horny teenager and hearing on the radio that married couples were having sex only a few times each month. It didn’t go over well with me. I kid you not, I remember yelling at the radio that day.

“What the hell, man? You’ve got your girl in your bed every night and you’re not hitting home runs every chance you can? For shame!” – Me, 17 years old

Now that I’m older, I can understand the change in libido. But, at the same time I have to stress the often overlooked truth: you are also choosing to join the club where married couples just aren’t that into it anymore. Just because all your married friends are suffering doesn’t mean your marriage has to as well.

Sex is more than just part A going into part B. Physical connections are unbelievably powerful for creating peace, connectedness, trust, and intimacy. When you turn off the noise and turn on your bedroom charm, you create a little magic. A little magic goes a long way, my friends. You can have a long-lasting relationship that includes sex several times a week – if you want it. If you do, go for it! Practice a little spontaneity, damn it. You only live once!

Learn to walk away from a fight.

One of my favorite books on the subject of relationships and communication is John Gottman’s Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. Seriously, buy that book. In it, you’ll learn two huge concepts: Flooding and Triggering. You’re triggered when something sets you off and you get emotional or angry. Flooding is what happens right after that, when you’re upset and nothing can fix it – no combination of words or actions will change your mind.

tips for improving your marriage

When fighting (because all couples fight over one thing or another), pay attention to your emotions. When she says or does something that triggers you and you feel yourself getting suddenly more heated, walk away from the fight. This is essential because once you’re both flooded, nothing will fix it. You have to walk away, calm down, and come back with a clear head. It takes about 20 minutes for most men to cool off.

When you’re in the heat of the moment, it can feel uncomfortable to put a stop to it, but do it anyway. If you keep trying to fix it “right here and now” you’ll only end up more frustrated with each other. Do yourselves a huge solid and walk away for a half hour before talking about it any further.

Join forces to tackle anything.

Most relationships have a you, me, and us triad, but it’s an unspoken agreement. When the going gets tough, most couples struggle because one partner defaults to “save yourself” and the other defaults to “save this relationship.” You can remedy this unfortunate situation by designing your alliance.

One night over dinner (suggested in the first step above), talk about what you both want. Talk about what you want for yourselves, each other, and the relationship. Ask questions and write them down, turning this into your blueprint for success in love. Here are some great questions to answer together:

  • What makes you happiest in our relationship?
  • What makes our relationship strong?
  • What can threaten that strength?
  • What frustrates you in our relationship?
  • What can I do when you feel frustrated?
  • How can I help you feel strong when you feel weak?
  • How can I show you I love you when I may not want to say it?

Pick up Gottman’s book, and while you’re at it, grab a copy of the Five Love Languages. These two books will make you a better man in and out of relationships.

Keep a Best-Of journal.

tips for improving your marriageThis is my secret to relationship gold. If you want to knock the socks off your wife, grab a cheap journal or small notebook and start writing everything you love about your her and the relationship you’re building. Appreciation and gratitude are incredible emotions because they can completely change the way you see the world around you… and the way it interacts with you. love this journal.

When you keep the best parts of your partner and your relationship at the forefront, you naturally notice more great things and do more to keep experiencing them. Start this exercise right now. Every day, write out a highlight reel of the best of your partner and your marriage. Do this for 30 days. On day 31, give the journal to her. Then skip to step two above. You’re welcome.

There are a million great ways to make your relationships and/or marriage better than it’s ever been, and I encourage you to explore more. When you put in the effort, all things conspire to support your journey.

What one piece of advice has helped you in your relationship? Share in the comments below!

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The Author

Blake Hammerton

Blake Hammerton

Blake Hammerton is the founder and coach at The Sharp Gentleman, and helps men earn more respect while gaining confidence in who they are. He is a certified relationship coach and loves writing about men's fashion, style, character-building, relationships, travel, adventure, and more.

  • I absolutely abhor the trend and the idea that some younger people have about marriage. It’s like their mentalities never grew out of the Disney phase of ‘happily ever after’ scenarios. I have a serious tip that might help younger generations understand marriage- and I know it works because my wife and I are happily married with three kids: You must all put into your minds that your partner is another person, just like you. Most people objectify the other sex nowadays and treat them like their characters in a story- only one dimensional. People are not like that. People are more complex. Once you understand this, you’ll begin to appreciate your SO more.

    • You know what I find so amazing about relationships and marriage in the younger generations these days? The completely trivial way they look at commitment, as though it doesn’t really apply in their case. This lackadaisical approach has couples “committing” to each other until it gets difficult, and then quitting. They get married in lust, and dissolve when it wains.

      Couples that learn to communicate with each other when things are fun and easy and difficult and frustrating… those are the couples that understand who they are as individuals and as a couple. When you know what you, the other person, and the relationship want, you can more effectively speak to those wants. You don’t have to quit if you don’t start off on the wrong foot.

  • Cellas

    But I like facebook. It depends on us how we use social site for our betterment or for social connecting or for mastering or for killing our relations. So use it according your motto.

  • Fermin

    I’m not married yet but i been living with my girl for quite a while now. I can tell you that social media definitely has a role in the vast majority of the discussions we have, so I’m already working on it but it
    seems to me that way the world works right now doesn’t really allow relationships to succed. I wouldn’t say marriages are doomed to fail because i have no really experience in that topic but for what i know, marriages have the highest rate of falling these days.

    • This is actually an interesting perspective that a lot of people share. It can often feel like the world is in conspiracy against longstanding relationships, but that’s not the case. It’s all about ownership and responsibility. Here’s what I mean:

      Ownership – This is YOUR relationship. This is YOUR love, future, life, etc. YOU are the only one who can influence it and create something that’s beautiful or something that’s terrible. If people started saying you should jump off a bridge at 30 years old because your “life is over” you would think that’s pretty crazy, right? Of course, some people would do it and the families would blame society. Don’t be that guy. Take ownership of your life and your potential and don’t believe the hype in failed marriages.

      Responsibility – It is your responsibility to make the decisions that better your life and your relationship. Using social media for good and then turning it off so you two can connect to each other in-person – it’s your responsibility to create that agreement with your partner. Just as you take ownership in your destiny, you take responsibility for what you allow to happen AND what you agree to.

      Make time to talk about what you both want with each other and what bothers you about social media. Make agreements around when it’s time to shut it off and be present with each other. Hell, if nothing else, schedule some time together without any distractions and see what happens. You wont’ regret it.

      – Blake