5 Ways to Make Your Marriage Better Than Ever
There 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.
I 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.
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?
Keep a Best-Of journal.
This 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. I 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!