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Written by Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists, the Marriage in a Box blog shares insights into common relationship struggles, gives ideas for moving beyond the roadblocks, and helps you find your path to happiness – both individually and within your relationship.

Does Physical Intimacy Lead to a Longer, Happier Marriage?

Physical intimacy includes being inside someone's personal space and touch involving hand holding, hugging, kissing, cuddling, caressing, and consensual sexual activity. Physical intimacy between couples involves exchanging feelings, close companionship, platonic and romantic love, or sexual attraction. Physical relationships after marriage can be critical in strengthening and finding happiness and longevity in a relationship, so people seek to know more about it. Emotional intimacy is another form of intimacy that enhances the physical aspect of a marriage and makes it vibrant. 

Understanding the Need for Physical Intimacy

Intimacy includes physical, emotional, and spiritual closeness inherent to the happiness and longevity of marriage. For married couples, physical intimacy is an expectation in most people's view of relationships. Physical intimacy in marriage is more complex and can ebb and flow with different marriage milestones. Sexual intimacy is a strong desire for a sexual connection, which doesn't necessarily require an emotional component to be satisfying. Still, everyone has their particular preferences and libido when it comes to what types and levels of physical intimacy they are comfortable engaging in. 

Human beings innately crave physical or sexual intimacy, and this sexual urge has ensured our species' survival over time. The simple act of being close to another person and enjoying the touch and sensuality that come with physical intimacy can be fulfilling in its own right. However, physical intimacy does require a certain degree of vulnerability and trust, which can vary depending on the situation and the individuals involved. Physical intimacy can occur even when trust is not deeply rooted, such as in casual relationships. Nonetheless, it is essential to recognize that sex alone does not necessarily bring us closer to another person. The value of emotional intimacy is in building deeper connections with others.

Common Causes of Dwindling Physical Intimacy

Barriers to intimacy in marriage can cause significant issues for couples if not addressed early on. Apart from differences in desire for physical intimacy, other common obstacles lead to a decreased level of physical intimacy between husbands and wives:

  1. One of the defining roadblocks to physical intimacy between couples is clutter in their intimate relationship environment. An untidy bedroom space, dishes in the sink, and heaps of laundry can all prevent a space where couples can connect intimately with each other. 

  2. Another potential threat to a marriage is the lack of intimacy in the relationship. Suppose couples do not prioritize intimacy and try to spend quality time with their partners; they must recalibrate their activities to carve out time to improve physical intimacy in marriage.

  3. Moreover, the emotional unavailability of a partner can seriously affect physical intimacy in marriage. Couples must break the deep-rooted emotional barriers and be more open to their partners to sustain intimacy.

Essential Ingredients for Physical Intimacy

  • Trust varies between individuals, and it is a sense that your partner will respect your boundaries and be concerned about your experience.
  • Vulnerability is showing up with our most authentic, unprotected self."
  • Communication: giving each other mindfully, being present, and paying focused attention during discussions.

Physical intimacy includes touch and any bodily contact ranging from holding hands to sexual intercourse. Physical intimacy is built on trust and creates feelings of warmth, bonding, and closeness between people. Physical intimacy includes being inside someone's personal space.

How to Regain or Increase Physical Intimacy

Tips to Overcome Roadblocks to Intimacy in Marriage:

  1. Ensure you're both comfortable.

If either partner is not comfortable, stop. Avoid trying to force your expectations onto someone and be realistic. 

  1. Communicate and Listen to Each Other

When discussing your sexual feelings, issues, fantasies, and desires, find common ground you can agree on before you become physically intimate. 

  1. Try to Connect Without Sex 

Get to know each other without the added pressure of sexual tension. (carnival rides, swimming, bike riding in tandem, or dance classes). 

  1. Don't Forget that there may be underlying issues. 

Examples include sex abuse, family history of low affection.

  1. Use Intimate gestures.  

Hold hands, kiss, caress each other, etc. 

  1. Avoid anger.

Frequently fighting and arguing may decrease the quality of your sex life. Try to communicate with each other well and avoid conflict as much as possible.

  1. Make sex a priority.

Try to make enough time for sex in your marriage to make things work and stay committed to one another.

  1. Be creative in the bedroom.

Get creative and try different things to make your sex life and make it more fun, and spicy. For example, you could try something new, like a change of location. showering together; massage creates a lovely tenderness between the two of you, foreplay.

If you struggle with building physical intimacy in your Marriage and finding strategies to help revive romance and happiness. Consider using Marriage In a Box for professional support, helpful suggestions, and guidance.

Marriage In a Box provides access to tools and techniques that professionals use to address relationship issues. On the site, you can set goals, earn rewards, and find marriage coaching. Check out the available kit and sources of information online.

Posted 2/22/2024

10 Ways to Rev Up the Romance in Your Marriage

Marriage is a wonderful union that brings two people together in love and commitment. However, due to the routine and stress of daily life, it is common for the initial spark to start fading over time. Viewing this experience as an opportunity to strengthen your relationship is beneficial. There are several ways to enhance your marriage and reignite the excitement and joy.

Things that Break the Spark in Your Relationship

Every relationship is unique, but some common issues cause a disconnect from romance. For example:

  • Poor communication causes misunderstandings, hurt, and frustration, 
  • Lack of intimacy leads to feelings of disconnection
  • Unresolved conflicts lead to resentment 
  • Infidelity can shatters trust
  • Lack of mutual goals and aspirations cause dissatisfaction
  • Neglect of emotional and physical needs leads to partners feeling devalued, lonely, and insignificant.

Can We Bring Back the Romance in Our Relationship?

It's possible to rekindle intimacy, passion, love, and trust in a relationship if that dawn of love feeling has faded over time. But, it might depend on dealing with the circumstances that led to the current challenges. It will also require a commitment to love despite the ups and downs. Putting in the time and effort to nourish your relationship will help your brain start making more hormones that help you feel closer to your partner. When you reach that point, you can build a lasting bond.

10 Ways to Rev Up the Romance

1. Prioritize Spending Quality Time Alone Together

Life can become busy, so it's crucial to set aside time for each other to strengthen emotional intimacy, whether it means going on regular date nights, planning weekend getaways, or simply enjoying a quiet evening at home. During this time, be fully present and put aside distractions.

2. Express Gratitude to your Partner

Showing gratitude to your partner can ignite a spark in your marriage, make them feel valued, and foster your connection. It may not seem like much at first, but with continued effort, it can kindle the love flame in your relationship. and help remind you why you fell in love in the first place. 

3. Flirt With Each Other

Try flirting with your partner to bring some fun and romance back into your relationship. Send flirty texts, greet your partner with a flirty phrase, or occasionally sneak in a kiss or two. Your partner may be surprised initially, but keep it up because they'll catch on soon enough.

 4. Hug, Kiss, and Snuggle More Often

Kissing can reignite romantic feelings between partners, as it triggers the release of hormones oxytocin and serotonin in the brain, promoting bonding and reducing stress. It is essential to continue showing affection through hugs, kisses, and snuggles to maintain a healthy relationship and increase the chances of being sexually active with your partner.

5. Surprise Each Other with thoughtful gestures and gifts

Surprises are essential to rekindle romance. They can be in the form of gifts or going somewhere special. Surprises add spontaneity and excitement and show that you value the relationship. Big or small, surprises reignite the joy of early romance.

 6. Plan Secret Dates for Each Other

Plan surprise dates for each other once a month! Keep preferences in mind and try to pair them with your strengths. Suppose you both like art and take a painting class together. Enjoy and create memories!

  7. Dress Up for Date Night

Date night is special and deserves your best. Dress up and style your hair and makeup to feel flirty and fun. Treat your married date nights like you did in the early stages of your relationship, and you won't regret it.

 8. Take Risks and Share More of Yourself

Couples should take small, reasonable risks, such as sharing unsaid things. Listen deeply when your partner is angry and consider their feedback. Try new things together, like ropes courses or zip lines. 

  9.  Try New things Sexually.

In a long-term relationship, getting stuck in a routine is typical. Doing the same things every day can lead to boredom and a lack of interest. But trying new things together can be a great way to break the monotony and reignite the spark in your marriage with something as simple as trying a new sex routine.

  10. Make Sexual Intimacy a Priority

 One tip that people are hesitant about is scheduling intimacy in their marriage. However, it's not as ridiculous as it may sound. It could increase the romance in your relationship, make it less routine, and keep it a priority. 

If you struggle to revive romance in your marriage, find strategies to help reclaim the spark. Consider using Marriage In a Box for professional support, helpful suggestions, and guidance. Marriage In a Box provides access to tools and techniques that professionals use to address relationship issues. On the site, you can set goals, earn rewards, and find marriage coaching. Check out the available kit and sources of information online.

Posted 2/14/2024

Don't Take Your Spouse for Granted

At the beginning of a relationship, every moment feels magical - the warmth of your partner's body beside you, the joy of laughing together. The novelty can wear off as time passes, and those moments might not feel as special anymore. There are ways to prevent taking your partner for granted and keep the spark alive with concrete actions. It will not only keep things exciting for you both, but it will also make your partner feel valued and loved.

Taking your partner for granted can cause unnecessary fights and lost moments of happiness. But when you appreciate your partner, you can overlook the small things that might otherwise cause issues. By focusing on what you love about them now, you can avoid reaching the point where it's too late. 

How You Know You Are Taking Your Spouse for Granted

1.You expect them to handle specific tasks

Refrain from assuming your partner is permanently assigned to a specific household task just because they're better at them. 

2. You don't show them gratitude.

To keep your spouse motivated and appreciated, compliment them on specific things they've done around the house. It may prevent them from feeling unappreciated and less motivated.

3.You assume they know how you feel about them.

Give your relationship the time and attention it needs with planned rituals like date night or a kiss when you leave the house in the morning.

4. You expect gratitude for doing your part around the house.

Although it is nice to receive appreciation, you should not expect it or feel disappointed if it doesn't come for maintaining your part of chores. Don't wait for your partner to ask you to do chores. Share your thoughts and plan for the week ahead.

The Worst Thing You Can do is Ignore and Take Your Partner for Granted

When we're trying to win someone over, we do everything right. After marriage, we take our relationship for granted and pay less attention. Ignoring your partner is worse than criticizing them. Focus on what you appreciate to avoid this. Say these four things to show you care;

What do you want to do?

Plan activities together by asking your partner what they want to do. Lack of communication can lead to feeling taken for granted. Ask your partner what they want to improve and what's working well.

I can't wait to be with you! 

Longing keeps relationships alive. Let them know you long for them. Small acts of love are essential. For example:

  • Kiss and hug before work. 
  • Leave love notes.
  • Call them at work.
  •  Flirt regularly. 
  • Do the little things they appreciate, like buying flowers, holding hands, or splitting household chores.

Our relationship is the most important one I have on this earth! 

Prioritize your spouse and your relationship. Be aware of what's happening and communicate frequently with your partner. Regularly assure, defend, and stand by your spouse that you love and respect them. Nurturing your relationship is a two-way street.

Thank you!  

Expressing gratitude and appreciation towards your spouse is essential. Show appreciation often by saying "thank you" for even the most minor things. 

Ways to Show Appreciation for Your Spouse

1. Give Compliments

Expressing your attraction and appreciation towards your significant other is essential. Telling your partner they're attractive, sexy, or the best spouse ever, especially in a unique way using your voice, never gets old.

2. Spend Time Apart

Taking a break from each other can rekindle appreciation. Visit family or friends to be away from your partner; it will help you remember what you love about them.

3.Take Over Each Other's Chores

To show appreciation for your partner, occasionally take over their household duties or switch up your usual chores.

Remember, the goal is to show appreciation without expecting anything in return.

4. Tell Your Partner When They've Done Something Right

Thank your partner for even the small things, like making their special coffee in the morning. Expressing gratitude can lead to an ongoing appreciation cycle and encourage them to do even more for you.

5. Get Each Other Gifts

Take a few minutes to buy your partner something they need or want, like flowers or a phone charger. These small acts can make your partner feel cared for.

6. Go on Fun Dates

Try going on a unique date like dance lessons or a hot air balloon ride to reignite the excitement of a new relationship. Trying new things together creates a sense of novelty and connection. 

It can be challenging to restructure your life, reverse the habit of taking your spouse for granted, and revive a spark of romance. Consider using marriage In a Box for professional support, helpful suggestions, and guidance. Marriage In a Box provides access to tools and techniques that professionals use to address relationship issues. On the site, you can set goals, earn rewards, and find marriage coaching. Check out the available kit and sources of information online.

Posted 2/7/2024

Navigating Addiction as a Couple: Rebuilding Trust and Connection

In the challenging journey of overcoming addiction as a couple, there are crucial steps to take to ensure your relationship remains strong and supportive. This article provides valuable advice for couples facing addiction, helping them navigate the path to recovery while maintaining their bond.

Seek Professional Help Together

Couples therapy can be a game-changer. A skilled therapist from Marriage In A Box can guide you both in addressing individual struggles and healing as a unit. This safe space fosters open discussions and equips you with tools to manage challenges effectively. It's important to understand that addiction affects not only the individual but also the dynamics of the relationship. Seeking professional help acknowledges the complexity of the situation and allows for tailored strategies to mend both partners' wounds.

Prioritize Open and Honest Communication

Successful recovery relies on transparent dialogue. Sharing thoughts, fears, and progress helps rebuild trust. Acknowledge mistakes and celebrate milestones, fostering an environment of understanding and empathy. Communication isn't just about talking – it's about active listening, compassion, and vulnerability. When both partners can openly express their feelings without fear of judgment, it paves the way for healing and connection.

Establish Clear Boundaries and Expectations

Clearly define what behaviors are acceptable and what are not. Set boundaries that protect both partners and the relationship. This provides a sense of security and structure during the recovery process. Boundaries can range from agreeing on sobriety expectations to outlining how conflicts should be resolved. When a partner knows their role in supporting the other's recovery, it minimizes misunderstandings and reduces triggers.

Avoid Ultimatums and Threats

Recovery is delicate; threats or ultimatums can backfire. Instead, focus on encouragement and support. Let your partner know that you're committed to the relationship, regardless of the challenges. Ultimatums can create a hostile environment and may even push your partner further into addiction. Your support should be unconditional, while also respecting the need for personal responsibility in the recovery journey.

Embrace the Present Moment

Concentrate on the here and now. Dwelling on past mistakes can hinder progress. By focusing on the present, you can actively work on healing and rebuilding together. Addiction recovery is a step-by-step process, and each moment counts. While acknowledging the past is important, fixating on it can prevent both partners from fully engaging in the present moment and making positive changes.

Highlight the Positive

Celebrate the positive aspects of your relationship and life. Gratitude and appreciation counterbalance the difficulties you're facing. Cultivate joy in shared experiences to fortify your bond. Finding moments of joy amid the challenges reinforces the notion that the relationship is worth fighting for. Shared laughter and positive memories strengthen the emotional connection between partners.

Consider Inpatient Treatment if Addiction Continues

If addiction is severe and you’re unable to quit, inpatient treatment at rehabilitation centers in New York City might be necessary. It's crucial to evaluate potential centers based on accommodations, accreditations, treatment modalities, and location. Past patient reviews can offer valuable insights into the center's effectiveness. Inpatient treatment provides the intensive support required for a successful recovery, especially in cases of severe addiction. Seeking professional help signifies strength and commitment to personal healing and the well-being of your relationship.

Overcoming addiction as a couple is a challenging journey, but with the right strategies, you can strengthen your relationship and achieve lasting recovery. Through couples therapy, open communication, and more, you can build a healthier, more resilient partnership. If needed, inpatient treatment can provide the intensive support required for successful recovery. Remember, you're not alone – the path to healing is navigable together. By approaching the recovery process as a united front, you can emerge from the shadows of addiction and into a brighter, healthier future as a couple.

Posted 1/31/2024

How to Support Your Spouse During Hard Times

Supporting your spouse during difficult times is essential, as stress can create conflicts and disagreements in your marriage. Stress can cause negative feelings like irritability, anxiety, and fatigue, but it can also provide opportunities to learn how to support each other better. No matter how challenging the situation, being a supportive partner is crucial.

Why is Emotional Support Important? 

Emotional support becomes even more critical during tough times. Supporting your partner makes all the difference in your relationship's direction. Stress can affect both partners, so giving each other emotional support is needed. When you provide emotional support, you can create a deeper and more meaningful love between you and your spouse.        


What Not to Do:

Don't Minimize their problems.

There are things you should avoid doing when trying to be supportive. For instance, you should not minimize your partner's problems by saying, "It's not the end of the world." Doing so can invalidate their feelings and make them feel like they are overreacting. Instead, avoid commenting on their emotions and focus on being there for them.

Don't Try to Fix their problems.

It would be best not to try to fix your partner's problems when they come to you for support. Your role is to listen and provide comfort, not to solve their problems for them. Even if they ask for advice, be careful not to give too much of it. Instead, ask them what they think they should do and provide guidance aligning with their thoughts.  

Don't Neglect Your Sex Life.

There's a good chance your spouse is not thinking about sex if they are feeling intense anxiety or grief. If you suspect intimacy might help them, there's no better way to connect and release stress. Sex releases the chemicals that make you feel good and deepen the bond between you. Break up the routine; having sex may help your spouse forget they have a concern for the time being.

How to Offer Support:

Ask if They Want to Talk about It 

Don't be afraid to ask your spouse how they are coping, and if they want to talk, let them know that you're there if they feel like talking and that you care. If they ask for advice and you have a potential solution, you can gently suggest it for your spouse to consider.

Listen Actively 

Using good listening skills shows care for someone struggling and lets them know that someone else has heard their pain. Active listening is essential to emotional support and can make a difference. It means that you give your partner full attention and show interest in their words by: 

  • Using open body language, facing them with a relaxed face, and uncrossed arms and legs 
  • Avoid distractions, be mindful.
  •  Avoid interrupting. 
  • Ask for clarification and summarize.

Build Them Up

Times of personal difficulty, especially rejection, can make people feel down and cause them to doubt themselves and their abilities. If you notice that your spouse seems to be going through some self-doubt, a sincere compliment or two can help improve their outlook. You'll want to keep a few things in mind when offering compliments: 

  • Choose compliments to highlight specific strengths versus empty compliments.
  • Overdoing it can make people skeptical of the compliment.  

Be Affectionate

Physical contact is one of the best ways to be supportive, no matter what happens. Even if you aren't happy, holding hands or cuddling can restore intimacy and provide comfort and support.

Provide Reassurance and Comfort

Being a supportive partner means reminding your significant other that you love them, believe in them, and are always there for them in a gentle manner. A loving partner's words can bring comfort and assurance. Simple gestures and touch can offer your partner extra comfort.

Take Over Some of their Chores or To-Do list Items.

Couples must support each other during difficult times to maintain a healthy relationship. When your partner feels overwhelmed by everything on their to-do list during a challenging time, helping with some of the duties is an act of emotional support and is like giving energy back to them.   

Support their Solution.    

Similarly, when your partner presents a solution to a problem, it's important to offer encouragement and support instead of criticizing or pointing out flaws. If they ask for your opinion, provide gentle guidance to help them succeed.

Couples should support each other during stressful situations that may strain their marriage. Kindness, support, and romance are essential to maintain a healthy relationship. If you're struggling with relationship issues, consider using Marriage In a Box as a resource. This platform provides access to tools and techniques professionals use for relationship counseling. You can set goals, earn rewards, and find marriage coaching services on the site. Check out the available kits and sources of information online to improve your relationship.

Posted 1/27/2024

How to Navigate a Serious Illness in Marriage

Chronic illness with a spouse can bring many challenges, but there are ways to be a supportive partner and take care of your well-being. It is essential to have open conversations about your own needs and concerns as well as theirs. A balance is needed to maintain happiness in the marriage. The caregiving spouse needs to make sure they are invested enough in the marriage to see it through. There is support out there to help in these situations.

Health Scares can Test the Strongest of Marriages.

Being diagnosed with a chronic illness creates changes in your life situation that may increase the risk of divorce in couples. The partner of someone diagnosed with a chronic disease needs to assume the role of both caretaker and partner.  If you provide care, you can feel resentful and overwhelmed. The care recipient can feel more like a patient than a marriage partner. This shift can threaten self-esteem and create a sense of loss. 

1. Face the illness together.

Finding ways to talk openly about the challenges with illness helps to solve problems effectively and form good teamwork. There can be frustration and anger over conditions when your spouse can't do certain things. Finding a middle ground with communication is key. Constantly discussing the illness is a problem, and never discussing it is also a problem. 

2. Ask your partner what they need.

Encourage your partner to share their needs for caretaking and their emotional and relationship needs. Caregiving involved in illness can change a marriage landscape, and you and your partner may feel a loss of sexy or romantic feelings and may need to work through this together or with a therapist. Education about illness and treatment options by going together to doctor's appointments would be helpful.  

Seek support from home aide services for activities of daily living, mobility, and household chores. Being transparent, direct, and clear about your wants is essential because your partner isn't a mind reader. 

A partner with a chronic illness may send mixed messages based on how well they feel and may fluctuate with how much help they need. When feeling good, your partner may want to do things on their own but then become resentful when others don't help when they aren't feeling as well. Chronic illness can shift the balance of a relationship; the more responsibilities one needs to assume, the greater the imbalance.

3. Keep communication open and honest.

The relationship can suffer when people don't discuss problems with no easy or obvious solution. A lack of discussion can lead to feelings of distance and a lack of intimacy. Finding ways and the right time to talk clearly and openly about challenges helps with problem-solving and creates feelings of closeness from good teamwork. Talk to your partner rather than assume you know what your partner thinks, feels, and needs from you. 

4. Take care of yourself to avoid caregiver burnout.

A chronic illness or debilitating condition added into the mix of a relationship can make it feel nearly impossible to stay emotionally happy. Being married to a person who has a long-term health condition can bring challenges, and you can ignore your own mental and emotional wellness needs as you tend to their needs. There are ways you can be a supportive partner and still take care of your well-being:

  • Open, honest conversations about your own needs and concerns are essential. 
  • Practice empathy and self-care by making time for your needs and finding social support to help you feel restored.
  • It's always vital to remember that two people are in your relationship, and your needs are equally important.      

5.Know your limits and seek sources of home care

Seeking outside support from homecare services for activities of daily living, mobility, and household chores may also be needed. Some agencies help with different health conditions and provide education and support. Other agencies offer home health care for medical issues, therapies, and light housekeeping. Needs may evolve as the illness progresses; thus, checking in with each other about what is going well and what feels challenging will help you stay close through this difficult time. Government agencies are available to offer financial support.

6. Give yourself and your partner room for a “time-out.”

After assessing what is needed and what you can or can't help with, determine your boundaries to help you succeed with your relationship. There may be some care tasks you don't think you are physically or emotionally able to do; be forthright about that from the start and help your partner find additional home care sources. As a caregiver, you must take breaks to avoid burnout and maintain your well-being. Your boundaries can only be adhered to if you clearly state them to your partner. 

Couples need good communication skills to survive. This dynamic is increasingly challenged by the illness of a spouse. Communication may be confused by mixed messages requiring more advanced skill to deal with and romance can be lost. If you struggle in this area, you may need more professional support, consider using Marriage In a Box as a resource for helpful suggestions and guidance. Marriage In a Box provides access to tools and techniques professionals use for relationship issues. You can set goals, earn rewards, and find marriage coaching on the site. Check out the available kit and sources of information online.

Posted 1/19/2024

Are You Truly Communicating With Your Spouse?

Marriage problems can arise in many ways, strike at the heart of a marriage, and cause communication to break down. A communication breakdown between couples can occur when they fail to communicate or reach a stalemate about disagreements or misunderstandings healthily. Effectively communicating with your spouse is essential to offset frustration and anger in your relationship and leads to greater happiness. 

External factors can influence your connection negatively, but determining the cause and working to fix it with the right attitude and healthy communication is what matters. So, connect with your partner and share meaningful conversations with your spouse while avoiding strife. Engage with your partner and remember that communication is a binding factor to keep your marriage intact.

Shouting is not Communicating!

It is easier to raise the volume of your voice than to calmly talk when you are upset as you speak to your spouse. Shouting triggers the fight-or-flight response, creates a lot of negative emotion, and doesn't get your point across effectively because the focus shifts from the topic at hand to the conflict. It could also incite an argument or make the other person want to leave. Remaining calm fosters a more loving atmosphere with more opportunities to connect.

Remember that Winning is not the Goal.

Realize that you're not in it to win it. Winning an argument means that by default, one of you gets to feel good, and the other is left feeling wounded, and that's not a healthy approach for any marriage. A spiteful mindset destroys good communication, and It's easy to fall into a mindset of wanting to get even or get your point across to win the fight. Instead of getting caught up in conflict, try to have the mindset that you are a team and are in this together. The key to healthy communication is finding a solution that makes you both win together.

Communication is More than just talking; It also means Listening.

Not listening to each other is a real problem when your relationship is rough. It can be a time when frustration and tension boil over, and you both want to communicate your point. When communicating with your spouse, listen to their words, tone, and voice pitch, and note body language and expressions. Research links attentive listening to coping more effectively and relationship satisfaction. Consider stepping back to listen to what your partner has to say. Then, take turns talking without interruption instead of trying to make your point

Communication should be a Discussion.

Interactions between you and your spouse involve how you convey thoughts, ideas, and feelings. Verbal ability to communicate with your spouse can enhance the relationship between the two of you. Communication should be a discussion between partners, not a debate involving preconceived notions about what is happening between you. Communication in personal relationships is all about partners collaborating and being willing to compromise through sharing perceptions, feelings, and ideas to understand what is happening between them.

10 Steps to Improved Communication with Your Spouse

  1. Be comfortable – Stay neutral on hot topics you discuss and use good timing. For example, don't talk about upsetting things in bed.

  2. Pay full attention. Turn off distractions and lean into your partner, using connective body language to avoid creating distance.

  3. Make eye contact without staring down your spouse, but don't send a message that you're afraid; avoid eye wandering.

  4. Use "I statements" such as I feel like this when… Indicate your awareness about being responsible for your thoughts and behavior.

  5. Invite your partner to share their perceptions and be empathetic and non-judgmental. 

  6. Don't interrupt! Stay focused, attentive, and connected. Even if you don’t particularly like or disagree with what is said. 

  7. Reflect, check, and clarify what you think your partner is saying by repeating what you hear to ensure you hear the overall message correctly. 

  8. Use language that sounds collaborative and recognize that when there are two of you in a room, there's also a third entity present—the relationship. Focus on what is best for the relationship.

  9. If there's a problem that you are trying to solve, communicate your ideas for solutions with tentativeness. For example, use terms like, I'm stuck. What do we need to do next?

  10.  Keep the communication flowing, be willing to listen, and don't be afraid to say you don't know something.

Couples need good communication skills to survive. Verbal and nonverbal communication is essential to marriage success. If you struggle in this area and want to know more, consider using Marriage In a Box as a resource for helpful suggestions and guidance.

Marriage In a Box provides access to tools and techniques professionals use for relationship issues. You can set goals, earn rewards, and find marriage coaching on the site. Check out the available kit and sources of information online.


Posted 1/10/2024

Make Your Marriage Your First Priority

Make Your Marriage Your First Priority

A strong marriage is the healthiest thing you can give yourself and your kids; therefore, it becomes a priority. It doesn't mean you have to put all your energy into your marriage and ignore other things in your life that are a priority or need to come first. There is a balance here. Prioritizing your marriage means you do little things to make your partner feel special.  Find ways to connect with your spouse daily and schedule regular time with just the two of you. Putting your marriage first is essential because it provides the foundation for everything you build together. You want it to last a lifetime.

Find Small Ways to Make Your Spouse Feel Cherished

When you put your marriage first, try to find small ways to make your spouse feel cherished. 

Some suggestions include the following:

  • Bring coffee in the morning, express your affection for them. 
  • Be happy to see your partner when they arrive home.
  • Hug, kiss, and hold hands often.
  • Text and flirt throughout the day and set a date night weekly.
  • Don't hold grudges.

It's Important to Spend Time Together

Spending time with your partner is essential for your relationship to grow and blossom into something more profound. Unfortunately, people tend to become comfortable the longer they've been together or become busy pursuing personal interests. They stop putting their spouse first, and quality time can decrease. It becomes a problem if you emotionally disconnect with your partner. Setting aside quality time to spend with each other is essential.  Focus on enjoyment and re-establishing the romantic connection, which goes a long way in strengthening the relationship. Some ways you can spend quality time are: 

  • Go on a holiday together 
  • Go for a walk in the park 
  • Enjoy a coffee break together
  • Stay indoors and watch movies together

Mutual Respect is Essential

Be considerate of each other's time.

Consider each other's schedules when planning individual activities and communicating your expectations. Ensuring you're on the same page is respectful, and it helps to factor in quality time together. If you've promised your spouse that you will be home at a particular time, stick to that promise. Keep each other in the loop if you will be late or if something changes.

Keep secrets

One of the most important things you can do for your spouse is to respect their privacy and keep their thoughts, feelings, or other things that they aren't sharing publicly quiet. Your spouse is your most trusted confidant, and they are yours. It is best to let them be the ones to share something if they choose.

Tell your spouse first, consider their feelings, and ask for their input.

When something exciting or disappointing happens, tell your spouse before you disclose it to your circle of friends or family. It can be hard to wait, but it shows respect to them and lets them know they are your most important relationship. Consider your spouse's feelings about a situation before you make big decisions or during disagreements. Ask for their input on situations that arise, as they know you better than anyone else and may have valuable thoughts about your situation.

Thank your spouse

It is easy to take our spouse for granted on those things they do regularly. Start thanking them each day. Thank them for going to work and supporting the family. Thank them for being a loving spouse. Your gratitude and appreciation will show that you respect and value them. 

Recognize that they are human.

Give your spouse grace when they make mistakes, and try not to get upset with them. None of us are perfect; we all make mistakes. Treat your spouse as you want to be treated with respect and grace.

Pay Attention to Your Spouse

We all have things that steal our attention and shape our values negatively, which can impact our marriage. Paying attention to your spouse and giving them the attention they deserve and need is an excellent way to make your marriage a priority. When we prioritize in favor of our partner, life is happier, sweeter, and more fulfilling. There is always time to spend with friends and work late, but priorities must be balanced. You may have misplaced priorities if your life constantly flows toward more attention at work ( sports, friends, etc) and not toward your spouse.

Grow Together with Shared Goals

Putting your spouse first means growing together and creating goals you can work toward.

 Your goals could be any of the following:

  •  a regular date night
  •  a romantic getaway
  •  a new hobby together

Sharing goals helps you continue growing together and strengthens your partnership.

One of the secrets to a happy marriage and life is to put your partner first and give them preferential treatment. It can be challenging with other demands for time and attention. Consider using Marriage In a Box for helpful suggestions and guidance about managing to prioritize your spouse for an enduring marriage.

Marriage In a Box provides access to tools and techniques professionals use for relationship issues. You can set goals, earn rewards, and find marriage coaching on the site. Check out the available kit and sources of information online.

Posted 12/27/2023

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