Is It Time for a Fall Marriage Clean Up?
When you're dating, it's easy to see the possibilities of our future together as things look bright and hopeful. Opposites attract, and differences between couples don't seem so big, but they seem to grow once we get married while the similarities recede. Marriages Can get into a rut and become stale with mundane daily routines. So, it is essential to create things to look forward to.
Intentionally Connect with Your Spouse Daily.
Create Touchpoints. Touchpoints are times of intentional connection with your spouse that occur with moments you find in everyday life. Doing tasks as a couple, like folding laundry, walking the dog, or doing dishes, not only provides connection but helps make the load lighter. Things like making coffee for your spouse, sharing time before you start your day, and catching up on what's new, funny, or exciting can create positive emotions.
Find a time in your schedule to build your connection and closeness intentionally. Some couples do this by showering together instead of alone, which can also set the stage for intimacy.
Reduce Distractions and Communicate.
Make it worthwhile when you make time to talk by reducing misunderstandings and tension. It's painful when one or both spouses feel unheard or misunderstood, but it's also avoidable! Using the Stop-Look-Listen system is a technique to hear one another well and grow more connected through spending time together.
Stop. Stop whatever you're paying attention to and give your spouse full attention. Let them know if you need a few minutes to wrap up, set a timer, then follow through.
Look. Turn to face your spouse. Give eye contact.
Listen. Listen to hear, not to respond. Try to understand where your partner is coming from and what's on their heart and mind. Reflect on what you heard them say and clarify to avoid making assumptions or mishearing.
Clear the Air of Negative Emotions, Hurts, or False Assumptions.
Suppose you are in the habit of sticking a band-aid over problems. Now is the time to start healing those wounds, making peace, and restoring your relationship to health. Allow time for this process; "slow and steady wins the race," and be gentle with each other. Here are some suggestions:
- Have more gratitude. Research shows there is power in gratitude and expressing appreciation for each other creates bonding. It's essential to notice the good rather than focus on what is not good.
- If you created brokenness, fix things. We all make mistakes that can inadvertently hurt our partners; asking forgiveness and changing direction can go a long way toward healing. The important thing for the health of relationships is taking ownership.
- Create happy memories. If Boredom and a lack of fun have permeated your relationship, it's time to have positive experiences together to lay down the negative. Positive thoughts get internalized to result in positive emotions and free your brain from the negative.
- Avoid assumptions. A good way for couples to avoid distress is to ask their spouse what they meant by a statement rather than assume something negative that can taint an emotional response towards them.
- Examine your emotions for hidden resentments. One problem resulting from insufficient communication in marriage is the build-up of negative emotions toward each other. Begin discussions with "I statement" rather than using attacking language.
- Check in with your Spouse Daily Intentionally. A brief" How are you? How are we? Is everything okay?" will do.
Spend time Reminiscing on Happier Times in Your Relationship.
Take a walk down memory lane. Remember when you met, recall what drew you together, and take some moments to reflect upon this time. Research shows that happier couples can remember pleasant earlier memories. It can anchor the relationship and remind you of what you might have forgotten.
Banish Boredom with date nights and play dates.
Pack your favorite foods and head to a scenic spot for a picnic date. Throw down a blanket and pillows, enjoy the views, and have great conversation while dining. Adding some music can set the tone to create a romantic and relaxing ambiance. Regular date nights and fun games or activities strengthen the bond between couples.
There are many factors to solving the marriage doldrums and disconnection problems where therapy is needed. If you continue to have trouble reviving the spark and fun as a couple, consider using Marriage in a Box for suggestions to help revive the spark.
Marriage In a Box is a resource for obtaining tools, techniques, and solutions professional marriage counselors use for typical relationship issues. Marriage coaching is also available on the website. You can also set goals and obtain rewards. Feel free to check out the kit and sources of information online.Learn more about our Couples Therapy Exercises