If you have been married for a while, there have probably been times when passion, excitement and adventure just aren’t there. The routine of daily life and the hectic demands of work have allowed relationship boredom to creep in. A happy married life and loving feelings go hand in hand, so fun and adventure are basic requirements. Adventure is not an optional extra. Either we add it back in or risk losing our marriage. Three things you need to have fun together:
- Plan for time together in advance.
Think about ways you can manage your family’s schedule and create spaces in your life to have time, every now and then, to enjoy an adventure with your husband. It could be an annual trip, or a weekend getaway or just a day together. Arrange in advance for a babysitter or a week at Grandma’s. Make a reservation or registration (if that is required).
- Budget for Adventure and Fun.
What ever you decide to do together, it will likely require some amount of money. Just like you budget for groceries or anything else, set aside a certain amount for “marriage fun”. Your marriage is important, so it is worth investing in.
- Keep an Open Mind
Planning and budget for your fun times together as a couple should not be just one spouse’s responsibility. It should be something you do and agree on together.
Here are a few ideas to add some adventure into your marriage.
Explore your town like tourists. Go on a bike tour, stay overnight in a local hotel and enjoy some “hotel sex” and a longer break from your day-to-day responsibilities.
Be kids again. Go to a zoo, fair, or amusement park. Ride the rides – try one that scares you just a bit! Play games, eat “fair food,” and just have fun.
Learn something new together like photography, dancing, kayaking, anything new that the two of you might both enjoy. Try something that’s a bit out of your comfort zone.
Do something scary. Skydive on a random Saturday morning or hike that really steep cliff. Play a game of laser tag or go to a super scary movie.
Travel to an out of town or out of country destination. When you are on the road, you can be someone else. Travel gives you permission to do something crazy that you would never dream of doing at home, like white water rafting or jumping out of a plane. When you come home you can take the parts of that person you became while traveling and put it into your every day life.
A small comment, a thing that is forgotten, or an inconsiderate act can become a big argument. Often the big fights are about a lot of small things that have added up such as a forgotten anniversary, being late, dirty socks left on the floor, and so on. If not dealt with, we can let the irritations caused by these small things build up over time until they become a focal point for much deeper feelings, such as being taken for granted or ignored. Here are the top 5.
Most partners expect to make big decisions together, such as whether or not to buy a house, a car, or a career change. What about the small decisions such as where to go for dinner, whether or not to invite someone over, etc.? If one partner has to make all of the decisions all of the time, then the other partner is being the lazy partner in the relationship. Over time, that gets old and leads to resentment.
Doing Your Share
Doing your share of the housework is part of being reliable. If you’re not holding up your end of your responsibilities, your spouse could quickly feel like they can’t count on you to do other things. Eventually, they will begin to feel taken advantage of, and the relationship will sour.
Some people are incessant naggers or complainers; however, most of us only complain when something really irritates us. How hard is it to pick up your dirty socks or underwear and put them in the laundry basket? Why can’t you put on makeup once in a while, even if you aren’t going anywhere? When our spouses register a complaint to us, they are looking for us to take some action to change that behavior. Don’t let those complaints build up until your spouse finally explodes. Acknowledge the complaint and take some action or talk it out.
A good spouse is someone who can also be a good friend. After years of marriage, you should be able to read your partner’s moods enough to know if they are down or happy. Make an effort to communicate and respond to them. When your husband or wife is upset, do your best to comfort them. Did your spouse recently get a promotion at work, or perhaps even reach their goal weight after months of hard work? Your partner needs to know that you take pride in his or her accomplishments and are supportive of them.
Not everyone is good at remembering specific details in a relationship, but you need to make an effort to remember anniversaries, birthdays, Valentines day, etc. People tend to build up expectations when a significant date nears. If it comes and goes with no acknowledgment from you, it is the same as if you had slapped them in the face. While you don’t have to have an over the top gift, you do need to do something to “celebrate” the date. Make them a special dinner. Put together a collage of photos of special things you did together. Anything that shows your spouse how much you care about them will do.
Contrary to popular opinion, the best ways to show your spouse that you love them aren’t extravagant gifts or expensive vacations. Often the little things make a person feel most loved. You don’t have to wait for a special occasion. Here are 15 simple ways to show your partner you love them:
- Give them your undivided attention. Giving your partner your undivided attention when he or she is talking to you, just like you did when you were first dating, shows you care.
- Make time for your partner. Return their texts, phone calls, or social media posts, and let them know they’re a priority.
- Hug your partner. Hugging and pressing our heart and stomachs together helps to calm down our nervous systems.
- Tell your spouse why they’re amazing. Verbalize and communicate why you love your partner because it has a much more profound and meaningful impact than saying I love you.
- Cheer for your partner. Support your partner and allow them to hear you compliment them.
- Accept what your spouse offers. When one partner always gives and the other receives, it creates a relational imbalance. Be sure to accept and appreciate everything they give you.
- Share words of appreciation. Send a little love note or a text during the day just because you care.
- Ask For Advice. You may not always need your spouse’s help to make a decision, but it shows that you put value in what they have to say and you want them to be a part of what you’re doing.
- Engage in Activities They Like. Make an effort to at least try and appreciate some of the things they love, even if you’re not the biggest fan. It will show that you’re taking an interest.
- Do Your Part. What makes your spouse take notice of you is when they step in and do one or more of your tasks.
- Daily Welcome. When your spouse walks through the door, drop whatever you are doing and go and greet them with a kiss or a hug and kind word. It lets them know they’re important to you, and you are glad they are home.
- Give them some space. Allowing each other time to pursue separate passions or rejuvenate makes it all the more special when you get back together.
- Dream a Little Together. We all need dreams to connect us to our past and provide hope for the future. Take some time now and then to express and listen to each other’s dreams.
- Say it with food. Incorporate your partner’s favorite meal or dessert into your weekly menu.
- Physical love. Hug, kiss, and touch more. Hold hands. Surprise your spouse with an embrace or a kiss on the cheek or neck. Spoon on the couch while watching a favorite show.
Couples often complain about losing the passion in their relationship after years of marriage. That is because they started taking each other for granted, and no longer go out of their way to do things that they used to do together. Spending quality time together is important to keep your bond secure. When so much of life together becomes all about finances, jobs, childcare, etc., spending quality time together becomes even more crucial.
4 TIPS TO MAKE QUALITY TIME IN YOUR MARRIAGE
- Be selfless, not selfish. It is easy to make selfish choices when your time is limited. By intentionally choosing to be selfless, you create quality time with your spouse by showing them how much you care.
- Study your spouse. You can always something new to discover about your spouse, no matter how many years you have been married. Make it a habit to study them and see what makes them happy.
- Make it a priority to get involved in your spouse’s interests. You know that hobby your spouse enjoys that you could care less about? Make it a point to take an interest in your spouse’s hobbies, even if they don’t interest you Not only will this create an even deeper bond between you and your spouse, but it will build more trust and intimacy as you took the time to take a new interest in them and what they love.
- Set firm boundaries on your time. You are busy during the day, but it is essential to eliminate those things that can steal your time away from you. For some people that could be social media for others, it may be watching television or talking on the phone. Whatever your “time stealer” is, set very firm boundaries to be sure that it is not robbing the quality time that is meant to be spent with your spouse.
It’s important to understand that just because you are married doesn’t mean you don’t need to continue scheduling time to spend together.
What does honor look like in a couple’s daily life? It means waking up in the morning and deciding that our mate is the most valuable person on earth to us. It is deciding that we will look after our mate's needs before we worry about ours. Honoring our mate on a daily level is all about priority.
These four elements are what make honor possible for a couple. They are the driving force to a healthier, more exciting marriage.
- Treat Your Spouse With Care
I collect antiques and have learned that they require cautious and tender handling because of how precious and valuable they are. In a similar way, we are to treat our spouse tenderly. Tender in the way that we speak to them. Tender in the way that we look after them. Tender in the way that we speak about them to others. When we do so, we are showing honor to the one we value the most.
- Value their unique qualities
It can be easy to get frustrated with what our spouse doesn’t do well. In fact, we can create a running list in our mind of the things that we wish they would do better.
Instead, make the concerted effort to focus on what they do well. Tell them the good things that you see. Reaffirm to them what you believe they can do and accomplish. Recognize the things that they can do better than you.
- Look to their interests
In a dishonoring marriage, spouses look to their own interests. They’re fighting for control. They are maneuvering to have the best for themselves. We should honor one another above ourselves. That means having an attitude that seeks the best first for our spouse. A simple question to ask yourself is, “Am I looking out for myself in this situation, or am I considering what’s best for my spouse?”
- Make an Active Commitment to Your Marriage
To honor means to assign a value to something.
When I don’t make time to spend with my husband or I don’t participate in conversations or listen to him, in essence, I’m expressing to my husband that his needs are not important to me and that whatever I’m doing instead is more important than him.
There is an emotional connection that occurs when couples like, admire and respect each other. They talk to each other. They laugh together. When they speak to others about their partner they tend to brag about how great they are. Some couples stop talking, laughing and admiring each other and the emotional bond becomes frayed.
Though difficult, it is possible to restore respect. If you once cared for the person or held them in high regard, it is possible to return to this state if you choose to.
- Regaining respect is a choice
You have to want to regain the respect you once had for your partner. You might prefer to justify your reactions rather than to be the one who rises above the anger. To make the shift, you first have to consciously and genuinely choose to find your way back to respect. The angrier you are, the harder this will be.
- Understand what respect is and is not
To respect is to understand that the other person is not you, not an extension of you, not a reflection of you, not your toy, not your pet, not your product. In a relationship of respect, your task is to understand the other person as a unique individual and learn how to mesh your needs with his or hers and help that person achieve what he or she wants to achieve. Your task is not to control the other person or try to change him or her in a direction that you desire but he or she does not.
- Respect each other’s efforts.
The biggest way to show respect is to support and appreciate each other’s efforts. Compliment and thank your partner. We all like to be praised for the efforts and gifts we bring to the relationship, even if it is our role. This restores respect because being noticed and valued is important.
- Listen with compassion
We all need someone to hear us vent and express our feelings from time to time. Listening to your partner when they're speaking is one of the most essential signs of respect within a relationship. Be there for each other if one of you is having a difficult or tough time. Listen without trying to fix the problem.
Listen with the intention to recall what you once appreciated about your partner, to feel his or her goodness and love, and to reconnect with the relationship you once had. Remember the person is doing the best he or she can, working through humanity’s struggles just like you.
- Respect each other’s opinion, viewpoints and feelings
Decisions that affect you will often affect each other. The first step on respecting your partner’s opinion is to ask for it. When you involve your partner you are demonstrating respect and honoring their value.
Disagreements are normal and healthy in a marriage. Vicious personal attacks at your spouse’s character or personality are not! You can disagree without belittling or hurting someone. Everyone has a right to their own feelings and viewpoint and all feelings are valid. For respect to be present you need to validate each other’s feelings and point of view, even if you do not agree.
Start treating your spouse how you would like to be treated and respect will return to your marriage.
Wanting to win, to be right, is natural; it makes us feel strong and safe and gratified. It's also disastrous for a relationship. Consider the following argument:
Alice says, "You're always working. You don't spend enough time at home. I feel like a work widow."
Rodney says, "Nothing is ever good enough for you," he said angrily. "I'm always working because you're always spending so much money."
Alice says, "At least I'm at home with the family, not married to my job. I might as well be single. In fact, I am."
Rodney says, “Well at least I’m not a selfish shrew, bankrupting the family.”
Personal attacks on the other person. Accusations and name calling. The issue is not being defined and discussed and no resolution is being looked for.
When the goal is winning instead of understanding, partners are more likely to ignore, or trample, each other's feelings. That launches a spiral of escalating resentment and hostility leading to alienation—a troubling distance from each other that can become unbridgeable when communication breaks down completely.
Be more interested in understanding your spouse than in winning.
Winning makes some people feel—for a moment—safe and triumphant, and these short-term gains fool them into thinking that they've chosen the right tactic. But, paradoxically, going for the win is the course of action least likely to get them what they really want.
How can you understand your partner vs. win the argument?
- Physically distance yourself from your partner. An argument is a time of heightened emotions. Because it can be difficult to think clearly, physically distancing yourself can help your emotions to settle. However, never leave without giving an explanation or without agreeing to resume the discussion at some later time.
- Begin your communication with the mind set of listening and understanding one another. As you attempt to clarify the conflict, repeat, using your own words, your mate's position. Actively listen and understand what your mate is saying. In turn, this slows down the process and allows each person to feel heard and understood.
- Create a “win-win” solution. This doesn't necessarily mean compromising. Sometimes compromising creates a quick-fix solution where no one is pleased with the outcome. Furthermore, important issues may be overlooked. Instead, in a "win-win" situation, needs are met on both sides. Win-win solutions can be created in a variety of different ways. Techniques like "brainstorming" and "pros vs. cons" lists work great.
- The resolution process isn't complete until you've made sure that forgiveness has taken place. This step is so crucial because emotional injury can occur when resentment or anger continues after the conflict has ended. Although feelings may be hurt once the argument has finished, it's important not to let the sun go down on your anger. Try to identify your own contribution to the problem and seek forgiveness from your mate.
All couples argue or fight at some point in their relationship. It’s not whether you fight or not that is important, It is how you fight that ultimately determines the fate of your marriage.
When you fight unfairly with your spouse you are, maybe unintentionally, sending them negative signals that can be way more harmful and hurtful than whatever it is you are arguing about.
When you fight in a way that deeply hurts your spouse their behavior will change. They may do whatever it takes to avoid a fight and become closed off. Telling you less about how they feel for fear of a fight and letting more problems build, furthering resentment. It is an endless cycle that makes the relationship more difficult to repair. Ultimately, this can end in feeling distant, alone, and possibly lead to divorce.
So how do you fight fairly?
- Establish a “time out” word that lets your partner know that you need some time out to cool down because you re bout to lose control. Maintaining control of your emotions during an argument is critical to successful resolution of your issues. You need to learn to recognize when you are bout to lose control and call for a time out before thinks escalate.
- Don’t interrupt your partner. When you interrupt your partner while they are talking, you are not listening to understand the issue and their feelings. Instead you are listening just long enough to think of a response. By interrupting, you are taking control of the conversation and signaling to your partner that you are not interested in what they have to say.
- Don’t get off track by bringing up the past. Most people feel the need to be “right” and, when irritated or in a marital fight, they bring in details of a partner’s past slights or transgressions.
- Attack the issue, not each other. Don’t belittle your spouse by name calling, hurling insults or bringing them low with attacks on their personal character. This is not constructive and won’t fix the problem. Talk about the issue, not the person.
- Take responsibility. If you are to blame for the issue or problem, take responsibility for hurting your partner and apologize. This restores your bond with your partner and lets them know how important your marriage is to you.
Those couples that practice fair fighting tend to argue and fight less in their marriage and generally stay together. The bond grows stronger and a more loving relationship is established.
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