Your Marriage Can Benefit From A Relationship Checkup
Your relationship, just like your house or your car, needs regular maintenance to stay in good working order. Do you take your car in for regular oil changes and checkups? Do you have a HVAC company service and check up on your furnace and air conditioner? Failure to take care of those tasks and your car or house will eventually fall into disrepair and stop working, The same is true for your marriage.
Regular relationship maintenance will keep the love alive and the investment in your relationship strong. Relationship maintenance is the regular behaviors that partners engage in to stay together in a happy marriage. Researchers Laura Stafford and Daniel J. Canary identified a set of five general relationship behaviors that, when engaged in regularly, increase the quality of the relationship.
A 10:1 ratio of positive to negative interactions is ideal. The more positivity you can share the better. Positivity is not simply a happy disposition all the time. It is more about how you approach your spouse.
- If you disagree, are you able to listen for what makes sense in what your spouse shared?
- Do you know to change toxic talk into fix-it talk?
- When you see your spouse are you able to share a positive thought about your day rather than a negative one?
A kiss, hug or loving physical contact all increase the positivity ratio and help maintain a warm and loving climate in your marriage.
Most couples spend a good deal of time together which, if you are not careful, can create an atmosphere of dismissal when your spouse is sharing.
- Are you receptive to your partner?
- When your partner needs to share something about their day or air a grievance, are you open to hearing what they share?
Successful couples listen skillfully and ask good questions to create an engaging conversation.
Being a supportive partner requires solid listening skills.
- Do you feel you can count on your partner to lend an ear when times get tough?
- Are you able to support your partner when they need a shoulder to lean on
Knowing your partner’s love language and making sure you are filling their “love tank” is good relationship maintenance.
Engaging in meaningful social interactions together is a relationship building activity. It is especially true if you spend time with other successful couples. Spending time with other couples help you remember why you fell in love in the first place. It is also an opportunity to see how other couples navigate their relationship so you can fine tune yours.
Sharing tasks and responsibilities.
This kind of relationship maintenance requires solid decision-making skills. Most married couples share a household, which in turn means they share a great many responsibilities. Successful couples make decisions and work through the to-do list gracefully. These kinds of skills take practice. The nature of sharing a life together affords many opportunities for that sort of thing.
At least once every season, couples should schedule a regular marriage checkup. Take a walk, go on a mini-retreat, or whatever you can do that gets you out of your regular routine. You need a place where you can both discuss what’s working, what areas needs tending to, and what you both need to do to improve things moving forward. Having these talks and knowing they are firmly on the schedule creates a sense that the partnership matters and is being cared for.
For many couples, marriage is work, or at least a work in progress. Make sure you are doing the necessary relationship maintenance to keep your foundation rock solid.Learn more about our Couples Therapy Exercises