Although Weinberger Divorce & Family Law Group is here to guide clients through divorce, we would prefer that you stay happily married! Here are 27 top tips to help you remain together from this day forward…
- Show appreciation. What’s the best way to motivate your spouse? Point out everything they do that drives you nuts, or focus on the good things they do for you and the relationship? Showing appreciation everyday, consistently, will create a solid foundation of love and respect: something you’ll need in order to negotiate serious issues that are inevitable in any relationship.
- Listen. As a general rule, men feel admired when women listen to them, and women feel validated when men listen to them. So if you want a successful relationship, talk less, and listen more.
- Say what you mean. Do you have a hard time saying no? Are you so afraid of hurting your spouse’s feelings that you over-accommodate and end up wallowing in resentment? You’re not helping anyone if you wake up ten years into a marriage and announce you’ve been miserable the entire time.
- Do what you say you’ll do. People can say anything, but our actions define us. Trust has to be earned – especially if you’ve done something to hurt your spouse. If you want to be trustworthy, do what you say you’re going to do. Repeatedly.
- Let go of the need to be right. Repeat this mantra: “I can be right or I can be married.” When two people are involved, one person can’t be right all of the time. If you simply can’t bear to cede a point, don’t expect to stay married.
- Stay sexually connected. Libidos wax and wane, and not always in unison, but staying sexually connected is vital. Explore your boundaries in healthy ways and help your spouse do the same. If you are healing from a sexual transgression in your relationship, seek marriage to counseling to help you understand if your relationship can be reconciled.
- Compliment your spouse. Don’t you like it when someone tells you look nice, or you have a great sense or humor, or you throw a fun party? Your spouse likes it too! Couples that make each other feel good (more often than not) tend to stay together.
- Have regular date nights. Don’t let your job, hobbies, friends, or children become the “other woman” or “other man.” Your partner must feel that he or she is #1 in order for the marriage to be healthy. If you are consistently triangulating activities and people, this is a sign that you avoid intimacy with your spouse. Invest in quality one-on-one time by scheduling a regular date night.
- Take vacations without the kids. Parents need couple time to reconnect intellectually, emotionally, and sexually. Worried about leaving your kids behind? Better to take a week to focus on your partner than subject your children to a strained marriage that may eventually end in divorce.
- Entertain. Make your house feel like a home by welcoming people into it. Creating a social fabric will enhance your marriage and give you the opportunity to see your spouse in a different way.
- Apologize, and then say what you’ll do to change things. An apology is meaningless without stating what you’ll do to make sure you don’t make the same mistake…and then following through!
- Let your spouse have his or her own feelings. Your spouse is entitled to his or her own feelings and opinions. You don’t have to agree with them, but you do need to respect them. Trying to explain why your partner is wrong, or why they should overlook the crappy thing you just did because you brought them flowers last week is invalidating. If you want your marriage to last, treat your spouse the way you want to be treated: as if your feelings matter.
- Sweep your side of the street. If you’re constantly focusing on your partner’s flaws, this is a sign that you’re avoiding your own. You can’t control what your partner does anyway, so be rigorously honest about your shortcomings and take steps to address them.
- Make your spouse feel like a priority. While you shouldn’t focus on your spouse to the exclusion of everyone and anything else, you need to make them feel that they’re #1. If your relationship is weak, the rest of your life will suffer.
- Don’t do everything with your spouse. Making your spouse #1 doesn’t mean that you neglect friends, family, and hobbies. There should be a healthy balance between couple time and other time.
- Keep healthy boundaries with in-laws. Make sure you’re married to your spouse and not your mother. Or your father.
- Make your house feel like a home. A home where one person does all the decorating or makes all the rules is a dictatorship, not a home.
- Make the bedroom sacred. Pets and children need to stay out of the bedroom unless both of you want them there. If either of you want the dog or the kids in bed more than you do your spouse, you have a problem!
- Don’t argue in the bedroom. As a general rule, the bedroom should be used primarily for reading, sleeping, and sex. When possible, take arguments into another room.
- Divide household labor. Make agreements on who is responsible for which tasks, and follow through. Letting things slide makes extra work for your partner and invites nagging. Your spouse is your partner, not The Help!
- Respect each other’s personal space. Unless you have permission to look at your partner’s phone, don’t. The same goes for reading emails, snail mail, and snooping through drawers. If something is going on that invites suspicion, or if you’re by nature a jealous person, you need to deal with your trust issues in individual and/or couples therapy.
- Manage finances responsibly. You need to agree on what “responsibly” means. For some people, that means spending whatever you want and hoping that the money materializes. For others, it means keeping records of every dime that’s spent and never touching the savings account. It’s imperative that you agree on a financial plan and remain transparent about your spending.
- Don’t contradict your spouse in front of the children. Dissing your partner and/or getting your kids to side with you against your spouse are bad for everyone – especially your children. Don’t do it. If you can’t stop doing it, see a therapist to find out why.
- Practice self-care. If you’re not well, everyone around you will suffer. Make sure you get routine medical and dental care and attend to your mental health needs.
- Be affectionate. Affection is not the same as sex. Touching your partner communicates warmth, love, and caring. If you want more sex, be affectionate. If you want more affection, give affection.
- Take care of your appearance. Taking care of your physical appearance is a sign of respect for yourself and your partner. Make sure to maintain good grooming habits – especially if you want physical intimacy!
- Have a sense of humor. Having a sense of humor is essential to getting through life’s travails. But remember to laugh with your spouse, not at your spouse!
Have questions about how to legally protect your commitment to stay married? Find out how post-nuptial agreements and reconciliation agreements can be used to help your marriage become stronger than ever, or to help repair it following a separation. Please contact us today to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced, caring family law attorneys.