You dated, fell in love and got married. You expected the bliss to continue. Then, life happened: job, kids, stress, endless responsibilities…
I had a client tell me the other day “I will focus on my marriage when the kids go to college.” Her kids are in preschool!
The top 3 reasons why to put energy into your marriage NOW are:
1) Your marriage is a vital role model for your children. This is how they learn how to express love. And this understanding will be with them forever.
2) A happy marriage boosts the happiness of the couple and their children. Your marriage is your primary intimate relationship. Having close ties is vital to our happiness. And happiness is contagious. Research shows that happiness spreads (just like diseases). So your children, friends, co-workers and neighbors will benefit.
3) It will help you AND your children live longer lives. Studies show that happily married people are physically healthier and better able to fight off disease. They live longer and so do their children (even after the parents have died).
“OK,” you might be saying. “I get it. Focusing on making my marriage a happy one is important. BUT you don’t know how busy I am. How can I possible add one more thing to my “to-do” list?
- Prioritize: yes, there is a lot to do everyday. Consider the benefits to you and you children and make a strong, happy marriage be a priority for you.
- Schedule time every day (at least 10 minutes to sit and chat), every week (date) and every quarter (spend the night away form the children) together without distractions of work, kids, in-laws… Too tired at night? Get up a little early to spend time together. I had a client who used to wake up early some days with her husband so they could enjoy a cup of coffee together and a nice romp before the kiddo got up
- Do fun things together: take tango lessons or a cooking class, learn a foreign language and then visit the country, volunteer together, take a bath, sleep in the guestroom, have a picnic by the fire after the kids go to bed, try something new in the bedroom (or outside the bedroom). Be adventurous, daring, silly, uninhibited, fun. This includes physical intimacy. Yes, sex, as well as any other touching, rubbing, caressing, or physical loving you can give. Contrary to come married couples’ visions, sex is not annual a monthly event, like paying the rent (or at least, it optimally is not).
- Ask and listen: be interested and supportive in what your partner is doing. If she has a big meeting at work or he has a major project due, be encouraging. Men, you need not solve all of her problems, just listen.
- Express yourself (in the positive way): a little word of thanks, a text that you are thinking about your spouse, an offer to assist them can all go a long way. In our society we are so focused on communicating what is wrong (what needs to be fixed, changed, addressed) that we miss out on all the good. If you only do one thing, make it sharing gratitude with your partner. Tell her/him how much you appreciate what they did, what they do on a regular basis, what a great parents they are, how much they love you. Expressing appreciation is a gift to your partner, you and your marriage as a whole.
Focus on your marriage to increase the happiness in your entire household. And if you do, you’ll be an even happier you!