It’s easy to worry… Sometimes we fixate on a problem or a particular interaction, and our minds let it spiral into imagining the worst-case scenario. Other times, we go so focused on one problem, we fail to see all of the good things around us…
In marriages, this can have fairly disastrous results. Fixating on a minor issue in the relationship can breed resentment, as people overlook their spouse’s great qualities and only see the problem – because it’s all they’re looking for. Similarly, problems with your own self-esteem can make you worry about whether or not your spouse finds you attractive, make you question their motives, and so on.
All of this, even if the problems are very real, can overshadow the good things in your marriage if you don’t strike some kind of balance. So, with that in mind, we’re looking at a couple of clues that your marriage is doing okay – even if some aspects of it are not. If you’ve got these two things going for you, your relationship is likely more stable than you think.
Do you and your spouse frequently touch each other? This could be snuggling up to go to bed, holding hands, even just a familiar touch on the shoulder or lower back as you pass each other in the kitchen…
Physical touch is an essential part of remaining attracted and connected to one another, and if you’re touching one another often (and without much thought that it’s something you’re supposed to do), that’s a great sign! It means you unconsciously desire the physical contact that’s helping sustain your relationship.
Touching each other – and that includes everything from sex and intimate touching to a warm embrace, a light touch on the knee to walking arm in arm – produces oxytocin in your brain, a hormone directly related to feelings of love and connectedness.
Beyond “general” touch, intimate or sexual touches also help reinforce feelings of passion and attraction to one another. This doesn’t mean you have to be having sex every single day, but a flirtatious touch is a reminder of the chemistry between the two of you.
If this is a regular part of your relationship, you’re strengthening your bond – even if you don’t know it!
Romance takes many forms, and every couple has a different idea of what they find “romantic.” That said, we know it when we experience it!
From date nights to a good morning kiss, leaving each other sweet little notes to surprising your spouse with their favorite meal, showing each other that you care – and that you’re thinking about one another – does so much to keep the relationship “top of mind,” and makes you both feel special and loved.
Even if you’ve got some troubles, if acts of romance are a regular part of your marriage, you’re in pretty good shape!
It shows that you’re still focused on each other and the marriage, despite the ups and downs you may be facing. Without these kinds of romantic acts – even saying you love each other, offering compliments, or doing each other little favors out of care and kindness – you fall more into the category roommates, just sharing a space and groceries side by side, instead of truly living your lives together.
Having an ongoing romance in your marriage is also an important indicator that you can overcome problems, arguments, and even major fights. If you’re both making an effort to show love and kindness, then it means you care enough to also put in the work needed to recover from even the most serious issues.
Now, in the midst of major problems like financial issues, arguments about the kids, trouble in the bedroom, and so on, it can be tough to keep that romance alive – and a little lull is not a death sentence for your marriage. Even little glimpses, however, are still a strong sign that you can overcome the problems and move forward with an even stronger marriage.
Don’t take what you’ve got for granted! If you’re happy to see each other every day, if you can still enjoy a date night, if you still feel the urge to surprise each other with little gifts or special attention… All of these mean that you’re still committed to one another, even if other areas of the marriage aren’t perfect.
The next time you’re worrying about your relationship, especially if you find yourself focusing on a singular, specific issue, take a moment to reflect on the good things you’ve got as well. This isn’t to say the issues aren’t working through – in fact, it’s the opposite! If you can still engage in physical touch (without even thinking much about it) and still enjoy some romance, it means that things like money, trust, and communication are absolutely worth working through and improving.
Recognize the problems you face, but don’t overlook the clues that the marriage is worth fighting for.