Many of the elements of a strong, stable marriage can be established and maintained through conscious effort. It’s a matter of putting your relationship at the forefront of your mind, then making decisions and taking actions with your spouse (and the overall quality of your relationship) in mind!
That thoughtful approach to marriage, with “practice,” will also help you and your spouse develop habits – and eventually you’ll be maintaining your marriage as a matter of course!
There are a handful of daily habits that can help protect your marriage against fights, help keep you and your spouse connected, and foster an environment of love, support, and open communication.
Here are nine habits to work toward:
1. Daily Check-In
Make a point to simply ask your spouse how they are doing, to express in a very direct way that you “have their back” and are thinking about their wellbeing. This just shows that your spouse is feeling is important to you – and helps them feel connected and cherished.
2. Share Feelings
A truly connected couple will not shy away from sharing their feelings with one another. If you’re feeling frustrated, ignored, etc., let your spouse know! Getting things out in the open, even if it’s not the most comfortable conversation, is much better than bottling things up and having them blow up later.
Share your positive feelings too! If you’re feeling fulfilled, happy to be in your spouse’s company, thankful for something they’ve done or said… Be vocal about it! This is all about keeping communication open.
3. Default to Kindness
Regardless of your mood, a recent argument, stress, or anything else that might make you less-than-kind, you should avoid taking it out on your spouse. If you use kindness as your “default” setting for how to communicate with one another, you can avoid pushing each other’s buttons unnecessarily, avoid hurt feelings caused by snapping at each other, and generally keep things on a pleasant even keel.
4. Send Special Messages
Like the daily “check-ins,” sending each other little romantic messages over the course of the day can help keep the marriage at the front of both your minds. It could be a note, a text message, an email – anything to say “thinking of you.”
5. Greet Each Other With Affection
Spending just a few moments to greet each other with a hug and a kiss at the end of the day, or before you part ways in the morning, does so much for your subconscious connection to your spouse! That ritual of greeting each other with affection will also help you fight against the stresses of work and daily life – each day, you will come to look forward to your spouse’s loving embrace, and even if you aren’t aware of it, each time strengthens your marriage.
6. Make Sex a Priority
Similar to that connection-building greeting each day, sex is more than just pleasure in the moment – it plays a HUGE role in your overall, long-term feelings of connection and love. Everyone has a different ideal for sexual satisfaction, but if you’re both making it a priority to meet each other’s needs, to flirt throughout the day (to keep sexual chemistry alive), and to recognize the importance sex plays in your relationship, your marriage will be a lot stronger because of it!
7. Show Support
When one of you is going through a difficult time – or is just having a rough day – it’s important to show support and empathy, and to just be there for the one you love. Having someone to share concerns with, to lean on when things are difficult, to be vulnerable with… All of these things are a part of building and maintaining the deep, truly meaningful love that makes marriage such a valuable and rewarding experience.
8. Let Go of Anger
Holding grudges is poison for your heart and mind. You and your spouse will surely fight at some point, but holding onto anger will only make things worse, prevent you from coming to solutions, and keep a distance between the two of you. If you can let go of your anger and look at problems in a way that focuses on resolution (not emotion), you’ll solve your issues faster, interact more calmly, and maintain a much happier marriage – even when you do get into arguments.
9. Express Appreciation
You’re both a massive part of each other’s lives, and voicing your appreciation for your spouse’s contributions is a great way to remind them how important they are, and to remind yourselves that marriage is a team effort. Say thanks for help with the kids or around the house, let each other know when a meal is delicious or when a date night was enjoyable. Be aware of what each other does over the course of the day, and offer up your recognition and appreciation for all of the things they do!
Each one of these points will help “divorce-proof” your marriage by building up the overall positivity of your day-to-day interactions with each other. These practices can become habits, and once they’re ingrained into the fabric of your relationship, you’ll be amazed at how easygoing, happy, and rewarding your marriage can be!