In our last post, we dug into 10 tips for rekindling the spark of your marriage. These ideas can help you adjust your perspective, see the best in each other, and spend the quality time that is essential for a healthy, happy relationship.
Today, let’s dive into 10 more. The more you can incorporate things into your daily lives, the more connected you and your spouse will feel – but be patient! These aren’t “one time” activities that magically fix the relationship. Instead, they are habits and ongoing activities that help develop trust, subconscious connection, and the frame of mind that allows you to love and appreciate one another every day!
1. Create Something
Working together on a project, especially a creative one, forces you to collaborate with your spouse. You may face challenges to work through, have to yield to each other’s skill sets, or compromise on ideas. When you’re finished, you’ll be able to look back and see what you’re capable of when you work together!
Make sure it’s something you both feel interested in – or find a way to combine your individual interests into something even bigger!
2. Sleep Closer Together
Even if you don’t realize it, your brain is at work all the time. It builds connections and affects emotions in ways we don’t see… And one of the biggest subconscious connectors comes from touch! Even while you’re asleep, skin-to-skin contact with your spouse helps develop your feelings of connectedness. Whether it’s a full on snuggle or simply letting your hands touch while you sleep, it all helps!
3. Double Dates
The prospect of double dates might seem strange to some people, but it can actually be a great way to build (or rebuild) your relationship. First, it can help make the excursion even more fun if you’re also spending time with friends. Second, it helps you gain some perspective on your own relationship by being in close proximity to someone else’s. This doesn’t mean comparing the two directly, but rather seeing the little nuances and differences – and letting them either build your confidence or give you ideas on how to make your own marriage better.
4. More Kisses!
Like physical touch of all kinds, kissing is a great way to make your brain and body crave connection! All of this ties back to that wonderful hormone oxytocin, the so-called “cuddle hormone.”
Kiss whenever the mood strikes you, of course, but also make a point to exchange kisses when you part ways in the morning, when you reconvene at home, and as you’re going to bed for the night.
5. Work On Your Own Interests
Despite all the weight we put on spending quality time together, you ALSO have to make time to pursue your own interests. If you aren’t feeling fulfilled with your own passions, hobbies, or other interests, you aren’t going to be the best version of yourself.
Make time to cultivate the things that make you feel accomplished and fulfilled, and take that positivity back into the marriage. A healthy marriage isn’t “being half” – it’s two whole people that come together to make something even greater.
6. Support Each Other’s Passions
Related to pursuing your own interests, be supportive of your spouse’s! The sense of fulfillment is important for both of you, and if you can encourage and support one another along the way, you’ll build an even deeper connection.
When you watch your spouse in action, you’ll also see them at their most passionate and engaged – a great view of the person you love!
7. Eye Contact
Looking someone directly in the eye is both intimidating and incredibly connective. When you speak, especially if you’re having a serious or difficult conversation, look one another in the eye. It might be tough, but it will help you see an entire spectrum of emotions that may or may not be said outright.
When you’re having happy interactions, the same is true! Not only will you see the fine detail of how your spouse is feeling, you’ll also be building your subconscious feelings of trust and connectivity.
8. Exercise Together
Working out does so many great things for your mind and body, and doing it with your spouse is even better! You’ll be spending quality time together, lean on each other for moral support, and have to get past any self-consciousness you might feel.
Exercise also helps your body function better, can help with sex drive, and make you feel more attracted to each other. There are really no downsides here!
9. Don’t Avoid Tough Talks
If you’ve been feeling disconnected, talk about it! Don’t just try these tips in hopes of fixing the problem without actually addressing it. If your spouse doesn’t know WHY you suddenly put emphasis on touching while you sleep or supporting their passion, you might not get the response you expect… Which could lead to resentment and other problems.
Talk first. Acknowledge if there has been trouble, and then use these ideas to get back on track.
10. Have Your Partner’s Back
Last but not least, make your “default setting” one of support, patience, and benefit of the doubt. You two should be a team, not adversaries. If you have each other’s back in tough times, when things are going poorly at work or with family members, when stresses are high or money is tight… You become a unit that turns to each other for help first.
This can take many forms, but it all starts with an attitude of “being there” for your spouse.
Take these tips one at a time. Talk to each other about why these things are important to pursue, and commit to building (and maintaining) the best marriage you possibly can!
For more advice on how to strengthen your marriage, check out the StrongMarriageNow System today!
Dr. Dana Fillmore and Amy Barnhart, co-Founders, StrongMarriageNow.com