According to the National Healthy Marriage Resource Center, a health marriage takes work, but as good nutrition and regular exercise can make a body healthy, certain steps can increase the health of a marriage.
Here are 10 tips you can use to strengthen your marriage:
- Spend Time with Each Other. Married partners need time with each other. Date nights and weekend activities give partners a restorative break. If a getaway is not immediately possible, then make it a goal. Time with a partner increases understanding of differences. Healthy marriages need both quality and quantity time.
- Learn to Negotiate Conflict. All couples disagree. Working out problems in a relationship starts with understanding what the issues are and discussing them. Learning to deal with conflict is essential to a marriage.
- Show Respect for Each Other. Criticism and putdowns damage a relationship, but applying the Golden Rule strengthens the bonds between partners. A compliment is a quick and easy way to show him or her respect.
- Self discovery helps. Many partners don’t know much about themselves, so they can also have difficulty learning about their partners. Self-discovery helps an individual grow as a person and a partner. Regardless of how long the relationship has lasted. There is always more to learn about a partner. Dreams for the future, the worst fears, giving and receiving love – all are intimacies to share. Couples who commit to self-discovery share a wealth of intimacies over a lifetime.
- Explore Intimacy. Marital intimacy opens a marriage to a whole new level of enjoyment and closeness. Intimacy does not always mean sexuality. An often forgotten aspect of intimacy is emotional, which creates a safe space for a partner to share his or her emotions without fear. Successful partners learn the difference between emotional and physical intimacy and when each one is appropriate. Offering a partner one type when he or she wants the other can create problems.
- Build Common Interests. Common interests are important to healthy marriages. Each partner need not enjoy every activity, but common interests opens up the opportunity for greater sharing and compromise. Common interests – cooking or eating new foods together, going for walks or playing cards – are any activity outside the family that both spouses enjoy.
- Create a Spiritual Connection. Partners grow closer when they share some form of spiritual connection, such as religion or through meditation, or by simply spending time in nature or intimate conversation.
- Improve Communication Skills. Talking and listening to each other is one key to a healthy marriage. One partner should never assume that he or she knows the other’s mind or feelings. Many resources – books, marriage education workshops and online courses – are available to help couples learn how to communicate more effectively.
- Forgive Each Other. Partners hurt each other, and should learn to forgive and forget. Forgiveness is an important virtue in a marriage because no one is perfect. Each partner should try to allow the other partner some room to make a few mistakes. When one person makes a mistake he or she should act quickly to apologize and fix problems. Doing so will help to encourage forgiveness and strengthen a marriage.
- Look for the Best in Each Other. People fall in love with each other because they see wonderful qualities in each other. Over time, however, a partner’s view of those qualities may change. Partners should give each other the benefit of the doubt and make a list of all the things one person loves about the other.