Having more of the right things can make all the difference. In marriage, sometimes things don’t feel right and it’s because the relationship is lacking in a few key areas. No two marriages are identical, so we are always careful to not make broad generalizations, but from having communicated with many couples these past 15 years, both Kerry and I are convinced that most marriages would be a lot better off if they added more of the following three things:
The amount and quality of laughter in your marriage is like the fuel needle on a car telling you how full your tank is. Think back to the beginning of your relationship, there’s usually all kinds of laughter, but as the stresses of life set in-children, job, bills- that laughter is often replaced with silence and sometimes even apathy. Life can be hard sometimes, and there are moments when crying together is the only appropriate response, but make laughter a priority and you’ll find that fun fuels a marriage! Go out and do your own “Mystery Science Theater 3000” at a local mall or during a dinner date. Rent your favorite comedy that you two shared laughs with when you were dating. Again, increase your laughter in your marriage.
Let’s be honest and transparent, most men measure the health of their marriage by the frequency of sex. Yes we know, there’s a lot more to a marriage than sex, but couples that place a priority on what happens in the bedroom tend to be a lot stronger in all aspects of the relationship. Don’t be afraid to schedule time for making love. It may sound like it takes the spontaneity and thrill away, but in our busy seasons of life, you’ve got to schedule everything that’s important or it usually won’t happen. There will still be plenty of opportunities to be spontaneous! So take out your calendar and schedule a couple of nights this week. If you’re up to it or feeling adventurous, take the SExperiment Challenge…7 straight days of intimacy with your spouse.
Now, let’s be honest in this direction, most women measure the health of the relationship by the frequency of the communication (this does not say that men don’t care about communication or women don’t care about sex, but these patterns tend to hold true for most marriages.) Couples that place a priority on conversations and purposely reduce the distractions that keep them apart, tend to be a whole lot stronger. Set apart time each day to turn off the cell phones and carve out time to talk. Turn off the TV and ask some key questions of each other. Take time to make eye contact and really, truly listen. For starters, ask your spouse to share with you, “What was one thing today that made you smile/you laugh/you upset/ you angry?” Listen and don’t try to “fix” anything, just listen. Another great communication exercise is to ask each other to share some family/marriage goals. What is a goal in the next 4 weeks/3 months/6 months/year?
It’s very important that we take time to communicate with each other.
So, those are three key areas that we feel could strengthen a marriage. As I stated at the beginning, no two marriages are identical, so you may have another one to add to this list, or you may even disagree with our three. Share with us your thoughts.