What happens if you don’t do regular maintenance on your car or house? What if you don’t feed your pet? How about if you don’t show up to work?
All of these things have a bad ending, right?
What happens if you don’t do maintenance, feed or show up to your marriage? Well, you’ll likely end up divorced; yet another bad ending.
Great marriages don’t happen by accident. They require daily effort, nourishment, repairs and require your time.
While there are a lot of factors that determine whether or not your marriage will last, doing these five things will give your relationship the foundation it needs to be successful.
1. Make good communication a priority
If you’re not communicating, you can’t know or understand what your spouse is thinking, you can’t resolve problems, and you can’t keep your love for each other growing.
You must make talking to each other a priority. Use good communication skills like eye contact, feedback and positive body language. It’s not always what you say but how you say it. If you speak using sharp or biting tones, your partner is going to feel the animosity. If you’re upset from work or something that happened during the day, take time to cool down so you can communicate effectively with your spouse.
2. When you are with your spouse, actually be with your spouse
How often do you and your spouse spend time together by sitting on the couch watching TV or playing games on devices? Are you trying to engage with your wife, but she’s busy on social media? When you have time together, be mentally present. Put away cell phones, turn off the TV and really spend time together. Talk, listen and make your relationship stronger.
3. Keep a good life balance
Your family, especially your spouse, should be your number one priority. If work, friends, sports or other activities are taking over your life, you need to find a better balance. It may require you to scale back on some non-necessary activities.
Prioritize your time by putting the most important thing — your spouse and family — in the number one spot and fill in the rest from there.
4. Never stop dating your spouse
Remember how you used to seek after each other or anxiously wait for a phone call or text from him? Why should that stop after you’re married?
Just because you got what you were after doesn’t mean you need to stop trying to get it. We have a need to be needed, wanted and loved. Go on dates with your husband; take a walk, go to dinner, see a movie or go dancing. Spending time together — continuing to court one another — is vital to keep your love and relationship alive.
5. Treat him how you want to be treated
It’s the Golden Rule: Treat others how you want to be treated. This especially applies to your spouse. Sometimes, those we love the most, we treat the worst. Maybe it’s because of little annoyances or because living in close quarters can be stressful. But, no one likes to be verbally snapped at or attacked all the time.
Use kindness when you talk to your spouse. Think of ways to make her day better. Be a soft landing place from the harshness of the day-to-day grind. How would you want to be treated after a hard day at work? How about after chasing children, running errands, cleaning the house and paying bills? Make sure you treat your spouse with love, compassion and kindness.
We all make mistakes and have regrets, but we also hope we can be forgiven. Don’t hold grudges against your spouse. Let grievances go. Apologize and forgive often.
Successful marriages require effort from both partners. By using these five suggestions, you’ll be well on your way to divorce-proofing your marriage. Remember that marriages don’t last by accident; it requires maintenance and both spouses working together.