Besides parenting, marriage is probably one of the toughest challenges you’ve ever encountered, and that’s saying a lot.
Maybe you’ve climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, run a marathon or sailed the world, but when it comes to keeping your wife happy, you may feel like you have hit a solid brick wall. Know that you are not alone – many have shared your frustration and even desperation.
Also, the good news is that there is a way or rather many ways to improve a marriage, and to glide right through that brick wall, which may turn out to be a mirage.
This article is aimed at providing great relationship ideas and highlighting some of the issues and areas of marriage where men are often oblivious to the way a woman thinks and what makes her happy.
Sometimes a tiny shift can make a huge difference, and leave you wondering why you waited so long or why you never realized this before, which makes you wonder how to make your relationship strong.
Firstly, well done for reading an article on strengthening marriages, because it shows you are looking for some help, and those who seek will find.
And secondly, in case you start feeling that this is a bit unfair – what about the woman’s part? – Yes, you are right, women need to bring their side just as much as men, but for now, we are aiming specifically at the things that men can do to improve their marriage.
So, here are a few critical tips for a healthy marriage. These relationship tips for men are healthy marriage tips that can be used as an anchor to save their sinking relationship.
1. Know that you can lose her
This relationship advice for men is critical; that’s why it is first.
Some men are living under the illusion that once they signed the marriage papers, it was a done deal, and they could sit back, relax, and treat their wife any old way. Big mistake!
Like anything else worthwhile in life, marriage requires consistent effort, attention, perseverance, and determination to get the best result.
It is essential for you to remember that you need to walk an extra mile for building intimate marriages and to build a stronger relationship.
You would not dream of signing up for a doctorate and then not putting in the work to make it happen. Or you would not take the trouble of planting a vegetable garden and then not bother to take care of it – watering, weeding, and fertilizing it.
2. Create a new normal
Another easy and fatal illusion to fall under is that ‘my way is the normal/right way.’ And incidentally, your wife may very well be thinking that her way is the right and normal one.
What often happens is that one of you defers to the other, and then that person’s preferences, culture, or upbringing becomes the norm for their marriage. This is quite dangerous and can lead to a codependent relationship.
However, if you are aware of this, you can actively seek to create a new normal for both of you, where you discuss and talk through issues carefully, for improving your marriage.
This way, you can find a win-win middle ground, rather than taking the wrong/right, my way or the highway approach.
3. Learn to show empathy
Empathy means being able to recognize and share someone else’s feelings. It is an essential part of any healthy relationship and can help keep a marriage strong.
A big part of showing compassion is to listen and validate whatever your wife is going through.
If she has had a stressful and demanding day, the best thing you can say is, “Tell me all about it.” Then you sit down, hold her hand, look into her eyes while she is talking, and listen carefully.
When she expresses some pain or tells you that this or that was particularly frustrating, you can say something like, “That must have been difficult” or “I’m sorry you had such a hard day.”
If you wish to improve your relationship, remember that this is not the time to tell her why she should not have felt that way or to suggest how she could have handled the situation differently.
4. Learn to make pleasant conversation
So after you have to listen so well to her, now she will no doubt want to listen to you. Maybe you don’t feel much like talking by the time you get home after a hard day at work, but this is important for your wife.
If you don’t want to tell her about your day, she feels excluded and shut out. The fallacy of the “strong, silent type” is another illusion that has wreaked havoc in many a marriage.
So, if you are wondering ‘how to strengthen a relationship’ or ‘how to improve marriage’, just take some time-out and loosen up.
Maybe you need some time to unwind at the gym or put your feet up for a while. Find what works best and then be open to make pleasant conversation with your wife.
5. Be a great lover
You most certainly didn’t get married so that you could be roommates!
So work on having the best possible sex life because it will improve your marriage and strengthen marital relations at every level.
Having said that, it’s a bit of a chicken and egg situation – which comes first?
For many women, good times in bed come after lots of good connections throughout the day – affection and closeness, making her feel wanted and needed all the time, not just when the lights are out. Find out if that’s the case with your partner, learn what makes your wife happy, and understand her needs for strengthening your marriage.
6. Know the value of the little things
One of the best ways to improve your marriage is to understand the value of little things that you do for each other.
It’s easy to let the little things slip – like saying please and thank you, or holding the door open for her, or sending her a little ‘how are you’ message during the day.
Maybe you think it’s not going to make much difference, and you’re too busy with ‘more important’ things than ruminating over ‘how to improve your relationship and how to make marriage better’ or ‘ how to have a healthy marriage’.
But, in the long run, you may be surprised to realize how all these little things add up for strengthening marital relationships, like each little flower or plant in your garden, and the more you lose, the less attractive your garden will be.
7. Step up in stressful times
Your wife may not always ask for help, but if you are alert, you can see when she is taking the strain.
Maybe it’s a sigh here and there or an unusual quietness which will tell you she’s tired or stressed. Then you can step up and help with the housework, or run a nice bubble bath for her, and make her a cup of tea or coffee.
This kind of loving attention is sure to gain you untold dividends.
Your wife will feel that she has your support and that she does not have to carry the heavy load of housework alone. Helping in practical and thoughtful ways is one of the best means to improve your marriage.
8. Grow together
Finally, remember that change is inevitable.
As you both begin to age and mature, so will your love and your marriage. You are not the same person you were two years ago, and nor is your wife.
One of the best ways to improve a relationship is to make sure you stay on the same page.
So, keep in step with each other so that you can gracefully and joyfully grow together.