Looking to increase your marital satisfaction but unsure of where to start? Follow these 5 tips to start seeing improvements!
1. Decide to “Do & Be Better”
Everything we want in life begins with a decision to achieve a goal or go after something we want. The same is true when enhancing your relationship. It begins with a decision to let go of some of your past behaviors, thoughts, and attitudes if you want a thriving marriage.
For some couples, sitting down and having an honest conversation about what is or isn’t working helps get the ball rolling. Sometimes it involves working with a marriage counselor to understand where some of the dissatisfaction comes from in the relationship.
Once you’ve decided to work on your relationship, remind yourself that it is a daily commitment to make your marriage the way you want it. This means making time for your relationship. That leads us right into my next tip.
2. Make a Schedule
You wouldn’t forget to feed your children, walk your dog, or go to work every Monday, so why treat something as important as your relationship any differently?
Relationships work best when each individual takes time every day to check in, connect, and communicate with one another. I am not just talking about the “Business of the Day” talk you and your partner engage in.
Try something a little deeper, like showing appreciation for something or inquiring about your partner’s hopes and dreams for the week. Plan out when you’ll take time to connect with one another and hold yourself accountable each week. Time with your spouse as important as going to work.
3. Seek first to understand, then to be understood
This one is huge! You and your partner might almost have to re-learn how to speak to one another, in fact, it is usually a must in most relationships. I can’t tell you the countless times couples come to my office with the same type of conflict pattern. The reason is they simply don’t know how to do anything different.
Dr Gottman considers the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” of communication, “Criticism, Defensiveness, Contempt, and Stonewalling”. If these 4 horsemen are stampeding through your relationship it can lead to major dissatisfaction. Remember communication is 55% non-verbal, 38% tone and inflexion and only 7% words. Remember when your mom would say, “it’s not what you say. It’s how you say it.” She again was right.
A great way to begin communicating in a fresh and new way with your partner is learning about these 4 Horsemen and The Gottman Method or finding a marriage counselor who specializes in this method in your area.
4. Stop “Keeping Up With the Joneses”
You can never know what your neighbors, friends, or even family members are going through behind closed doors. This is especially true for social media. Social media is a highlight reel for people and infrequently shows what’s really going on. Don’t waste time comparing your relationship to others on your Facebook or Instagram feed or you’ll find yourself wholly disappointed with your relationship.
I have personally known friends to be in a fight bashing their spouse and then on Facebook sharing that they are the love of their life and saying all these positive things about their relationship.
5. Give Thanks
Showing appreciation is the number one way you can instantly improve your marriage and increase your satisfaction in your relationship. When you begin to focus your attention on the things you’re thankful for in your spouse or partner, you’ll find that those things begin to magnify.
Here’s to you improving your marital satisfaction and don’t hesitate to reach out to a couples counselor in your area. It can do wonders for your relationship!
Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
More by Katie Lemieux