Continued from last week
- Give your spouse’s opinion serious consideration as you work together to discover solutions to your problems.
- Don’t wallow in self-pity. No problem has ever been solved by feeling sorry for yourself or your situation. Successful couples grab “the bull by the horns” and work for solutions. Making a family work is clearly difficult even in the best of times and even more challenging when you have many stressors to deal with. Some steps you can take:
- Sit down with your spouse to figure out possible solutions to your problem and determine a plan that both of you can support.
- Celebrate your successes as you accomplish each step of the plan. Feeling like you are moving in a positive direction helps eliminate self-pity.
- Make an effort to keep the flame of your love affair alive everyday. What type of priority do you place on making time for fun and romance with each other in your hectic lives? Doing so can help you overcome the challenges by reminding you of why you fell in love in the first place. Some steps you can take:
- Make a point of touching your spouse in a loving way at least ten times a day.
- Carve out time to have a romantic date with each other: bring home flowers, get a hotel room, go for a long walk together, drink a bottle of wine watching the sunset, write a love note or even just snuggle in bed a little longer in the morning.
- Plan a vacation (or even just a stay-cation). Nothing helps people reconnect better than a little time away from the daily grind.
- Allow each other occasional time for privacy and aloneness. One of the keys to a successful marriage is when both partners allow each other to have privacy and aloneness. We live such hectic lives at work and at home that the time to be alone with our own thoughts is paramount to our ability to engage in any meaningful communication with each other. The quality of communication can only be enhanced between the two of you after refreshing your mind and spirit with alone time. You have to belong to yourself before you can belong to others. Some steps you can take:
- The amount of time available to satisfy these two needs varies from one marriage to another and from one marriage partner to another, and can increase during times of stress. Talk with your spouse about each of your needs and desires for privacy and alone time.
- Work together to determine a plan that you both will honor to allow each other occasional time for privacy and aloneness.
- Remember that the simple things matter in marriage and they need to be practiced daily. Thirty-two years of research on love and successful marriage has taught us many things, but first and foremost that no love has blossomed or been sustained without doing the simple things. Big things don’t matter until your relationship has mastered the art of doing the simple things day in and day out. Too often when we are engaged in stressful life situations, we forget to just do the simple things for the one we love the most. Some steps you can take:
- Make a list of 20 simple things you will do to make your spouse’s life better. Examples include remembering to say thank you, calling when you are going to be late or leaving a sticky love note on your lover’s wallet or purse.
- Be more generous with your time for each other.
- Engage in simple acts of kindness and spontaneous feel-good moments.
- Develop a network of support from family, friends and relatives. You and your spouse do not have to deal with the stress all by yourself.
Don’t be deluded into thinking you can or even should do it alone. Your friends and family want to support you through thick and thin. Take full advantage of their willingness to help.
- Cultivate good relationships with your family, friends and relatives. They can be your best supporters in times of need.
- Don’t be shy about asking for help from your family, aunts, uncles or neighbors.
- Stay healthy and happy, both physically and mentally. It is nearly impossible to take care of others when you don’t take of yourself. Some steps you can take:
- Live healthier: take your vitamins and medications, eat lots of fruits and vegetables, cut down the use of alcohol and nicotine.
- Engage in a daily exercise program with your spouse.
- Don’t forget your annual physical exams.
Dealing with the many stressors in your marriage and in life can be a real challenge. Dealing with them effectively could not only save your marriage, but also save your life.
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