Do you remember the excitement of just getting married? It's hard to forget such a joyous time in your and your partner’s life. Marriage marks the day you and your spouse became a team. While the love is what brought you together, it’s work that keeps you and your spouse going strong. If everyday life is interfering in your marriage or you just want to build a strong foundation for your relationship, here are some areas to prioritize and work on.
Keep communication strong
Strong communication skills can keep your relationship going healthily. Healthy communication allows you to communicate your needs with your partner, discuss feelings, and repair situations.
Healthy communication between you and your partner helps build the foundation for a strong marriage. Communication is how you and your partner will connect, so if you’re struggling in this area, it could lead to marital issues. No matter how long you have known each other or even how well you think you know each other, you can’t read each other’s minds. This is why it is essential to communicate your needs with your partner and allow them the space to communicate their needs as well.
Communication will help you resolve marital disputes, so it's important to set aside time to have a discussion without distractions. Healthy communication means holding off until the anger has worn off, you’ve given the situation some thought, and you’re free of distractions from phones, emails, and even things like hunger or stress. Remember you both are on the same side and should communicate to ensure you both stay on the same page.
Spend alone time together
Life can get pretty busy sometimes. With all of life’s distractions, it can be hard to find the time to spend some alone time with just the two of you. However, it's essential to your marriage to spend quality time together. While this doesn’t always mean planning some huge expensive vacation, it does mean doing what you need to do to get in some quality time together at least once a week.
Quality time can look like watching a favorite show or movie together, grabbing dinner at your favorite restaurant, or even doing something silly like having a water balloon fight or working together on a lego project. Whatever it is, make sure it’s something both of you can enjoy doing and gives you a moment to enjoy each other.
Resolving conflict is another pillar of marriage and is essential to prevent issues from unresolved problems building up and turning into resentment. Remember, it's normal to argue or disagree with your partner occasionally, and usually isn’t indicative of an unhealthy marriage, but instead is quite healthy when you both work to resolve issues constructively.
Conflict resolution is a powerful skill in marriage and allows you both the space to establish boundaries, get to the root of the issue, compromise, and even learn more about each other. So work on your conflict resolution skills in order to help you and your partner build a strong marriage.
Learn to forgive
Along with resolving conflict, it’s equally important to learn how to forgive and learn how to apologize properly. You can’t expect your partner or yourself to always act perfectly. It's normal for everyday life to impact our mood, therefore our interactions. Sometimes you and your partner will unintentionally hurt each other, and that’s normal. But what isn’t normal is not addressing those issues, refraining from apologizing, and not learning how to forgive.
Forgiveness in your marriage allows you to get outside of a victim mindset and can show that you love your partner and can forgive them after receiving an apology and letting that issue go so that it doesn’t get brought up as firepower for future arguments and issues. Forgiveness is a powerful skill that can help bring peace to your life, and also your marriage. So let go of those grudges, talk about your issues with your partner and build the strong marriage you and your partner dreamed of when you first got engaged.
Work on your friendship
A happy marriage is built on a foundation of friendship and romance. Studies have shown that those who view their spouse as their best friend often have higher satisfaction levels with their marriage. If you haven’t looked at your spouse as a friend, don’t worry! There are things you can do to rekindle your friendship with your partner.
To build or maintain a friendship with your spouse, do something together that you both can have fun doing together and even get some laughter going! You have fun with your friends, so why not bring that same fun spirit into your marriage? Try out things your partner loves that may be new to you and vice versa. Or if you both share a common interest, consider doing that together. Or if you have no idea what you and your spouse can bond and laugh over, try out something new for both of you. Just remember to make time for you and your spouse, put the cellphones away, and get back to the friendship that brought you together.
Focus on Intimacy
Intimacy is another pillar of marriage that goes through fluctuations as your relationship goes on. At the beginning of your marriage, you and your spouse may have been all over each other and had a hard time leaving the bedroom. However, intimacy doesn’t just mean sex, and it's normal for your marriage to go through changes in your sex life. As life becomes busier and more distractions present themselves, your marriage may have lost intimacy over time.
If you and your partner feel like it's become harder to get in touch with your romantic side, start small. And if you or your partner are experiencing concerns when it comes to having sex, such as erectile dysfunction or low libido, make sure you’re an open listener to those issues and ensure they know that you both are in this together.
Even if you aren’t in a place in your marriage to have sex every day, there are other ways to foster togetherness and intimacy. This can look like creating a list of what fills your “love tank”, writing notes of gratitude to each other, reading a book together, participating in non-sexual touching, playing games together, and more. However you and your partner decide to bring intimacy into your relationship, what matters most is that you do it.
Keeping your marriage strong
The work doesn’t stop after you get married, and a successful marriage requires consistent work and cooperation between you and your partner. Through hard work and commitment, you and your spouse have the power to have a marriage that lasts the rest of your lives. With these tips in mind, consider what you and your partner can do to improve and maintain a strong marriage.
Megan Isola holds a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality and a minor in Business Marketing from Cal State University Chico. She enjoys going to concerts, trying new restaurants, and hanging out with friends.