If you’re married, chances are you want to stay that way. As a married couple, you need to do things to keep your relationship alive. It is very important that you don’t take each other for granted, and continue to appreciate each other. Too often, when couples have been married for a long period of time, they take each other’s presence and needs for granted. You made a vow to love each other and to form a permanent bond. In order to keep that vow you must take the initiative and keep working to keep your relationship fresh. There’s more to being married than merely staying together because getting a divorce is too inconvenient, isn’t there?
One thing happily married couples do, is they commit to giving each other pleasure, and to making the effort to avoid causing each other pain. This sounds simple—and it is—but simple isn’t necessarily easy. After all, many people believe in the Ten Commandments, but most of those people have broken one or more of those Ten Commandments. Giving each other pleasure and avoiding causing each other pain, as simple as it is, isn’t all that easy in practice.
A helpful exercise is to pick a day, and try to be conscious of your spouse and his or her needs, preferences, wants and vulnerabilities with everything you say or do. To keep track of how it’s going, make two lists. The first list should be all the things your spouse does to cause you pain. The second list, all the tings your spouse does that give you pleasure. Exchange lists with your spouse. Just because you know each other doesn’t mean you know what to do. Armed with this list, then you can each take that one day, and be conscious of each other in everything you say and do.
Another thing you can do is create rituals and routines that are mutually satisfying and reinforce your love and friendship. After all, friendship is a major component, quite possibly the major component, of marriage. Rituals reinforce these bonds; build good feeling and comfort between you. For example, consider your greeting and goodbye rituals. What do you do when you get home from work? Is your spouse home? If not, do you do anything to prepare for his or her arrival? You may want to rethink your hellos and goodbyes. By developing a ritual that reinforces your love and friendship, instead of just grunting hello and parking in front of the TV, you can add value to your relationship. Bear in mind that what you already do is probably something that could be considered a ritual. If it doesn’t communicate love and friendship, you might do well by both yourself and your spouse to change it.
Communication is essential to maintaining a healthy relationship. It is a good idea to set aside time to discuss any issues and feelings openly and honestly between you. You need to create an emotionally safe space to do this between you, so you can communicate openly and honestly.