Wednesday, May 15, 2013

6 Things You Can Do To Keep Your Marriage Fresh

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Most romantic relationships experience up and downs, and in some marriages it gets stuck in the downers. Before you guys got married, you fell in love with your spouse. You anticipated their call, wanted their touch, and liked their idiosyncrasies. Falling in love with your spouse wasn't hard. In fact, it was a completely spontaneous experience. However, after a few years of marriage, the euphoria begins to fade. Phone calls become a bother, touch is not always welcome, and your spouse's idiosyncrasies, drive you nuts.

Mort Fertel, who I have referenced HERE, says that "At this point, you and/or your spouse might start asking, "Did I marry the right person?" And as you and your spouse reflect on the euphoria of the love you once had, you may begin to desire that experience with someone else. This is when marriages break down. People blame their spouse for their unhappiness and look outside their relationship for fulfillment.

Extramarital fulfillment comes in all shapes and sizes. Infidelity is the most obvious. But sometimes people turn to work, church, a hobby, a friendship, excessive TV, or abusive substances. But the answer to this dilemma does NOT lie outside your marriage. It lies within it."

I agree with him that the solution to a flat marriage lies within it rather than outside. As long as there are no abusive issues love is a decision you can refresh, especially after those first euphoric days or years are past. In marriage and other long term relationships, you have to "make" love every day. It takes time, effort, and most importantly, wisdom. These are some things I came up with that can help keep marriage fresh.

1. Improve yourselves, as individuals and as a couple. Learn new hobbies, apart and together. Schedule date nights and stick to it. Spend quality time on your own and grow and mature as a person. The same goes for being a stronger more stable relationship with your partner.

2. Write to each other. This can include little love notes, emails, post-it, text messages, chat, etc. In each communication byte, tell your partner that you love him or her. If possible state how much you do, and you can also list all the different things that attracted you to them in the first place, and that keeps you going. These love bytes are what will remind you of the heady early days, and continue to refresh your relationship.

3. Communicate face to face on the hard stuff, the things you don't like. OK, you can also take the easy route of starting the conversation via written means. But whatever, and however you want to do it, do not bottle grudges up or save them for another day. Probably not immediately when you're angry, but soon when you've calmed down but the incident or attitude that grouched you up is still clear in both your minds.

4. Show your love. Yes, I mean PDA aka public displays of affection. And yes, the public in there can refer to just you and your spouse. Build up your intimacy by making out more often. If you're home, it may lead to sex or it may not. If you're out, hold hands and entwine your fingers and put your arms around each other's waist or shoulder. Touch each other, stoke the fire of your physical attraction, and see if you won't bring the sexy back!

5. Talk to a trusted person or couple, preferably a trained counselor or therapist. Some Nigerians think this is going too far but I chose to compare psychologists to doctors. If one has a lump in the breast, you go to your oncologist, if your mind has a bump that refuses to go away, you go to a psychologist. These people are trained for a purpose, use them as a resource. If you still don't want to go there, go to a pastor, older relative, etc. I will highly suggest you be very careful in how and who you chose.

6. Learn the art of forgiveness. It is said that to err is human and to forgive is divine. It is the mark of a humble mind to forgive, and more than that to let go. It might not be easy, but it is doable. Cut your partner some slack, cut yourself some slack while you're at it and you'll find that life is sometimes not as serious as we hold it to be.

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