Do you know when you’re sitting on the toilet and scrolling through your Instagram and see a video with an elderly couple talking about how they’ve been married for 50+ years? How somehow they’ve cracked “the code” to a long, healthy, and fulfilling marriage?
And you’re sitting there thinking, “how the f— did they do that?”
Those people are my heroes because while marriage is a beautiful experience, it is undoubtedly difficult to keep afloat sometimes. Some days, you have calm waters and a relaxing sea breeze, and others are filled with storms and waves ready to drown you.
There are simple strategies you can engage in helping maintain a healthy relationship. Here are some of our favorite small habits that will make a huge difference.
1. Set in Motion Your Emotion
I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Being emotionally connected to your partner is far more important than being physically connected to them (AKA sex). If you’re in it for the long-run, then establishing an emotionally connect is very, very important. According to Marriage, creating this bond will not only strengthen your communication skills, but will also help build respect, better sex, and a sense of security.
How to build that connection?
Just don’t keep any feelings from your partner. If there are any problems, never shoo them to the side. Always talk about how you feel and get it out in the open. Don’t let the work-life dominate your relationship; always have one day of the week dedicated to your partner. Just because you’re married doesn’t mean you can’t get out there and have fun.
2. A T-Rex was Once an Egg
This was my grandpapa’s way of saying, “the little things matter, you dipshit.”
I can’t speak for all women, but when my husband sends me a hearty text with a bunch of kissing emojis, I smile like a bumbling buffoon. We’ve only been married for three years, but it still gets to me. His job requires a ton of physical labor so the fact that he found the time to shoot me a message just reminds me of why I married this guy in the first place.
It doesn’t have to be a text. It could be buying them lunch, surprising them at work, sending them flowers, cooking them dinner, and leaving post-it notes with flirty messages all over the house.
The little things keep the sparks flying, trust me.
3. Communicate EVERYTHING
By everything, I do mean the good, the bad, and the ugly. As a married couple, we always want the best for each other, and whenever something grand happens, we tell each other right away.
But what about those difficult conversations that we would rather not talk about? It could be stress, body weight, anxiety, car troubles, and even a pile of unpaid bills. The conversations that are a must have are usually the ones we don’t want to discuss at all.
If you’re having trouble starting a difficult conversation with your partner, Very Well Mind has a wonderful article full of incredible advice and helpful tips.
4. Knowing When You’re in the Wrong
Me: “I would like to buy a Y.”
Pat: “There are three Y’s.”
Me: Is it “I’m Sorry You Feel That Way”?
Your relationship is not perfect.
Fights will happen where you will argue and cry and yell. When you are the one at fault in an argument, don’t apologize in a way that makes your partner feel that their emotions are irrelevant (refer to quote above). Please don’t be that dumb.
You always want to be empathic when apologizing. You need to recognize that you’re in the wrong and let your partner know that you will change your behavior and fix your mistakes. Unsolved arguments lead to more complications and buried emotions. That’s uncharted territory, and we do not want to go there.
Dedicating Time for Each Other
I know it doesn’t need to be said and you should be dedicating time for your partner every day. Unfortunately, life gets in the way, and sometimes, we’re too busy even to call to say ‘hello.’
Planning to see a movie, going for a stroll in the park, visiting some close friends, and even cuddling are great ways to show your partner you’re there and you care.