Getting married is one of the highlights of anyone’s life. It is the ultimate symbol of love; a bond between two people that promises commitment, trust and permanency of their relationship.
It is the joining of two people ‘until death do us part’.
Well, not for an increasing number of people worldwide, it seems. You see, divorce rates are on the up. Europe seems to have the unhappiest couples; Belarus claiming top spot with a 68% divorce rate per capita. But this trend is affecting Asia too. In China alone, there are an average of 4600 divorce cases filed every day!
So what’s happening? Well, the answer’s probably nothing new. Things happen. People change. Guys and gals have been falling in and out of love for millennia. That’s life. The difference now is that divorce has become so much easier. In the past, couples had to work at their relationships. They took the rough with the smooth and saw things through. But they don’t need to anymore. A quick search on Google and you’ll find yourself inundated with ‘divorcefor99dollars’ type sites.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. There are millions of married couples out there right now – you included, perhaps – who continue to enjoy a healthy, strong relationship with their partner years after their wedding day.
So what’s their secret? Here are five timeless tips to keep your marriage fresh and healthy.
1 Treat your marriage as a journey
Not all journeys are smooth. The beginnings are usually exciting and fast-paced, but there inevitably comes a time when you’re sat waiting in an airport departure lounge, losing the will to live. But just because you are bored, seemingly stuck in a room full of crying children, it doesn’t mean you’re not going anywhere. Have patience. Soon you’ll be flying high again on your way to a new destination.
As marriage preparation developer, Marlene Pearson, says: “It’s like the stock market; you can’t pull your money out as soon as it dips.”**
Be committed to one another. Invest in time and effort and you’ll be rewarded in the long run.
2 Play hide and seek
Well, OK, it doesn’t have to be hide and seek, but you do need to try new things and to have fun. It creates new memories, pushing aside that feeling of monotony that can sometimes creep in to a relationship. The novelty may make you feel like your relationship is more exciting. Trying new things with your partner can help alleviate boredom, make you feel closer, happier, and more content with life in general.
Here are some ideas to keep things fresh:
- Go places – A weekend away? Wonderful if you can afford it. But for those on a tighter budget, a simple walk at different times of the year can be just as effective. How about an afternoon car ride to somewhere you’ve always wanted to see but just never had the time? Or a meal in that fancy restaurant?
- Push the boundaries – Shared new experiences can do wonders for a relationship. Never considered canoeing together? Do it! Never fancied opera, a musical or play? Why not try it out? Night cycle, tree top walk, and take up new hobbies – you’ll be skydiving out of aeroplanes together in no time!
- Have sex – Yup. A healthy sex life is essential when maintaining a secure level of intimacy between partners. It must be consensual of course, and it’s important for each partner to listen and be respectful to the other’s needs, but sex is frankly good for a marriage.
- Laugh more – that’s with your partner, not at them!
3 Be kind and empathetic
The foundation of any successful relationship is mutual respect, and it’s vital that that never fades. Sometimes we get used to ‘assuming’ our partner knows we’re grateful or thankful for something, but it’s important to acknowledge their efforts – as they should do for yours.
Here are some simple ways to maintain a healthy atmosphere of mutual respect and happiness.
- ‘Pleases’ and ‘thank yous’ go a long way – It’s amazing how little words like these can have such sizeable effects. Never stop saying them. They’re like magic.
- Celebrate your partner’s triumphs – OK, so winning the office doughnut dunking challenge doesn’t seem like much of an achievement to you, but if your partner’s smile is as wide as the South China Sea, smile with them. And when you say “Well done, darling,” remember to say it like you mean it!
- Diamonds aren’t the only precious rocks – Getting your partner gifts from time to time is a really good way to cement your relationship and send out the signal that you still care. But don’t forget that the biggest gift you can give them is your love, especially if they are going through a stressful time for whatever reason. Diamonds are great, but the precious rock they really need is you. Be there for them.
- Say ‘sorry’ – If you thought saying your ‘pleases’ and ‘thank yous’ worked wonders, try saying ‘sorry’. It’s a great pacifier if you’re having a disagreement – even if you think you’re right!
4 Talk to each other
Good communication is key to a good marriage. Make time to listen to your partner – and not just to the words they say. Often the way they say it carries just as much significance – and beware the sound of a slammed cupboard door; actions sometimes speak louder than words!
Here are some tips to promote good communication between couples.
- Make time for each other – Date night, walking the dog, a lazy Sunday afternoon playing Scrabble; whatever floats your boat, setting aside quality time where you can both chat and discuss how your day has gone, or concerns you may have, is vital for any healthy relationship.
- Share common dreams – Having a goal you both look forward to, whether it’s a holiday at the end of the month, or that house you both dream of owning in ten years’ time, can help a couple connect, and boost that feeling of togetherness.
- Three’s a crowd – And by ‘three’, we mean your phone. Non-stop notifications to check the number of ‘likes’ the photo of your meal is getting on Instagram probably won’t go down very well with your partner. Be brave. TURN IT OFF SOMETIMES. Especially at partner-sensitive occasions, like mealtimes and bedtimes!
5 Trust in them and they will trust in you
If your partner phones to say they’re going for a few after-work drinks with colleagues from the office, tell them to enjoy themselves! Jealousy is a dangerous bedfellow and can have a devastating effect on a marriage. You can always agree on boundaries, like a time to be back, or an agreed number of drinks they have, but remember; the more you trust in your partner, the more they will trust in you – which in turn builds a stronger relationship.
Most of these tips to keep your marriage fresh and healthy are down to common sense, and should be accessible to anyone. But don’t be frightened to seek professional help if you feel your marriage isn’t working as well as you would like. Too many couples ignore the tell-tale signs of a breakdown in a relationship and don’t do anything about it. The increasing trend of worldwide divorces proves that.
Your marriage is a blessing. Enjoy your time with your best friend – but remember it takes effort too!