Marriage Maintenance—The Personal Side
Nothing worth having comes easy. A close friend of mine says this often and I have come to believe it. In the same respect, I have come to learn that just because something isn’t “easy” does not have to mean it is always “terrible/hard work.”
Working on a marriage or long-term relationships does require “work”, but that doesn’t have to mean it always feels like work. One example of this is a regular date night. Going on a date does not feel like work, but it does wonders in helping you feel connected, heard and close to the one you love. Along with regular time together, here are some things I personally subscribe to to keep a long-term relationship strong and thriving:
- Regular dates/time together: I already mentioned this one, but I would say along with regular dates try to also plan a trip together at least once a year—without children if you have them. Even if it is for a couple of days or just a staycation make time for the two of you.
- Regular “meetings”: So this is less formal than a date. A “meeting” could be a walk in the neighborhood or 15 minutes you spend on the sofa every Sunday afternoon talking. During this “meeting” you should check in with each other about how things are going and try to ask purposeful questions (see number 3 below).
- Regular questions: During your dates or meetings consider asking questions such as: “What am I doing well for you?”, “What can I do better for you?”, and “What are your personal needs/concerns this week?”
Along with practicing the recommendations listed above, I think it is important to realize that marriage has seasons. There will be easy seasons and there will be difficult ones. During the difficult times it is wonderful to look back and be able to remember the easier times—memories you created by spending regular time together and building one another up. And, when life becomes challenging as it does at some time or another for all of us, it is most important to keep the practices listed above going so that you continue to stay connected. If you can do this, you will grow closer and stronger during life’s hard seasons because you continue to listen to and “lean into” one another.
Relationships are work, but they are the most rewarding experience we have on earth—in my humble opinion. What is better than feeling loved, connected to and understood by those we cherish most? Whether you are in a relationship that is flourishing and you want to learn how to keep that going or you and your partner are facing stressors and struggling to communicate effectively, a licensed, Orlando mental health clinician can help you. Please call Life Enhancement Counseling Services today at 407-443-8862 to schedule an appointment.