If we think about it, most of us know some basic behaviors we need to do to improve our marriages. The bookstores are filled with books, the talk shows are filled with experts, and the news is filled with research on marriage and divorce. Still, many marriages are hurting and wilting away.
This blog is intended to provide a variety of ideas, techniques, and research that may improve our intimate relationships, provide some insight into ways a marriage can become healthy, and at least open some discussion and conversation.
While of course every relationship is different and partnerships can have all sorts of weaknesses, I thought I would share my top ten list of tips that are good basic ideas for all marriages.
Here are my top ten tips for a healthy and vibrant marriage.
1. Bring your best self to your marriage. When we first met our beloved we were are most fabulous self. When we meet our new boss or a dignitary we tend to want to present our best self. So why not bring your best self to the most important of all relationships? This doesn't mean you are not authentic or put on a facade, it means you bring out the best in who you are with those you love.
2. Commit with your whole heart. If you have not decided to make your marriage work it probably will not. If on the other hand you have committed yourself to creating a beautiful life long relationship there is a great chance you will succeed.
3. Be 100% faithful, in mind and soul. There is nothing more damaging to a relationship than infidelity, dishonesty, and deception. The pain, distrust, and humiliation are hard to repair. Hold to your highest values of honor and decency.
4. Create beautiful memories and beautiful dreams together. Our brains are created in a way that links our emotions and behaviors. As we share lovely and exciting times, we develop bonds that go beyond the esoteric and ethereal. And, as we dream together we visualize the beautiful life that lies ahead, a future of happiness and love.
5. Support your beloveds goals, desires, and dreams. We all have hopes and wishes in life. Helping our partners achieve their goals and fulfill their desires is deeply satisfying for both partners. We could all use a cheerleader to help us on our journey, to give us that encouragement when life gets difficult, to be beside us when we feel we need an extra hand.
6. Share your life, your heart, your soul, and your body with your partner. The deeper the sharing, the greater the intimacy; the deeper the intimacy, the greater the bond. Whenever we share ourselves emotionally, sexually, or spiritually we add depth, strength, and intimacy to the relationship.
7. Nourish your relationship every day. Do not let a day go by without caring for your partner. Do all those niceities and pleasantries we know make life a little more enjoyable. Show your concern, share your appreciation, enjoy your partner's company. Find ways to make the relationship brighter and your partner happier.
8. Look for the good and see with soft eyes, the not so good in your spouse. Our partners are not perfect. We all have our idiosyncrasies, quirks, and things to improve. And, we all have some good character traits, personality and beautiful gifts. Whatever we focus on will grow and brighten in our minds so make sure you see the beauty boldly in your beloved.
9. Communicate effectively. Share, discuss, listen, and address concerns, worries, and challenges. Don't assume your partner knows what you want, what you need, what you think, or how you feel. Express and demonstrate your love. Listen, really listen to your partner. We can't read each other's minds so it is essential to communication effectively.
10. Love your spouse with everything you are. Love is not something that mysteriously shows up somehow; it is something that you bring forth from inside of yourself. Love is not an emotion that magically comes from outside somewhere but it emerges as you become loving. Love is created in your heart and soul and mind. It is from you to share and give. You are the creator of your love.
Notice that this list is a compilation of tips for each person to bring to the relationship. There is nothing about changing your spouse, altering his or her behavior, or manipulating another. It is meant to be a list for every individual to use to do their part in making the relationship fabulous and fulfilling.
While this list is certainly not an exhaustive list of everything a couple can do, nor is it meant to be the perfect recipe for every relationship, if couples embrace these ten ideals their marriage will most likely be successful, fulfilling, and deeply satisfying.
Feel free to add to this list if you have other ideas that made it to your top ten list!