Love is a feeling which one could fall into very quickly. In fact, researchers have found that falling in love only takes about a fifth of a second. However, feelings are fleeting, and one could fall out of love just as quickly. Staying in love or growing deeper in love, on the other hand, is a decision which takes effort.
How can couples navigate the highs and lows of marriage and emerge stronger and more in love than before? Here are five tips from TOUCH Marriage Support to give you a boost as you work towards your happily ever after.
FOCUS ON THE GOOD
Relationships take a downturn when we get caught up in the bad and lose sight of the good. Remember that the grass isn’t greener on the other side but on the side which you choose to focus on and nurture.
Likewise, choose to be attracted to your spouse by focusing on features of theirs which you love. It could be their beautiful eyes, fit physique or even the brilliant way they parent your child. Focus on their strengths and try to see past minor annoyances. What was it about your spouse which made you fall in love with them in the first place? Remember that!
BE KIND TO ONE ANOTHER
No one is perfect, and it is important to be respectful and understanding of your spouse. Avoid attacking your spouse’s character when you are upset. For example, don’t say, “You are plain lazy and inconsiderate! You always wake up so late.” Instead, try saying something like, “I find it a struggle to fix breakfast for the family while managing our baby in the morning. I’d really appreciate if you could wake a little earlier to help me out.”
FIGHT WITH LOVE
It is normal for couples to argue due to disagreements over issues in their daily lives. Disagreements are inevitable. The good news is that they can be managed with honesty, love and respect. If handled properly, disagreements or conflicts can even strengthen a relationship as they present opportunities for you and your spouse to communicate each other’s needs or motives and know each other’s real underlying concerns. A deeper level of understanding can be achieved when couples take the time to listen and hear each other out.
It is good for couples to remember that the key to communication is seeing things from the other person's perspective. You can try doing so through the following ways:
- Calm yourself down and put your own emotions aside.
- Try asking your spouse questions and seek to understand their point of view. Observe their body language, analyse the words they use, and try to understand how they are feeling.
- Develop empathy by putting yourself in your spouse’s shoes and move the discussion in an objective and loving way.
Ultimately, successfully resolving an argument lies not in agreement but rather, a mutual understanding of each other’s minds or perceptions – bearing in mind that we are all different in the first place and sometimes, it is better to “agree to disagree”.
DO THINGS TOGETHER & HAVE FUN
Spending time together, doing things together, laughing together, letting your hair down and having fun together are some things a couple should have in their relationship. You may even consider signing up as a couple to attend marriage enrichment workshops to pick up some life-skills to help grow your marriage.
APPRECIATE EACH OTHER
The loving bond between a couple dwindles when they start taking each other for granted. Love can easily turn into resentment and the relationship falls apart.
Because it is so easy to take someone for granted when you are with them every day, couples need to make a conscientious effort to express their appreciation for their spouse everyday. Verbally express your appreciation for your spouse at least once a day. For example, when your spouse wakes up earlier to fix you breakfast, tell them that you are grateful for their thoughtful and sweet gesture.
Interested to learn more about how you can enhance your marriage? Contact TOUCH Marriage Support at [email protected] or click here to find out more.
TOUCH Marriage Support aims to enrich marriages to build a strong foundation for families. Through a range of holistic programmes led by experienced marriage educators and counsellors, TOUCH Marriage Support prepares young couples for marriage, strengthens spousal relationships, guides couples through conflict resolution, and empowers couples to navigate and cope with the stressors and challenges which they may face in their marriage.