We’ve all been there. We believe our relationship with our spouse (or partner) is going south. Yet we’re too busy to give it the time that it needs. We’ll get to it. We really will!
The problem is, we never seem to actually “get to it.”
And if we ever really do find the time to get to it, we’ve become so much like angry “roommates” that even talking about improvement leads to yet another argument. Ouch!
Here are the 5 best kept marriage relationship secrets to get your relationship game back where it needs to be.
(These examples are not gender specific. Please swap male/female where needed)
1- Self-Care for You
Since you can’t change your husband, you need to work on changing you. To do otherwise is like having a bee land on your hand and swatting at your husbands face to get rid of the hornet. You’ve solved nothing and likely got a nasty sting in the process. Change can feel as painful as a surprise bee sting. Take back your self-care life gradually by beginning TODAY. You deserve it!
2- Ditch the Past
Relationships that live in the past repeat the past. If you truly desire a better relationship, stop it! An example is when a wife believes in her heart that “…he will never understand me.” Or “he will never meet my need for ‘_______’ (fill in the blank).” This belief will only perpetuate itself with hurt feelings. A much better way to manage the past is live in the PRESENT. Tell him what you need. Expect him to step up to the relationship plate by trusting that he will do it. Risk and actually ASK him. It really works!
3- Be the Boundary King (or Queen)!
Many relationships fail because of horrible boundaries. Being willing to stay late at work only exacerbates your relationship disarray. Being the friend that will drop ALL at a moments notice seems awesome. It appears so loyal. It seems sooooo right in the moment. But! It feels awful to your wife. She will feel incredibly neglected. Tossed out like emotional garbage. To not set good boundaries is like a staunch Republican voting Democrat just because his neighbor said to do so. What!? We need to become so solid in our boundaries that our wife absolutely knows we have her relationship “back” completely. That she always comes first in your busy life.
4- Get Out and Play
Couples that “play together stay together” may sound trite. A bit too clichéd’. Besides, who has time to actually DATE their husband? Take actual time for the relationship? Don’t you know that we have kids! The sad part is that we will find time to spend with our kids. They’re so important. We will find time to do our community or church responsibilities. We couldn’t let those fail. People are depending on us. Ouch! Your husband must come first. You need to be exceptionally loyal here. And be available with your time.
5- Get Your Spiritual Game On
Not taking care of your spiritual self can be very damaging to your relationship. It’s not necessarily about church, but it can be. It doesn’t have to be about God, but it certainly is to many. Nurturing your spiritual self includes knowing who you truly are on the INSIDE. Actually learning to trust your heart. It’s staying true to what you believe. It’s also your willingness to consider that there’s something greater in your life that can help and support you. Getting away from who you truly are will leave you feeling lost in your marriage. Don’t do it!
Where to Go from Here?
True relationship self-care means that you have begun the journey of taking care of YOU. While many of the 30 items listed below can be done individually, doing them with your wife will only warm her relationship heart toward you. There are literally hundreds of ideas. Check these out for starters!
– Playing an instrument
– Hiking (Wasatch!)
– Dark Chocolate (yes!)
– Sports (go Jazz!)
– Dining out
– Visiting friends
– Fly Fishing
– Dating your spouse
– Weight Lifting
– Social Media
– Skyping a friend
– Kissing (often!)
– Making Love w/spouse
– Splashing in a puddle
– You choose!!!
Make sure and do things with your husband that you will actually want to do. It doesn’t mean that you can’t go the Jazz game if you’re not a basketball fan. What is means is that you’re not doing the same things over and over again. Think outside the box here. You will feel closer when you do.
Are You a Bore?
Being boring or too predictable is awful. If you’ve been a dinner and a movie couple for your entire relationship, switch it up. Perhaps it’s time to hit the hiking trail in the beautiful Wasatch Mountains rather than a movie? Go hiking by a roaring mountain stream. Dinner at Denny’s can be switched to steaks on the grill after the kids are in bed. It’s really up to you!
Get To It Often!
The fact that you’ve read this blog leads me to believe you’re aching for change. Even if your ache is more like a twinge, don’t let your marriage slip into monotony. Please pick 5 of my 30 items listed above. Then, plan on doing each item within the next 30 days for sure. Your most important item is to begin to create your own list. These can be absolutely awesome ideas that will lead to a closer, more affectionate couple relationship. GET TO IT!
Michael Boman, LCSW is a relationship, marriage and healing outdoors expert working as a clinical therapist at Wasatch Family Therapy in Salt Lake City, Utah.
To schedule a session appointment with Michael, click here: http://www.wasatchfamilytherapy.com/archives/doctor/michael-boman-lcsw