Walking down the aisle is never the final step in keeping your marriage healthy and together. Keeping the knot tied and tight is more than a full-time job.
No one gets married with the plan to divorce (let’s hope not, at least), and yet according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the divorce rate in any given year is about 50 percent of the marriage rate for the same year.
So how do you keep your sweetheart forever? How can you steer clear of becoming a divorce statistic? Everyone wants to find and keep that special love, but it isn’t easy. While every marriage and situation are different, the following are some ideas to consider to help keep your marriage healthy.
1. Show an active interest in your spouse’s schedule and activities
Showing an interest in what your spouse does could be as simple as asking how the day went or following up on issues that are dealt with at work. This reminds your spouse that you not only care, but you are also paying attention to what is said.
If you want to go the extra mile, consider ways to make positive contributions to your spouse’s day. Some ideas might be:
Make breakfast for your spouse so that he or she does not have to take the time in the morning before work.
Mark important dates on your calendar. This will not only help your spouse to have an organized schedule, but it will send the message that you consider his or her activities or events important.
Always give your spouse a kiss goodbye before he or she leaves for work and then again when he or she comes home.
Be aware of times when you may need to watch the children so your spouse can attend a meeting or activity.
If there is an event that your spouse is participating in, you might be able to go and support him or her with your presence.
Celebrate the good things in life. If you or your spouse get a raise at work, if one of you is offered a good opportunity or if you succeed in something, celebrate it. Make time to be supportive of what is going on in your life together.
2. Increase communication with your spouse
There are so many different ways to contact your spouse that boosting your amount of communication with him or her is easy.
Call, text or email at least once throughout the day to just check-in and say hello. Some couples chat, . message or even Skype with each other.
For a special treat, send your spouse a hand-written note to brighten up his or her day. Slip it into his or her lunch bag, tape it to the steering wheel before he or she leaves for work, send it with a bouquet of flowers or leave it on the kitchen counter.
Reciprocate your spouse’s contact. Don’t let his or her attempts be forgotten or go unnoticed. Give emails from your spouse top priority. Respond to notes and calls and texts.
3. Increase the quality of your physical affection
Physical affection is a vital part of every marriage. It gives couples another opportunity to show their love for each other. Whatever level of intimacy you are experiencing with your partner, be it holding hands, kissing, or intimacy in the bedroom, pay attention to the meaning behind your actions.
Keeping a heartfelt respect, love and caring attitude in your physical affection could strengthen your marriage. Not only respect for your partner, but respect for yourself as well.
4. Have a scheduled date night
Before they walk down the aisle, couples put all of their efforts into dating and getting to know each other. Marriage, life and children come along and scheduling time as a couple becomes increasingly harder. Being in the habit of dating and having a scheduled date night can help you commit to taking the time needed to connect and grow closer.
Whether it’s every third Friday, every other Tuesday, the 10th and 25th of each month, or whatever you choose, spend that special time together. Take the opportunity to reconnect, talk about life and each other and enjoy each other’s company.
Some easy, inexpensive ideas for date night are:
A picnic at the park
Star-gazing in the backyard after the children’s bedtime
Social sports such as miniature golf or bowling
Taking a trip down memory lane. Go back to where you met, places you went, and where you were married.
5. Keep a clean and organized home
Clutter, mess and unorganized areas of your home can bring you and your family stress. These simple things can cut the clutter (and stress):
Be honest with yourself about what you need to keep and what you need to get rid of. If it isn’t being used or if it’s damaged you may want to consider donating it or throwing it away.
Invest in tools to help you organize your messes. Shelves, bins and dividers can all be helpful. These can be fun DIY projects too!
Keep up on your cleaning and organization. Just a few minutes here and there can help you save hours of cleaning down the road.
Make sure that everyone participates in cleaning. Not only does helping in the home teach a good work ethic, but the work will also get done faster.
“Have a spirit of acceptance. Men and women are different because they’re supposed to be! The last thing you’d want is to roll over in the morning and wake up looking at yourself.” – said Dr. Phil.
Because no two people are exactly alike or even close to it, there shouldn’t be any surprise that you and your spouse will have to deal with differences in your marriage. Keep in mind the old adage “give and take.”
Little steps like creating a family calendar, showing love and care for your spouse, keeping yourself organized and accessible, and having compassion for your differences could make all the difference in staying with your sweetheart forever.
Take the time now and in the future to strengthen your relationship, keep your marriage healthy.