Ways to build a stronger marriage
By Jacqueline Mahugu | April 12th 2020
Have free and open communication
You have enough time to communicate. Discuss your dreams. Tell your spouse what you have always wanted to have, what you fear most in life. You can also discuss the negative aspects of your marriage that you did not have time to discuss before. With all this time, you can now bring them up slowly, not all at once and not in a curt manner. You can build up the story and you can discuss how to fix those things.
Cultivate shared interests
When you were getting married, you had some shared interests. It might have been watching movies or reading books. Go back to the things you used to do when you were dating and recreate those moments. Talk about the issues you have had in your marriage since, and see what you would like to change if anything.
Identify and use each other’s love language
There are five love languages. These are words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time and physical touch. If your spouse’s main love language is quality time, even if you give them the most expensive gift and not give them quality time, then they will not feel loved. Ask each other, “what would you want me to do to express the way I feel for you?” That is not just for the pandemic. It will serve you for the duration of your marriage.
Do house chores together
This a show of love. When doing it together, most men feel intimidated if you are the one planning for them what to do. But if you involve them, start in the bedroom. It becomes easy. You can tell him, “Let’s move this bed to this side, let’s sort through and discard some of these papers” or anything else you can do together.
When you are done with that you can ask him to keep you company in the kitchen as you cook, ask him to chop something for you as you do something else. That way, you will slowly bring him to your side without intimidating him. It is a culture you are building now while you have time that will be sustained later. If you are a man, you are the epitome of success to your son. Whatever you do, your son is watching. If you go into the kitchen, it becomes easier for him to do the same when he gets married.
Surprise your spouse
Surprises do not have to cost you money. The smallest things, like making them breakfast in bed would be lovely. Or a candle-lit dinner in the house. You can dress up, talk about your issues and enjoy your time together. Even small gestures such as bringing your spouse mangoes when you go out because you know they love them tells them that you were thinking about them.
Recreate your happy moments
When you were dating, you had some wonderful moments. They do not have to be expensive or take a lot of time. Try and re-live them. Sit down and try to remember what the good old days were like. The laughter from those days will come back. Create that nice environment in your bedroom. You can place a mat on the floor and have a picnic the way used to. You can redo movie dates while having them – and such sweet little things. It does not necessarily have to lead to sex.
Plan for the future
There are dreams you have always had but have never really sat down to plan for. Now would be a good time to discuss and lay down concrete plans to make them a reality. You can plan for the number of children you want, the business you may want to have and such issues, thereby creating financial intimacy.
Go to bed at the same time
Most couples sleep together but do not go to bed together for various reasons. It removes a lot of doubt about each other. You will have time to talk, argue and make up. The bedroom is the most intimate part of the house. It is not only where you make love, but also where you make life. That is where you talk out your issues and have time for the two of you.
Have some ‘me time’.
Before you are part of a couple, you are an individual. Your individualism should not be swallowed up by the marriage. Introverts need to be allowed time to process what is happening inwardly. If you are always together, that could be detrimental. Find some time to be alone, doing your own thing. That will build into what happens next when you allow your spouse into your space. Once you have sorted out your own space, you can invite someone else into it. If someone is in your space all the time, you will not be able to build yourself, and if you can’t build yourself, you won’t build the relationship. Allow your partner to have that time as well, to do what they want to do.
Cultivate a spiritual balance
Have some time to have communion together at home to cultivate your spiritual selves. Read scripture, discuss it, pray together as a family.
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