In today’s world relationships are challenged and often fleeting. Dave and I are always looking for ways to build a stronger marriage. To reignite our spark and remember why our relationship began.
While early on we experienced “marital bliss” we also recognized it was unrealistic to think that nothing could ever destroy our happiness together. Married life also comes with much tribulation.
To be successful and happy, challenges must be faced as a team and to be a team each person needs to feel like they’re understood. But more importantly, assurance that we’re loved even if we don’t know what to do or say.
In our 13 years of marriage, we’ve constantly focused on building the best relationship possible. It’s never easy but we’ve found a few things that have helped us to create a deeper bond.
In our first few years of marriage we worked together everyday. We saw each other each morning, ate lunch together and spent our evenings together. We were inseparable and communication seemed fairly easy. But after a career change, we’ve spent more time apart. Which meant less time talking about our day and our feelings. Today, most couples spend a considerable amount of time apart. Knowing this, it’s important to check in with each other. A few ways we engage and connect daily:
- Ask each other how the other is doing. Asking genuine questions about each other’s day may lead to deeper conversation and emotions.
- Make conversation a habit. While it may seem difficult at times, doing so tells the other that our relationship means something.
- Making an effort to engage in this type of conversation creates a place where anything can be talked about. This way, heavier and more vulnerable issues are easily talked about and managed.
.02 APPLY THE GOLDEN RULE
Acknowledge each others thoughts and take into account each others feelings. The ‘Golden Rule’ seems simple enough but in marriage, it means that we need to put into the relationship what we hope to get out of it. Accept and respect your differences and what makes you who you are. It’s only natural to have different opinions and reactions, but it’s important to not focus on our own interests but to also consider the others feelings. To strengthen our relationship we have to be sensitive to each others feelings. We have flaws and sometimes we say or do things that may hurt the other. We’re human, it happens. But to acknowledge the hurt matters.
Which brings me to the next point…
Learn from the past but don’t keep track of past mistakes. Be ready to forgive. One thing we’ve found helps is to look at old photographs from earlier in our marriage. We think about the feelings and emotions we had, the qualities that first attracted us to each other and the qualities we most admire in the other. When we reflect on the positive effects of forgiving each other it helps us put our grievances in the past.
.04 SHOW LOVE
The most important quality in a marriage is love and it’s what makes a marriage unbreakable in the face of irritating personality flaws, daunting health challenges, distressing financial crises, and challenging in-law issues. Love is what helps a marriage, not just survive, but thrive when difficulties arise.
When we regularly show genuine appreciation and gratitude it ensures neither feel taken for granted. It’s obvious that we sincerely love each other and have good intentions, however, it’s often easy to struggle to see the good and show appreciation. The negative influence of life often disrupts our ability to see the good the other is doing and this tendency leads to distance.
Part of showing love for each other is to identify this negative force and work on seeing past the influence. And to come together to defend our relationship and see each other’s true value and worth.
Let’s face it, the elements of this world are constantly throwing curve balls at marriages. But we must fight hard for each other, we must fight for our love. How are you, if married, fighting for your love and what have you found helpful in strengthening your marriage bond?
Photography by: Kaylee Sorrells Photography