National Marriage Week is February 7th-14th this year. I love working as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist because I get to see relationships get stronger. Couple relationships can be simple and complex; immensely frustrating and incredibly rewarding.
I wish people would do better without needing coaching help from a therapist. Here are some ideas gleaned from working with hundreds of couples over the years.
You can set a date night and put the same amount of effort and creativity into it as you did during courtship. Didn’t that work for you at one time? Where was that first date?
I’m sometimes amazed when I get blank looks when I ask, “When was your last date?”
To be fair, we are busy with jobs, kids and everything else, but dating can be fun and it doesn’t have to be expensive or too time consuming.
Make time each day to talk to each other and listen intently to your partner. You do that for your friends and that is what your partner is. The happiest couples seem to take such interest in each other that it doesn’t seem like work, (even though it may be at times).
Do one random act of kindness for your partner each week. Yes, that could include laundry or lawn, watching a sporting event or even a Rom Com. Some of the funniest stories come from stepping outside our comfort zone like when a man might watch HGTV or Oprah or when a woman might go to Cabela’s or Bass Pro Shops.
I like the story of the couple who came in for counseling after 40 years of marriage. When I asked what the problem was, the wife said, “He never tells me he loves me.” I turned to the husband and he said, “I told her I loved her when we married 40 years ago and nothing’s changed. Why should I have to tell her again?” Because it helps the relationship to nurture it more than once every 40 years.
Express appreciation for your partner’s friends and family. You can find something to like about your mother-in-law. I love my mother-in-law and I know I’m not alone.
Celebrate Valentine’s week and make your partner’s birthday and your anniversary weeklong experience. This can also take some of the pressure off the day so you don’t have to dine out with everybody else on Valentine’s Day.
Make time for love as you would any important investment in your relationship. It’s time management, it’s chemistry and it’s really important to your relationship.
These ideas may seem simple and obvious and are not meant to be a complete list. But they can get you thinking about how great your relationship can be and what you can do to be a better partner.
It seems to be that your motivation to improve your relationship is the single most significant factor in making it happen. Is the payoff there?
I am honored to tell my wife a quote I picked up from a client, “I love my life with you.”