What makes a marriage last? It can be different for every couple, but the key is often intentional gestures and habits that help you and your partner communicate and grow together every day. While marriage is an exciting adventure in the honeymoon phase, finding those moments of love can be more challenging as the stresses and responsibilities pile on.
Many couples turn to romantic activities and gestures when looking to strengthen their marriage. And who doesn’t love a fun date or a romantic getaway? But while those things are fun and can provide the spark you need to refresh your relationship, they may not help you address the longer-term struggles you are having. Even if there aren’t specific problems you’re facing, it can be helpful to create habits and routines that strengthen your relationship and allow you to work through issues when they do arise.
Check in With Each Other
So many issues come up in marriages because of miscommunications. People often come into marriages with different expectations. But without ever talking about those expectations, they may not even realize it. In addition, your relationship can sometimes fall by the wayside when you’re faced with the pressures of work or other aspects of your life.
Checking in is a great way to make sure you’re communicating effectively with the other person. Don’t be afraid to ask questions that may seem obvious, like how the other person feels about a particular activity or what makes them feel loved. Getting in the habit of checking in on the other person and your relationship is a great way to make sure you’re supporting each other and addressing any issues before they become big problems.
Share Intentional Experiences
Sometimes the spark of a relationship can get lost in the slog of day-to-day activities. Many couples stop sharing fun dates and experiences as time goes on. While it’s essential to check-in and communicate with each other, it can also be beneficial to incorporate shared experiences into your relationship. These experiences can bring you closer by giving you memories that you share.
Don’t be afraid to get creative when planning shared experiences. It can be something as simple as a date or a walk outside, but it can also be fun to get out of your comfort zone and try new things. It can also be helpful to do activities that interest each person so that you can both experience, enjoy, and bond over the other person’s favorite activities. Stay open-minded when it comes to new experiences—you never know what you’ll enjoy, and everything is more fun if you go into it with a positive mindset.
Build Routines Together
Life gets busy, and it can be hard to make sure you’re always putting intentional time and energy into your relationship. Many couples spend some time intentionally working on their relationship and getting closer, but it falls to the wayside when other stresses inevitably come up. To alleviate some of the pressure on your relationship, try building routines that you do together. Once these routines become habits, they will give you an effortless way to bond with your partner and strengthen your relationship.
To create routines, think about the everyday activities that you can share. This may be intentionally eating breakfast or dinner together every day or working out together. Sharing routines can also be great if you have periods of long-distance in your relationship. Something as simple as planning a phone call every day can go a long way towards making sure that you always communicate and share your love and care for each other.
Honor Your Independence
When you find that special someone, it can be tempting to spend every moment with them. While marriage does require you to structure your lives around each other, it’s also essential to maintain your independence. This will make sure that you’re not relying on one person for everything, and you don’t feel stuck when they’re not around or don’t have as much time and energy to focus on you.
Even when your relationship is going well, make time for your own interests and friends. Having some hobbies or activities that you do independently can help you stay confident in your ability to enjoy your own company. This helps ensure that when you do spend time with the other person, it’s out of a desire to be around them rather than just a desire to have someone around.
Learn Each Other’s Love Languages
Everyone shows and understands love in different ways. This can be a big site of miscommunication for many couples. If one person thinks they’re showing love but doesn’t see the other person appreciating it, it can cause a lot of hurt and resentment. In order to avoid situations like this, it’s essential to communicate openly about how you like to show and receive love. This will help each person understand what they can do to make the other person feel comfortable.
Take some time with your partner to read about the different types of love languages and discuss them. Talk about what makes you feel loved and how you like to show love. You can even use this opportunity to reflect on ways you’ve shown love to each other in the past, whether they’ve been effective, and how you can improve your communication in the future.
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health-related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.