Posted by: Dennis Hinkamp on Mar 10, 2010
Marriage Enrichment Tips
ASK A SPECIALIST: DO YOU HAVE TIPS FOR RECONNECTING IN MARRIAGE?
Answer by: Naomi Weeks, Utah State University Extension family and consumer sciences agent with information from Doug Nielsen, psychotherapist and speaker
Our closest relationships can bring both joy and challenges. In fact, most relationships have approximately 12 things both parties disagree on at any given time. But what is more important than the struggles is what the couple does to build the relationship and reconnect. When we focus on the things that are going right in our relationships, we can more easily conquer the struggles we may face as a team. Consider these tips to reconnect and build a stronger marital relationship.
• Listen to your partner every day.Sometimes we think we are being good listeners, but in reality, we are more rejecting than receiving. Listening is often about seeking connection with someone rather than giving advice or solving problems. Even if we ask for advice, we are often just seeking to be understood and validated. So, the next time your partner is sharing his or her thoughts with you, listen carefully to what is being said, not just to the words but to what is important to him or her and why.
• Laugh with your partner. When we were kids, we laughed 200 to 300 times a day, but the average adult laughs only12 to 14 times per day. When we lose humor in our relationship, we may get too wound up and lose sight of the bigger picture. It is important to see humor in one another and in challenging moments. For good mental health, we are told to have five belly laughs a day. It’s not only good for our health, but it also strengthens relationships.
• Look at your partner. You see the ones you love almost every day but when was the last time you looked at them deep in their eyes and really connected? Look in your partner’s eyes for about 30 seconds, be in the moment and pay close attention to his or her facial expressions. Look at the person as a whole, for who they really are, and not for what frustrates or hurts you. When you really connect with someone, you feel it deep inside and it also literally stimulates the brain, not to mention it helps you feel closer.
• Touch daily.Physical touch is good for your health. Shoot for five hugs a day. Many of these will probably be from your partner, but they can also be from kids or others who are close. Touch could also be in the form of holding your partner’s hand while watching TV, giving them a kiss hello or goodbye or touching them on the shoulder or hair while walking by to acknowledge them. When we touch someone, we let them know they are important to us and it builds our relationship.
By practicing these simple tips on a daily basis, we exercise our relationship muscles so that we continue to grow together rather than letting our relationship atrophy. Reconnecting doesn’t have to take a lot of time or money, but making investments every day can make a huge difference in the marital relationship and also in general happiness and satisfaction in life.