Tag Archives: improve your marriage

Does Your Marriage Have Areas for Improvement?

If you are hoping to improve or even maintain your relationship in 2012, it may help to know what the major sources of conflict are. What do couples fight most about, and can you assess your personal behavior in these areas to ensure you are not contributing to that conflict?

The Science of Relationships provides the Top 15 Sources of Conflict in Relationships with a brief explanation of each that I think is very helpful. It includes everything from being inconsiderate to poor grooming. First, ask yourself what the most common conflict topics are in your relationship, then check the list. Be honest about an area in which you might be able to improve. This isn’t the time to blame your partner, but rather to look a way you might take some responsibility for a bit of self-improvement. Personally, I hope to improve my daily efforts toward generosity this year.

For some additional helpful reading, The Generous Husband’s Paul Byerly has done a good job dissecting The State of Our Unions: Marriage in America 2011—research completed by the National Marriage Project. This is the research I wrote about recently in which generosity in marriage is said to be the best indicator of a very happy marriage. There’s much more to the study. Paul explains the findings on Money and Housework, which show happier husbands and wives are part of couples for which household chores are shared equally. In addition, the study showed that financial pressure and debt decrease our marital happiness. No matter what our income, increased consumer debt is a hindrance to a happy marriage, particularly for women. He also reports on the impact of family and friends in marriage, which reminds us we should be connecting with those who support our marriage, and preferably spend time with others who have strong marriages. Finally, this is an interesting bit about the importance of shared faith within a marriage. If these reports are interesting to you, check out the full study results. (See link at beginning of paragraph.)

What area of your marriage could use some tweaking—or a complete overhaul—this coming year? Perhaps how you communicate, how you manage your finances, how you share your faith, how you share housework or raise your children, how you manage your time or your home, how you show affection, your sexual satisfaction with one another, making time to spend each day with each other? The options are nearly endless, but discuss one area with your partner in which you both will make an effort to improve, will seek out tools for improvement, and will provide honest and productive feedback with each other. If you have particular topics you would like more information about, please message me or leave it in the comments and I will provide expert insights and research-based tips for you.

For all those who celebrate the Christmas holiday this coming week, I wish you all the blessings and joy of the season. I hope for you a holiday with minimal stress and abounding love. And I wish peace and joy to all of you and to your families and friends. Thank you for allowing me into your lives.

My new book, First Kiss to Lasting Bliss: Hope & Inspiration for Your Marriage is now available. Go here for links to Amazon print version or e-books for Kindle, iTunes, Nook or e-book. If you’ve already bought the book, don’t forget to email me for your 7 free marriage improvement gifts, including everything from an e-book to improve your sex-life to date night suggestions, an iPhone app with daily marriage tips, a marriage refresher workbook, a video to hone your communication skills, and tips for how to connect on a daily basis with your spouse in just 15 minutes a day.

Photo by Arvydas Kriuksta courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net.

7 Small Things You Can Do Today to Improve Your Marriage

“Keeping the Sparks Alive” Series
Due to a very hectic week, I’m reposting this from May of 2009. Have a great weekend!

Sometimes people are looking for the magic pill or the one right answer that will improve their marriage. The successful couples I have interviewed have not always followed the same path to success. Many of them have faced extreme adversity. However, most of them share some common behaviors and attitudes. There are plenty of simple things you can do—this very day, requiring very little time or effort—to improve your marriage. Here are some ideas:

  1. Perform a very small kindness for your partner. Leave a sticky note on the mirror that says I love you. Send them a quick email with appreciation for something they did. Give them a genuine compliment. Call a babysitter and book him or her for a future night out. One man I interviewed mails his wife notes from the office even when he is not traveling. He sometimes leaves a note under her pillow if he is going on a trip.
  2. Find something to laugh about together. Is there something one of your kids or pets did that was amusing? Call and tell them. Rent a funny movie, or tell him a funny story from work. Share a private joke at a party. A well-developed sense of humor can carry you through some tough times together.
  3. Spend five or 10 minutes during the day or just before bed talking/connecting—with no TV or kids nearby.
  4. Consider holding back one criticism today, especially if it really isn’t that big of a deal. If something is really bothering you, find the right time and place to have that discussion.
  5. Touch is important. Kiss him hello or goodbye (a real kiss); hug her after the dishes are done. Rub your partner’s back, or run your fingers through his hair. Hold hands while you take a walk. Sit close while you’re watching TV.
  6. Plan something fun for the future. It may be planned for 15 years when the kids are grown or next weekend, but have something you both look forward to. Make a list of places you would like to go or things you would like to do together “one day.”
  7. Be consciously grateful for the good things in your life, even when you have some very bad things happening. Talk to your partner about what you are thankful for in life in general and in your marriage and family. Many couples found this to be a conscious decision during a difficult time, that they would focus on the good in their lives.

Which one are you going to do today? Make a mental note of your spouse’s reaction and try another one tomorrow. Do you find your spouse is responsive?

Do you think too much, overanalyzing your marital issues? I think we all have a tendency to do this at times.