Given all the the distractions and pressures we face on a daily basis we can easily get caught up in life's endless demands and loose sight of what matters most. Whether you are happily married or are facing difficulties in your marriage, these caring gestures may be just what the Dr ordered.
1. Spend quality time together
Power off your phone, turn off the TV and spend uninterrupted time together, talking, taking a walk or sharing a cup of coffee. I know kids and commitments keep us from doing this on a regular basis but it is important! This includes sex, put it on the calendar if you have to, make time for each other.
2. Listen without interrupting
Everyone wants to be heard..Active listening is a skill most struggle with. Stop what you are doing, turn off your phone, be present and let them tell you about their thoughts or their busy and stressful day.
Don't add in your two cents or tell tham what they should do, just lend a listening ear.
3. Share what is really going on in your life
Sometimes it's hard to open up even with those that are closest to you. It is important to make a point to share what is really going on in your life, your spouse wants to know what you are thinking, your dreams, your fears and doubts. Be vulnerable in sharing your life with one another.
4. Know your partner's Love Language
This is very important. You may mow the lawn, detail the car, sweep out the garage, take out the trash and fold all the laundry but that may not impress your partner if acts of service is not their love language. They may need a hug, a kind word or you to sit with them for a few moments. Often couples have complete opposite love languages. If you don't know what theirs is, ask them. If you have never heard the term "love language" take time together to read through Gary Chapman's Five Love Languages or take the quiz.
5. Express appreciation
We all need reassurance. Nothing keeps us feeling secure in our relationships like hearing all of the ways our partner appreciates us. Frequently affirming how much you care keeps the other person feeling safe. Leave a note on her windshield. Say nice things about him and make sure he hears you. Simply say "I love you"
6. Hugs and Kisses
Not talking about a side hug, a full on hug for 20 seconds. Why 20 seconds? Because that is how long it takes for the cuddle hormone (oxytocin) to kick in which gives you the feeling everything is ok in this relationship.
When was the last time you gave your spouse more then a peck on the cheek as you were dashing out the door? Try a full 6 second kiss, the difference is? Well, you will see.
adapted from Dr Jim Walkup, LMFT