1) “A happy marriage has two people who love each other very much and are committed to bringing out the best in each other.”
Just for today, ask this, “Is what I’m about to do or say going to cause my spouse pain or pleasure?”
Each of you should then make two lists:
# One for all the things your spouse does to cause you pain.
# Another which identifies what you would like your spouse to do to give you pleasure.
Negative and painful habits include criticism, contempt, sarcasm, eye-rolling, ignoring and distancing behaviors.
Swap lists, and now you know exactly what to do and what to avoid. No more mind reading! No more guess work! No more assumptions! No more indirect communication.
2) Create Love and Friendship Rituals
Rituals are great as they bring in stability. It also helps us bridge differences and focus on the bigger picture. It helps us to forgive AND forget (what should be forgotten).
A happy marriage has a climate of positive energy, gratitude and appreciation. Love rituals help you in that.Here are some love and friendship rituals we suggest…
• Daily phone call. (especially important for husbands to do). Lets say, immediately after lunch!
* A hug, first thing in the morning.
* Another one before leaving for work.
* One, just after reaching home can be brilliant.
• Anniversaries deserve special attention. Plan to do something both of you really enjoy, rather than feeling stuck two days before your anniversary arrives and then running out to get some flowers or buy a bottle of perfume or ask sheepishly, “Is there anything that you need?”. She will say “No”. Never consider ‘not buying as there is no need’ as OK. Anniversaries deserve and demands lavish gifts. Birthdays are cool. Anniversaries should be HOT!
• Before sleeping, attempt one compliment to each other. Now, this complement cannot be a word or a sentence. it must be a paragraph. This paragraph must be a story and not just an opinion. This means coming up with something new each night! Got it?
• It is essential to have a “date night” at least once a month.
3) Use Good Communication Skills to Resolve Hot Issues
The technique that every couple must learn is called the “listener-speaker technique.” Here’s how it works: One person holds an object in their hand which symbolizes that he or she has the floor. While one person has the floor, the other person can only talk to confirm what they have understood. The speaker ALWAYS needs to have the symbolic object in their hand. The first few times is irritating or hilarious too. Soon, everyone, gets the knack. It has worked out brilliantly for ALL participants who have sincerely attempted it. When couples use this technique, it automatically ensures that each person will be able to say everything s/he needs to say without interruption, rebuttals, criticism or attack. This soothes tempers and makes the search for solutions, easy.
4) Seize the opportunity
When you pass your spouse doing some work, do you stop and rub her shoulders, give her a kiss on the cheek, and whisper something nice in her ear – or do you just walk by? Marriage research shows that happily married couples seize the opportunity whenever they get the chance. They look for ways to be physically and emotionally close to each other. Taking walks together, drinking coffee together after dinner, and listening to music together, even watching movies together are all examples of how couples seize opportunities.
5) Infuse Your Lives With Shared Meaning
I often ask singles the following question: “After you’re married, what do you plan to do for the next 50 years?”
Human beings need meaning like we need water. Happily married couples enrich their relationship by sharing meaningful experiences with each other. The ultimate in meaning is to share a common philosophy of life and life purpose.