Marriage Advice on How To Make Love Last

A good marriage isn’t something you find. You have to make it great, and then you have to keep making it that way. Most people stop working on their marriage right after the honeymoon is over. They get bogged down in work, kids, mortgages, and all the trials of life. If you don’t stay focused on then intimacy in marriage, you will lose it. Here are a few tips to help you keep the flame of love and happiness lit:

Show Them Respect

Every healthy relationship must include respect. Without it, you are doomed to fail. When your partner wants to speak with you, take the time to do so. Don’t mock their words or belittle them in any way. By showing your significant other that you value their thoughts, feelings, time and effort, you will let them know you respect them.

The opposite of respect is contempt or criticism. That is poison to the relationship and part of the “Four Horseman” of the final days of marriage. The other two destructive forces in marriage are stonewalling and defensiveness. These latter two “horseman” refer to emotionally shutting down and overly protecting oneself.

John Gottman, marriage researcher and author states: “Successful long-term relationships are created through small words, small gestures, and small acts.”

Give Them Priority

Your partner may not always be your number one priority, especially if you had children before you entered the relationship or have another situation that demands a lot of your time. If your partner is always last on your list, though, there will be trouble. Giving your partner at least some priority shows them that you value them.

Marriage needs balance to succeed. After work and kids are gone, couples end up with nothing. Put some time into one another, through date nights, talking after the kids go to bed, enjoying hobbies or activities together, reading, etc. What you do isn’t as important as the fact that you are doing things together.

Have Fun Together

Make time to laugh together. Plan fun activities and do new things together so that you can always remember the experience. Making memories builds bonds. This will give you and your partner good feelings when thinking about one another, because of the great times you have when you are with each other. Fun can involve the children too. Watch funny movies, tell jokes, ask about the highs and lows of the day so marriage and family intimacy deepens.

Have Fun and Show Appreciation to each other!

Learn with Them

Take a class together, or embark on learning a new hobby as a duo. When you stretch your brains in regards to the same subject, it gives you something to talk about. When a couple feels like they are challenging each other and helping each other to become their best, it brings strength to the relationship.

If you are struggling in some area of your relationship this is an excellent topic to read a book on or attend a course. There are thousands of YouTube videos and podcasts. Listen to one on the way to the store or off to visits grandparents. You might discover that one magic idea that causes your relationship to soar.

It has been said that the “capacity to learn is a gift, the ability to learn is a skill, the willingness to learn is a choice” (Brian Herbert).

Maintain Your Individuality

Although time as a unit is important, don’t do absolutely everything together. Give yourself the opportunity to grow your other friendships and hobbies. When you do this, it gives you a break so that you can appreciate each other when you are together, and it also gives you something to talk about.

Women are more likely to connect with friends than men. Developing relationship as a couple and then branching out or reaching out might be something men can work on. Getting involved in men’s groups or sports can be an excellent outlet for men as well.

Express Your Appreciation

Let your partner know that you are grateful for them and who they are. When they have made sacrifices to do something kind for you, write them a thank you card or cook them their favorite meal. Showing your thankfulness and appreciation never goes out of style. The opposite could also be true: Stop showing appreciation for others and they might stop doing the things we appreciate!

Be Creative in Showing Your Love

Say “I love you” to your partner, but don’t stop there. Get creative in the ways that you show your love. Demonstrate it by using your own personal talents through actions such as writing them a poem, making their favourite dessert or composing a song for them. Plan a relaxing vacation weekend or even a one-on-one movie night together at home. It doesn’t take a lot of money to demonstrate that you love your partner.

Gary Chapman wrote a popular book: “The 5 Love Languages”. It outlines how everyone feels most loved in unique ways. We tend to show love in the ways we like to feel loved versus loving them in their own way.

Learn each other’s love language!

The 5 Love Languages include: Words of appreciation, physical touch, gifts, acts of service, and quality time. It is possible to have more than one but learning your partners special way of feeling loved is an act of love in itself. Try taking the online quiz to learn with your spouse at https://www.5lovelanguages.com/quizzes/love-language

If you would like more help learning how to make love last, consider talking with Ron Huxley for online couples counseling today.

How to Engage Men in Emotional Dialogue

You would like your Boomer husband or boyfriend to open up more and talk about his emotions. He’s probably aware of his feelings; he just hasn’t said them out loud very often. He may be fearful about getting into this emotional dialogue arena with you because he knows you’re far more skilled. He needs to feel absolute trust with you before he attempts what he probably considers a death-defying act. Opening his heart with you may be a first for him in a relationship. His feeling safe is important. You already knew that an authentic relationship requires emotional dialogue, so your patience while he tries to speak from his heart is critical towards achieving this goal.

He’s likely going to have to overcome lifelong, negative feelings that trace back to his boyhood. His lesson was simple; acting like a man meant never showing or talking about physical or emotional pain. Need proof regarding how difficult talking about feelings is for men? Ask any ten men how they feel about something, and nine will respond by telling you what they think, instead. Getting him to engage in this conversation with you is a high bar for him to hurdle. His senses of safety and trust are tantamount for his success.

The point you want to share is that he can only get what he wants or needs from you if he knows how to ask for it, based on his feelings. If you and your partner follow these simple guidelines, you can deepen the intimacy in your relationship, and move it to the next level. While helping him in this endeavor isn’t your responsibility, your relationship will benefit exponentially, so consider helping him as an act of love instead of a thankless task.

1. Explain to your partner that you’re willing to abide by specific conditions if he’s willing to share what’s in his heart. Assure him in no uncertain terms that he won’t receive any judgment, opinions, or criticism from you when he’s finished, because you recognize that his feelings, like yours, are his absolute truth. Everything spoken from his heart is his truth, and as such, is not open for debate. Alternatively, his thoughts are simply his opinions, and are always open for debate. It may take a while before he’s able to separate the two and handle each as different entities.

2. Suggest that he take a few moments before speaking to connect with how he’s feeling, in his body. Is he anxious or nervous? Let him know that you’ll wait while those feelings dissipate before he shares, and that pausing might help him to more easily convey the appropriate emotions. It’s important that you wait until he’s completely finished sharing his feelings with you before responding. He may stumble a bit and need your patience while he tries to make his point. Feeling that he has control of his end of the emotional dialogue will afford him a sense of autonomy.

3. Remember, the point of asking him to share his feelings with you wasn’t to please you, but rather, to have him speak from his heart to you, without fear. You wanted to discover how he feels about you and your relationship, and now he’s told you. Whatever follows, he’s learned a critical relationship communication skill, and you’ve gotten a better sense of what direction your relationship is headed. That’s invaluable information towards building a better working relationship. He’s your equal partner now in an arena few men dare enter with a woman. Thanking him for what was probably a Herculean effort, will encourage additional emotional dialogue in the future. This is a win/win, by anyone’s standards.

Ron Huxley’s Reply: This isn’t the typical parenting post for the Parenting Toolbox blog but perhaps it should be…So many women complain over the lack of emotional sharing from dad. They assume this is due to “complacency” or lack of “compliance” (i.e., stubbornness). Often, the real reason is due to “competence” or lack of experience/education. It could also be due to low “capacity.” This last area is usually a result of early life trauma that many men suffer but society refuses to acknowledge.

Next time you are frustrated with your husband, try to be patient and take the time to retrain them. Nagging only backfires!