Well, this never really occurred to me. I come across plenty of articles outlining little ways to incorporate activity into our days to improve our health, or small changes to make to our diets that add up to annual weight loss. But the concept of incorporating little actions daily to boost the health of our marriages never crossed my mind. So what little things could you do everyday to build a happier marriage? (“Sleep more,” grumps my husband as he stumbles by me in the morning en route to the coffee.
Agreed. But aside from scoring extra snooze time, Dr. Bonnie Jacobson, the author of the new book Save your Marriage in Five Minutes a Day, fills us on small steps we can take to have greater happiness in our intimate relationships.
Q: What is the goal of practicing these daily acts?
A: It’s about creating the feeling of safety between yourself and the other person. Because safety is the one biggest factors that lead to a long-term relationship existing. And one way to create safety is small gestures to notice your partner, to show warmth, to show you’re listening to them and that you’re working as a team.
Q: So what would be some of your top ways to save your marriage daily?
A: First off, figuring out a way to give and receive touch. Touch is a basic need that we have at birth. Then again, some people push away from that, so if you’re with someone that has a hard time allowing you to give them a hug or kiss, it’s figuring out different strategies to slowly introduce physical warmth. I’m not talking about sex — it’s touch, which is much earlier than sex. It’s creating a predictable and consistent pattern of touch to help create that security in your relationship. Touch is addressing very early, early feelings of attachment we had as infants.
It’s also trying to force yourself, when your partner starts to speak, to stop talking. Don’t talk — let them unfold and see if you can allow them to talk and show you’re listening and correcting. Such as having the last word — if you can force yourself to not always have the last word, it can create such a feeling of relaxation in the environment to not have the last word.
Q: These strategies are designed for both partners to try together, correct?
A: Well, we can’t really change our partner. Nobody can. We can’t change our children, our partner, our siblings — we can’t change anyone. What we can do is work on ourselves and hope that as a result of our changes — making ourselves become less judgmental, more open to the other person and more receptive — that maybe over a long, long period of time we could influence the other person to become more receptive to us.
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