Relationship maintenance? Really?
Nothing valuable maintains itself. Your house. Car. Investments. All of them must be maintained well to protect their value over years.
Marriages are no different. If you want yours to “run smoothly,” you absolutely have to engage in relationship maintenance.
Otherwise, things will start to “break down.” You’ll start drifting apart. Or fighting more. Or just feeling generally less satisfied and happy.
So, what does it take to maintain a good marriage?
Key #7 in our book Rock Solid Relationship offers a thorough rundown of the various techniques you can use to keep your relationship humming along. We highly recommend reading through it (as well as the rest of the book!) to make your relationship as strong as possible.
That being said, here are a few quick tips to get you started.
What You Can Do to Engage in Relationship Maintenance
Make an Investment of (Undistracted) Time
>Maybe that means a regular date night — with no phones! Or cuddling in bed for 15 minutes before going to sleep. Or setting aside time to listen to how each others’ days went.
Whatever you find works best for both of you, the most important part is to remove distractions to the best of your abilities. That way, the time really is about the two of you and nothing else.
Show Your Partner They Are #1
Thank them. Tell them how much they mean to you. Share the big and little ways they improve your life. Compliment them.
Try to do this at least once or twice every day.
It may feel awkward, especially at first. But showing your partner how much you appreciate them really does make a difference.
All too often we tell ourselves, “They know how I feel,” and skip over these niceties. But this is a mistake. Your partner is not a mind reader. They need to hear it.
Don’t Skimp on Physical Affection
There’s a lot of power in physical touch. And it doesn’t just have to be sex either. While that’s important, other types of physical affection make a big difference, too.
Actions like hugs. Kisses. Squeezes. Caresses. Holding hands.
Even snuggling up on the couch while you watch your favorite shows can make you feel closer.
Learn How to Talk and Listen
Human beings are naturally bad listeners. And we’re not so great at communication in general.
We impatiently wait for our turn to speak. Put up our defenses the instant we feel challenged or wronged. Interrupt. Impose our own thoughts and beliefs on the person talking to us.
One important way to engage in relationship maintenance is to make your partner feel really and truly heard. The bad news is that this is a struggle for many people. The good news is that it can be learned. And the more you practice the skill, the easier it gets.
Want to learn more? Tim Higdon and Norene Gonsiewski are happy to help — just <reach out!