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Marriage 101: 5 things to do now to get your relationship back on track

Let’s face it.

Marriage is just tough.

It’s also the best thing in the world.

It’s hard to be selfless and to care about another as much as you do yourself, though that’s really what’s required for a good relationship.

Often we see couples who love each other, but have simply run out of ideas to deal with life together – in other words, they have the will but are missing the tools to make things better.

Here are our top five hints for making things better:

  • Renew your friendship. To be successful, couples have to be friends as well as lovers, yet often the demands of daily life and the stresses of home, family and job create disconnect. Do what it takes to remember the early days of your relationship and the ways you acted like good friends. Ask questions. Study your partner. Talk about their goals, dreams, visions and hopes. Be friends again.

  • Learn how to time yourself out when you are out of control. Time outs are NOT for your partner. They are for you. If you are hungry, angry, lonely, tired, sick or stressed, you will not be reasonable. Likewise if you get “flooded” during a discussion (Marriage researcher John Gottman defines this as so overwhelmed that you cannot think or continue to be kind in a conversation), stop. Call a “time out” on yourself. Assure your spouse you love them and want to solve the issue, but you need time to calm down. Set a time to return to the discussion so there is a plan for it to get resolved. Pray for yourself, your partner and your future discussion, then pray when you come back together at the designated place and time.

  • Fight fair. Among other things (whole blog coming soon about this topic), stick to the issue at hand, not the past or other issues. Stay as calm as you can and avoid criticism and contempt, both of which end discussions. Eliminate any scary behavior and certainly any physical violence. If these occur, you need help.

  • Touch every day. Touching releases ocytocin, an important human hormone that makes you feel good. It acts as a neurotransmitter in your brain and may be involved in building trust between partners. In fact, a recent study at Carnegie Mellon University said that hugging is a major source of showing support and care about another person. It generates relaxation, and general reductions in anxiety. Touching also makes you want to touch even more, and that can lead to more touch … it’s a good cycle.

  • Find ways to be genuinely fond of your partner, and to admire them for the person they are. If you are in a cycle of anger and dissent with them, this can be hard, but working to develop these vital attitudes can pay big dividends in terms of your friendship and the health of your love relationship. Look for things to admire. Look for things that they do well. Look for ways they shine for you. Look for ways to shine for them.

Stay tuned for more in our Marriage 101 series, and, in the meantime, if you need relationship help or are struggling in many areas, we can help. We are experts in helping grieving individuals, distressed teens and couples in conflict find peace, solutions and connection.

Give us a call.

Sanctuary Christian Counseling

9974 Molly Pitcher Highway, Suite 4

Shippensburg, PA 17157


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